“Scout’s Honor” isn’t flashy or energetic, but it is a competant and engaging look at an issue going on today – the place of homosexuals within the Boy Scouts of America.
The film chronicles the age-old institution of the Boy Scouts. The group upholds honor, justice, and treating everyone equally, but has expelled members and scout leaders based on the fact that they’re gay. Much of the film is focused around Steve Cozza, a 12 year-old on his way to Eagle Scout who has founded the organization Scouting For All, which protests the Boy Scouts expulsion of homosexuals from their ranks. There isn’t much objectivity to be found (Boy Scout representitives and scout masters refused to be interviewed for the film) which makes Tom Shepard’s film all the more empowering and the protests all the more valid. Shepard holds the ideals behind the Boy Scouts high while focusing his attention on the faults inherent behind their anti-gay stance. The most startling aspect is finding out how the organization treats those in support, as in kicking out a fifty year charter member for his involvement with Scouting for All. Someone is apparently listening, as the case for right as gone all the way to the Supreme Court, gaining both victories and defeats.
The main reason the film works so well is that Shepard and everyone interviewed sees the Boy Scouts as a valuable and important factor in a young man’s development. Their sense of outrage at upholding ideals that are contradictory to the Boy Scout oath gives the film its real power. It’s not a simple us-versus-them argument, and Shepard conducts it with a sharp eye.