University Park Father Gets Booted as Popcorn Sales Volunteer

Four years ago I wrote a column about University Park resident and single father of triplets, Jon Langbert. He’s a hard working, St. Mark’s grad, Harvard educated, super involved parent. So why is he no longer allowed to be the dad in charge of the Boy Scouts of America popcorn sales campaign for pack 70 at University Park Elementary? Because he’s gay.

Langbert said that in 2009 he took over the fundraiser and rallied troops to the tune of $13,000, a $9,000 increase from the previous year. He held training lessons for every den and even led “walk the block” sessions and did pretend, role-playing sales so the scouts could practice before hitting up neighbors.

In September he and his son were invited to recruit new scouts on KPAW, the U.P. Elementary morning televised announcements. But now he claims he’s been told that he can’t wear the uniform or act as an official volunteer. Why? Because some non-volunteer dads complained.

Langbert said, “I’ve been told to ride in the back of bus, that I’m a second class citizen. It’s a history story.” And he wonders why it’s being taught in HPISD buildings that his tax dollars support.

By Merritt Patterson Oct. 15, 2010 | 10:54 am | 94 Comments | Comments RSS
94 comments to "University Park Father Gets Booted as Popcorn Sales Volunteer"
  1. hpmom @ October 15, 2010 at 11:19 am
    I am with Jon Langbert all the way up to the idea that his dismissal is b/c of comments of non-volunteer dads at UP… Is that really right? Seems to me that the boy scouts might or might not have an issue w/ a gay volunteer (they should not in my opinion, but I seem to remember articles indicating that they do…). However, I don’t understand how the school has any right or authority to direct who can volunteer for a non-school organization.

  2. [...] Merritt Patterson of Park Cities People reports that the Boys Scouts have disallowed a University Park Elementary dad from leading their annual [...]

  3. Merritt Patterson @ October 15, 2010 at 11:32 am
    Boy Scouts of America is no stranger to the gay leader debate. And in an e-mail to the pack 70 head volunteer, Roger Derrick with BSA said, “Jon is not eligible to register with the BSA as an adult leader. Therefore he cannot represent the pack at any level or in any capapcity.” It’s not the school, it’s BSA and a few U.P. dads who decided to make it an issue.

  4. 1635 @ October 15, 2010 at 11:41 am
    Ah, the Boy Scouts of America — wanting it both ways again. They want to be a patriotic “All-American” group with packs sponsored by public schools, police departments, etc., but if someone challenges their no-gays, no-agnostics, and no-atheists policies, they defend by saying that they are a private religous organization (and so therefore have the right to exclude gays, agnostics, and atheists). OK, fine. But so let’s call this group recruiting kids and selling popcorn at our public UP Elementary what it is: a church.

  5. fake name @ October 15, 2010 at 11:52 am
    I am horrified. What a terrible way to treat a dedicated volunteer and father. The non-volunteer dads should be ashamed of themselves.

  6. Maria S @ October 15, 2010 at 12:21 pm
    Living in an age where involved fathers are scarce, I can not believe how you are being treated, you should be celebrated, and other fathers could learn A LOT from you.
    Shame on the “non-volunteering” homophobic fathers for complaining. To ask you to step down because of your personal life style, that I doesn’t affect anyone & is no one‘s business anyway, is just appalling. I will never ever buy another bucket of useless popcorn from scouts ever again, and I will encourage my friends to support this as well.
    Jon Lanbert is an amazing father. His kids are well behaved wonderful kids. As a single mom, raising two boys, I too was a scout leader & volunteer, and I did not agree with a lot of the backwards, antiquated thinking of this organization.
    I celebrate you Jon, you rock as a parent, and a lot of parents out there, including dad’s should wish they could be as awesome as you. ;=)

  7. 3boys mom @ October 15, 2010 at 12:32 pm
    I’m pretty sure the Boy Scout’s exclusion of gays is why Greenhill kicked them out of their school. I wouldn’t waste time trying to change the Boy Scout’s — I’d form a competitive group that has more to offer.

  8. Cynthia S. @ October 15, 2010 at 12:47 pm
    That is just so WRONG.

  9. Concerned Father @ October 15, 2010 at 12:55 pm
    I completely understand that that Boy Scouts have these rules in place but it just seems like those Dads could have made a choice to not exclude someone who is willing to work with them.
    I know that I will have to face the same discrimination as a gay father…I have two amazing 4 year olds and a partner of 23 years. I luckily have a supportive community & church where they look at us as any other normal family. I have to say that normal “straight” families are less normal than mine now days with divorce being such an easy out…many kids have a mommy and daddy but never see the two at the same time.

  10. record straight @ October 15, 2010 at 1:36 pm
    For clarification purposes folks…the boy scouts do not willingly/immediately exclude any youth or adult because of their gender preference. The policy is set up to provide an “out” if the sexual preference becomes an issue in that unit for those families. In other words…the boy scouts only care when the parents think its a problem. Other wise folks of all gender preferences are a welcomed part of the BSA family.

    Further, the Boy Scouts only provide the guiding light to the way a unit operates…a set of policies procedures etc…to give the volunteers an idea as to how to operate. Groups called charter partners and parent committees LITERALLY own and operate each and every unit in the global BSA family.

    I’m not saying that the BSA inst to blame…but rather…there not the only part to blame. Get your facts straight folks before you start laying blame.

  11. Aren Cambre @ October 15, 2010 at 1:45 pm
    I don’t think these comments appreciate the facets of BSA’s policy and the challenges facing the organization.

    BSA is not a religious organization. It _affiliates_ with faith organizations. See http://www.scouting.org/About/FactSheets/operating_orgs.aspx and http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Awards/ReligiousAwards.aspx.

    BSA simply has a membership standard that requires a belief in God. It does not say how one expresses or practices this belief. This is radically inclusive and is compatible with religions that don’t have an Abrahamic view of God or DIY spiritualists. It only really excludes those who have made the atheism choice. Atheists are free to set up their own ACLU Scouts movement.

    Now the homosexuality policy–look back at the chartering organizations page. Note how the faith-based chartered organizations dominate the list. Now further notice how you don’t find a denominationally neutral view of homosexuality until you’re at #8, United Church of Christ, Congregational Church (and even that one varies per congregation). That’s after you’ve passed up 91% of the faith-based chartered units, or about 2/3 of _all_ chartered units. And that’s not factoring in churches #9-#26 or non-faith chartered units that don’t have neutral views of homosexuality, including Pack 70. (It’s chartered by a community group.)

    Now do you see the immense organizational risk to BSA with a sudden change in the homosexuality policy?

    Do I like the homosexuality policy? Not really. Homosexuality looks much less the clear-cut choice society once thought it was. Also, evidence is lacking that homosexuality makes someone more likely to abuse children.

    However, I also appreciate the organizational risks. In the USA’s Scouting movement, the ultimate power rests in chartering organizations. BSA cannot survive if it angers 2/3 of its chartering organizations.

    So what’s my point? The BSA is between a rock and a hard place on the homosexuality policy. I don’t see how BSA can suddenly end this policy without drastic turmoil. And I don’t like it when I see BSA being beaten up for serving its chartering organizations, even if I don’t fully agree with the policy it must uphold.

    For clarity: I strongly support the BSA’s faith policy.

  12. 1635 @ October 15, 2010 at 2:02 pm
    @record straight: LOL!! “the boy scouts do not willingly. . . exclude any youth or adult because of their gender preference” . . . “folks of all gender preferences are a welcomed part of the BSA family” Really?? Shall we ask the folks at BSA headquarters in Irving?

  13. 1635 @ October 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm
    @Aren: “It only really excludes those who have made the atheism choice” WRONG. Mere agnostics are excluded, too. From BSALegal.org: “Scouting does not accept atheists and agnostics as members or adult volunteer leaders.”
    “BSA is not a religious organization” – According to the Boy Scouts in their official letter to the Unitarian Universalist Church (revoking BSA’s approval for the Unitarian Religious Emblem): “Boy Scouts is not a ‘secular organization’ as stated in [the UU pamphlet] ‘Religion in Life;’ Boy Scouts is an ecumenical organization which requires belief in God and acknowledgement of duty to God by its members.”

  14. René @ October 15, 2010 at 2:21 pm
    Jon Langbert is a wonderful, dedicated, hardworking dad. He is single-handedly raising three amazing children. The Boy Scouts of America is hypocritical, intolerant, and UN-AMERICAN. To see this level of intolerance in the Boy Scouts of America is appalling.

  15. mk @ October 15, 2010 at 3:04 pm
    Jon is a great dad, a good friend and is raising wonderful kids. I don’t know if he has any legal recourse here but if he does, I hope he takes this to the freaking Supreme court. He chose to raise his kids here because he thought this kind of intolerance would be less likely in a neighborhood of well-educated, involved parents. I am mortified by this incident and hope he will not just “go away quietly. Sign me Jon’s neighbor and friend, Margot Keller

  16. 1635 @ October 15, 2010 at 3:05 pm
    In many ways HPISD represents all that is good about “community” and public schools. And Mr. Jangbert isn’t some “activist” trying to “infiltrate” our community. He is a member of our community trying to participate in community activities with his kids, at a public school. BSA, for the umpteenth time in recent history, has shown its true colors, resulting in member of our community being met by bigotry and exclusion when trying to do so at one of *our* community’s public facilities. I know that churches and other organizations are allowed to have access to our HPISD facilities, and that is fine with me, but it seems that Pack 70 has much more of a “partnership” (to use the word on Pack 70′s own website) with HPISD than that. I hope our community urges HPISD to review that “partnership” in light of this development, taking into consideration all appropriate 1st Amendment concerns.

  17. Mom of Boys @ October 15, 2010 at 3:29 pm
    Shame on the dads who outed this man to the Boy Scouts for his sexual preference. The dads who did this should be outed so that our community will know who these pious hypocrites are. Shame on them. And, Mr. Langbert, I don’t know you, but just know that there are many people in this community that appreciate you and support you and your family.

  18. Liesl McQuillan @ October 15, 2010 at 3:41 pm
    This is DISGUSTING! A parent wants to be involved in kids’ lives and this is the response?? The priorities of some are so out of whack, I’d even say they don’t HAVE priorities. I am so tired of the intolerance. It’s just so illogical.

  19. zoe @ October 15, 2010 at 3:58 pm
    I’m so pleasantly surprised by how right everyone is! I was expecting homophobia but instead have read nothing but tolerant, thoughtful comments. My faith in humanity is renewed!

  20. Another mom of biys @ October 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm
    I agree with Mom of Boys! I am appalled and disgusted with BSA and those dads. And we were just discussing when we would make time for our popcorn sales this weekend…

  21. Another mom of boys @ October 15, 2010 at 4:01 pm
    Typo above. Sorry

  22. 1635 @ October 15, 2010 at 4:13 pm
    . . . and over on Frontburner folks are seeing this as an example of the *Park Cities’* intolerance. Thanks, BSA. Thanks a lot.

  23. phillip @ October 15, 2010 at 4:23 pm
    Give me a break! This man was doing great things. This group of small minded up dads need to get a grip… Just because someone is gay does not mean that they are child predators. Most of the perverts who do molest young boys are straight. People that cannot get past the whole gay issue should really look into their own insecurities. This is america and everyone is equal. OKAY!!!!!

  24. Sammy @ October 15, 2010 at 4:23 pm
    @Aren Cambre: I’m hoping that when you wrote your statement “Also, evidence is lacking that homosexuality makes someone more likely to abuse children.”, you meant to say “Evidence is NON EXISTENT”.

    Almost ALL child abuse is perpetrated by straight men. What you wrote has just been bugging me, because it seemingly out of nowhere brought up child abuse and linked it to homosexuality. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    I have to vociferously agree with zoe in how proud I am in reading many of the comments. I don’t know Mr. Langbert, but he certainly is getting glowing reviews and commendations on here.

    I find it astonishing that his sexuality has anything to do with the ability to sell popcorn. Shame on these other “dads” who have an issue with him. They should be embarrassed of themselves, and need to “man up” and apologize to Mr. Langbert face-to-face.

  25. Scooter @ October 15, 2010 at 5:12 pm
    To the insecure dad’s that did this I have but one proverb: It’s the squeaky wheel that wants to get greased!

  26. Anthelia @ October 15, 2010 at 7:42 pm
    How does the BSA deal with the fact that their American founder, Dan Beard, was gay? How about their many gay benefactors from whom they have always gladly accepted money and other gifts? Will they be returning the land near Cincinnati they were given by Edgar Friedlander a century ago to Friedlander’s family?

    Like all homophobes, the Boy Scouts are hypocrites of the first order. And because they have rolled over for the bullies who outed Mr. Langbert, they are teaching another generation of boys that bullying is acceptable and successful. Shame on them.

  27. record straight @ October 15, 2010 at 8:08 pm
    @1635: Please reread what I said. The boy scouts essentially don’t care. The policy is in place to protect those that do.

    Look at reality folks…the BSA is a volunteer organization. They (just like any other volutneer organization) would never intentionally cast aside people that are willing to volunteer and follow their guide lines in terms of how to operate the program.

    Again…not saying I agree with the policy. Just asking for a realistic perspective.

  28. Josh @ October 15, 2010 at 8:17 pm
    This is disgraceful, though regarding the BSA entirely predictable. I don’t believe that this organization deserves a role in any public school, and should instead be based in the churches.

  29. margot keller @ October 15, 2010 at 9:25 pm
    Really, the most troubling thing about this is not the BSA’s antiquated & bigoted bylaws (although those are pretty awful, too) but how with their complaints, these intolerant fathers will surely cause uncertainty, anxiety and grief to the Langbert children. I really cannot fathom how fathers from the same troop could have been so callous to Jon’s kids, who will obviously absorb the fallout from this nasty business. They adore their dad and are plenty savvy enough to figure out why he’s suddenly been dropped from the successful leadership role he’s held in the pack for over a year. I pity the children of the fathers who instigated this witch hunt.

  30. Lone Star @ October 15, 2010 at 9:46 pm
    The BSA is an organization that clearly states its mission and how it implements it. One may not agree but one cannot reasonably claim to be surprised & disappointed (let alone if one went to Harvard..)

    Beyond the moral dimension of the BSA’s policy there is a straightforward safety issue. Contrary to Sammy’s claim, a significant proportion of child abuse is committed by homosexual men. You don’t need to venture too far out of the Bubble to notice the One with Courage billboards: 1 out of 6 boys sexually abused. Who is sexually abusing boys if not homosexuals? It’s not often women — only 4% of the relevant population that enters the criminal justice system are women. Some gay organizations insist that child sexual abusers aren’t ‘homosexual’ or ‘heterosexual’ as such, but ‘ebophiles’ or something else, creating self-excluding categorizations to avoid otherwise straightforward conclusions. A favorite trick is to categorize homosexuals (MSM) that do not live a ‘gay lifestyle’ as ‘straight’, inviting a reader to equate this latter category with ‘heterosexual’. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 4% of the male population is homosexual (MSM); harder to pin down due to reporting issues (unsurprisingly) but the high bookend for abusers in the population over 13 is about 1.5%. There is some messiness in the math due to odds & ends (e.g., incidence of bisexuality, sibling abuse, etc.) but the numbers bring you to a pretty narrow range for ‘probability of child sex abuser given homosexual orientation’ of 9 to 13% or an incidence of at least 7x greater than the general population.

    Knowledge of other personal characteristics (e.g., father of three perhaps, or perhaps even being ‘out’!) would change the odds, but it’s not reasonable to expect the BSA (or any other responsible organization) to expend the energy to further qualify any one individual for work with children. Especially since ‘volunteer’ is not obviously a good thing in this context.

    For those of you who personally are acquainted with Mr. Langbert, it may be hard to accept that the BSA’s policy is sensible as such. If you’re not a math person, take a moment to google ‘boy scout leader admits’ — someone knew and liked all these men, too. This is one subject that’s too important for political correctness.

  31. 1635 @ October 15, 2010 at 10:03 pm
    @RecordStraight: OK – I re-read your posts. If your point is that a great many scouts and scout leaders are neither homophobes nor religious bigots, and therefore expulsions do not tend to happen immediately or “automatically,” I won’t disagree with you. If by saying “the policy is set up to provide an ‘out’ if the sexual preference becomes an issue in that unit for those families,” you mean that the policy allows for the expulsion of gays if some parents complain, then I guess I agree with you, and that is indeed what happened here. Though I’m at a loss to see how that is supposed to make the BSA seem less “at fault.” But regardless, BSA documents are are quite clear as to “why” the policy is set up – and it is not (contrary to as Mr. Cambre implies above) something like, “well, we aren’t against gays, but a lot of our churches are, so, gee, our hands are tied.” Instead, the BSA, starting in the early 90s, began to promulgate specific polices that stated that homosexuals, by definition, could not be “morally straight” and “clean” as required in the Scout Oath and Law. A 1991 Position Statement stated: “We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirement in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed, and that homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts.” So it didn’t have to be this way — the BSA started, within the last few decades, staking out a particular position on these issues, and in the process alienated many long time supporters (but gaining supporters in many conservative organizations).

  32. dallascowgirl @ October 15, 2010 at 11:10 pm
    Happy for the reveal of mk.

  33. zoe @ October 16, 2010 at 1:31 am
    Oh Lone Star, you make me so mad and so sad all at the same time! The conclusions you draw, the “logic” you use, the sloppy math you throw around are terrifyingly ignorant. I mean, you don’t even have enough sense to know how skewed the numbers reflecting female abusers are! Just like the number of female spouse-abusers and Munchausen by proxy cases involving mothers are severely underreported, so too are the numbers reflecting female child molesters. Even if your analysis made sense (which it SOOOO doesn’t) don’t you know that girls are molested at a higher rate than boys? So who exactly is molesting them? Gay Boy Scout Volunteers, right? When are you going to get it?! Pedophiles and child abusers come in every race, creed, color, gender and sexual orientation. Therefore, none of the above is an indicator!!!!! Just look at the person, you fool. Mr. Langbert was never a danger to children and you know it. You disgust me. There goes my faith in humanity. Thank God for everyone else on this site.

  34. bob's mom @ October 16, 2010 at 6:33 am
    I’m also pleased and surprised to see all of the supporters of Mr. Langbert. I agree that we need to get religion out of our public schools. It’s annoyingly present in HPISD.

    I’m still bristling about my kids’ elementary school giving out the email lists we were required to fill out for our official class rosters to the local upstart Christian mom prayer group. I suspect it wasn’t actually the school, but the workings of non-thinking, volunteer moms. We all received a verbose and overly assumptive invitation to join their group and pray for our new kindergardeners, in pursuit of a more “Christ-centered life.”

    I have no problem with anyone worshipping anything they want to, but please don’t use the public schools to try and spread your word, whatever it is. The BSA should be all-inclusive or simply get out of our schools. Maybe they could meet at the YMCA for organizational purposes or whatever they are currently doing in the individual campuses. It’s centrally located to all of us and everyone knows what the “C” stands for!

  35. bob's mom @ October 16, 2010 at 7:13 am
    P.S. You can easily find statistics all over the internet on who abuses children more. Some say heterosexuals, some say homosexuals. What’s more important here is that Mr. Langbert is a known individual who has proven himself to be a devoted and involved father, who has never been accused or suspected of any wrong-doing.

    Shame on the homophobic (INSECURE) dads who ratted him out!

  36. Sammy @ October 16, 2010 at 8:12 am
    This also proves that just because you are high income and educated, it doesn’t mean you can’t be stupid and mean spirited.

    My guess (my hope?) is that the kids of these spineless, ignorant dads are laughing at them, and wondering what the big deal is.

  37. whatever! @ October 16, 2010 at 8:58 am
    I killed my former employer’s 100% participation goal for its United Way drive for years because I refused to give money to a group that gave money to the Boy Scouts–specifically because of this issue. And now my son has joined the Boy Scouts and I will admit that I am a total hypocrite because I can’t say no to my child…

    To the dads who raised this issue with BSA and got Mr. Langbert relieved of his post, you should be ashamed of yourselves. What kind of example have you set for your sons? They will no doubt grow up to be narrowminded nimrods like yourselves. When they grow up, you can visit them at the used car dealerships where they work and talk about the good old days when you devastated some poor guy’s kids just to make yourselves feel macho. Thank God my son has intelligent parents and won’t turn out like you.

    I grew up in HP schools and love this school district. That being said, HPISD is incredibly wimply about standing up to the fringe evangelicals when they demand access. Area ministers roam the cafeteria at lunchtime at the middle school because the principal will not deny them admittance. Praying Parents info is on the volunteer tables on Meet the Teacher Night because the individual room moms don’t want to look radical by pulling it and the principals won’t stand up and say it’s not OK. HPISD should absolutely deny access to the BSA, but don’t hold your breath because it’s not going to happen unless Mr. Langbert sues (which I hope he does).

    Someone mentioned that other schools are laughing at us over this. That cracks me up. Yeah, I’m sure those liberal folks at Providence or Parish or Coppell or Allen are really horrified that a gay father was not allowed to be a BSA leader. It might have distracted them for a moment from their efforts to ban Harry Potter and evolution from their classrooms.

  38. Maria S @ October 16, 2010 at 11:30 am
    I wonder what type of “skeletons” these offended UP Dads have in their closets? Maybe a secret mistress, more than normal alcohol consumption, maybe likes the prescriptions a bit more than they should, maybe recreational drugs? I would bet big money on this, I guarantee you there are some secrets those dads wouldn’t want exposed. Jon never kept his personal life secret, but he certainly never flaunted it either. I would love to find out, & I would definitely have to ask their church, school, club to exclude them for their less than Christian like choices. They might rub off on me if they sit to close. ;=)
    If I find out who they are, I will find out those secrets, & share with you all! LOL

  39. Hpparent @ October 16, 2010 at 11:50 am
    This episode has a certain church we all love or don’t written all over it.

  40. James Tucker @ October 16, 2010 at 11:56 am
    1. Jon, being Harvard educated and gay, has to be aware of the BSA policy towards homosexuality and troop leadership. To suggest that this should come as a surprise or that it is the fault of some ignorant fathers is to make Jon look naive. I’m sure he is not.

    2. I am sure that Jon, being Harvard educated and gay, spent a lot of time with his decision to become a father, let alone a single father. No one can convince me that he didn’t worry about something like this happening as he was going thru that thought process. I am equally sure that his ability to make his fatherhood a reality came out of his decision that he could handle whatever might come up in regards to his homosexuality.

    3. Jon, having gone thru HS and Harvard and being out, is well aware of the societal positives and negatives on homosexuality. To suggest that he is not aware of the more conservative positions or the religious attitudes towards homosexuality is again making him naive. I am sure he is not naive. I have many patients and friends who are gay. NONE of them require a discussion on the conservative positions or the religious attitudes towards homosexuality. Most of them need to know that most evangelicals value the Jesus-based concept of “relationship” as much as they understand what the bible says about sexual immorality. I value relationship over fear.

    5. How could Jon, coming out of St. Mark’s, being Harvard educated and gay, be shocked by this incident? I’m sure he did due diligence in his decision to live in UP. Did he not understanding the mores of the slightly more conservative Park Cities area may be at conflict with his homosexuality? Did he not see that there are Churches within walking distance of every part of UP? Again, he isn’t that naive.

    6. Jon, being Harvard educated, must surely understand the civil process by which communities and schools are governed. School boards set the standards for access to school facilities. Some of these standards are set the board, some by the state and some by the feds. His particular windmill that he wishes to tilt at is set by the feds. Per HPISD school district policy:

    http://www.tasb.org/policy/pol/private/057911/pol.cfm?DisplayPage=GKD%28LEGAL%29.pdf&QueryText=BOY%20SCOUTS

    Now I love @Bob’s Mom. Everytime I read her posts I learn more about her. As she and I have jousted over the HPPC issue I made the comment that when the feds begin to define what our rights are as individuals, as communities and as a state the less ability we have to change things. Here is another example of that. It would be nice that if Jon wanted to react to his affront by getting the BSA kicked out of UP elementary that he had a local avenue to do it. Getting with the trustees, establishing a petition, getting community input etc. Maybe he would be successful, maybe not. But the local avenue doesn’t exist in this situation. Big government means intrusive government.

    6. Those people who are wringing their hands about what the effect will be on his children must be “it takes a village” people. The effect will be whatever Jon will allow it to be. He will teach his children to overlook the prejudices of others and move on (while quietly working behind the scenes in seeking justice for his cause). Or he will teach his children reverse intolerance by belittling the beliefs of others. It is up to Jon to make that decision. It is up to Jon, as the parent, to parent.

    Somebody used the phrase “man-up” to describe what the fathers who objected to Jon being in a leadership position needed to do. The fact is this is all about Jon. It’s about his decisions on who he is, what he wants for his kids and how he will go about doing that. There is a high road and there is a low road. Right now he is sharing the low road with the rest of the intolerant.

    And really Jon; whining to Merritt? Really? I can only hope that she heard this over the grapevine and you didn’t come to her with it.

  41. zoe @ October 16, 2010 at 1:37 pm
    James, what is your point? Nobody said that Jon was surprised by the incident, just that he was disappointed and upset by it. It’s not right, whether he expected it or not.

  42. Margot Keller @ October 16, 2010 at 2:06 pm
    James, with all due respect (because I always enjoy reading your posts, even if I disagree with them), the issue here is not as much how Jon “handles” it for his kids, but the awful message of exclusion it sends. Yes, I know a “private organization” can make its own rules, but does that make it right that a certain country club located at the corner of Preston & Mockingbird doesn’t allow black members, just because they’re black? Jon has put in countless volunteer hours working for this Cub Scout pack, hosted meetings at his house and increased their popcorn sales by $9000, year over year. So because a couple of good ole boy dads couldn’t handle the fact that’s he’s gay makes it OK to humiliate Jon, his kids and belittle his contributions? There is a time to right the old wrongs and that time is now, whether you and this community can handle it or not. We used to deny blacks and women the right to vote, but that had to change, because it wasn’t right. This isn’t right. And as far as the whole “it takes a village” comment, that’s exactly why many of us live in the Park Cities. I happen to like that my friends and neighbors look out for my kid. Finally, for you to accuse Jon of “whining” to Merritt is just outrageous; she is a journalist for our community and he has an important story to tell. Sorry it’s not all about unicorns and rainbows, but even here in the Bubble, things get ugly and need to be confronted publicly.

  43. whatever! @ October 16, 2010 at 2:49 pm
    Wow James! I have to give you props for writing under your own name, but I’m afraid that’s where the props end…

    So Jon should have chosen to live somewhere else so that the rest of us didn’t have to bother to learn some tolerance? So it’s all his fault because he should have known better than to think this highly educated community might have been able to just let him live his life (like the rest of us want to)? Way to blame the victim.

    I assume that if an African American student were to be taunted by her classmates because she looks different, that would have been her parents’ fault because they should have known that we don’t want “her kind” here? Surely that’s not what you’re saying?

    Maybe if we parents are a little more accepting of people like Jon (and the responses on this blog overwhelming suggest that we are more accepting than you think), our kids will be a little more tolerant and less afraid of differences than these parents apparently are.

    By the way, what’s your hang up with Harvard and St. Mark’s? You’re sounding a little Glenn Beckian with the whole “anti-elite” thing.

    Ultimately, you are correct that Jon will have to teach his kids to deal with stuff like this. They will probably be stronger people from having to learn to deal with bigotry at a young age. I just wish little kids didn’t have to learn how hateful people can be.

  44. zoe @ October 16, 2010 at 3:33 pm
    Yay Margot! I totally agree. On a side note, I can tell you from personal experience that there are forces within that certain country club you mentioned who have attempted to sponsor African American members, unfortunately to no avail. Just thought you might be comforted to know that they’re not all living like it’s 1960′s Birmingham! If only everyone else would hurry up and catch on.

  45. James Tucker @ October 16, 2010 at 3:56 pm
    Margot,

    It is about how Jon handles this. Is he going to let a few Dads “win” the day or is he going to continue to volunteer, host meetings and increase popcorn sales even more? My position has always been if someone is trying to suppress your success you push back with more of what got you there. Whining about it to Merritt (and I don’t know that he did..Merritt has a great grapevine) isn’t going to help. Suing the BSA will probably get him no where and as you can see by the reference I made to HPISD policy there isn’t anything he can do to remove the scouts from UP elementary. This is a lose-lose for everyone. Those that support him will shake their finger at the BSA and HPISD. Those that support the BSA will shake their finger at him and wag their tongues all over town. You can out the fathers that did this on this blog or in the paper, but there will be back slapping by those that agree with them that will offset what every embarrassment they might have to undergo. And of course, HPISD gets another black eye with some of the town and kudos from others. Merritt will get another bag of “I heart Merritt” mail which will be offset by the “I hate Merritt” bag. Jon will still be in his pickle.

    Jon has to be the one to decide how to handle it. He has to be the one to teach his kids to move forward without constantly looking sideways or backwards. He has to be the one to teach his children tolerance and teach them how to teach others to be tolerant. You know why? This incident is just about Cub Scouts. What happens when they get to MIDDLE SCHOOL!!!? Is he or his kids going to run to Merritt or the administration or the courts every time some lame-brained teenager makes a crack about gays? No this is part of what it is to be Jon. It is the hard job he took on when he decided to be a single father of 3 who happens to be gay. Maybe he needs to stop BEING gay and start BEING daddy. Stop defining himself by his sexuality and define it by his fatherhood. Stop letting other people define him by his sexuality and force them to look at him for his success….this is the problem in the Bubble more than anything else…we allow other people to define who we are. Even then he will still have to find the barriers in order to overcome the barriers that will ALWAYS be there as he tries to raise his kids. Those barriers are there for all of us in one form or fashion. And we try to overcome them. And we get help from our friends and neighbors (just as he is now) which makes this place great. But putting it out in public does shine the light on the kids even more. Going public is not always the best course of action. I think I am starting to tread in Miles Morrison waters. Miles?

  46. Miles Morrison @ October 16, 2010 at 4:22 pm
    I admire Jon Langbert for his stance on the bigoted and ridiculous mindset of BSA. However, my concern is how his fight will affect his three children who are the true victims of this debacle.

    By the way, I wonder if BSA masterminded the Salem witch hunts.

  47. James Tucker @ October 16, 2010 at 4:48 pm
    @whatever! I appreciate that you got my point in the last few sentences. And you need to re-read my post. Nowhere in the post do I suggest that he live somewhere else or do anything other than what he is doing now. It is that he, like the rest of us, has a certain set of liabilities that he has to deal with in this community. His liabilities are different than your or my liabilities, but we all have them. And we all have to work around them or thru them. Let us not wallow in the “victimhood” mindset that is so prevelant today.

    Thanks Miles.

  48. Miles Morrison @ October 16, 2010 at 7:10 pm
    James, I get your point and agree with you.

  49. Liesl McQuillan @ October 16, 2010 at 7:56 pm
    James: I’ve always wondered where the “victim” line is drawn by people who seem to think “victimhood” is a state of being, not something forced on people. Is a child who is molested allowed the role of victim? What about someone who is raped? Someone who is discriminated against because of their race? Who gets to be a victim in your book and who is just indulging in a pity party?

  50. Margot Keller @ October 16, 2010 at 9:15 pm
    I thought it interesting to note that the Girl Scouts of America, with over 2.5 million youth members & 900,000 adult members, do not share the same discriminatory policy as the BSA regarding homosexuality:

    Girl Scouts of the USA stated in an October 1991 letter:[49]

    As a private organization, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. respects the values and beliefs of each of its members and does not intrude into personal matters. Therefore, there are no membership policies on sexual preference. However, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. has firm standards relating to the appropriate conduct of adult volunteers and staff. The Girl Scout organization does not condone or permit sexual displays of any sort by its members during Girl Scout activities, nor does it permit the advocacy or promotion of a personal lifestyle or sexual preference. These are private matters for girls and their families to address.

  51. boysmoms @ October 16, 2010 at 10:18 pm
    Readers, Friends of Jon, please define for me “gay”. Was he in a marriage, had 3 kids, and discovered it didnt fit? Did he adopt the kids? Does he have a partner? or is he out looking for love? these things matter, just like they matter with heterosexual parents. Are we swingers, or are we home on Saturday night with our family. It’s really more of a lifestyle rather than a orientation.

  52. D @ October 16, 2010 at 11:37 pm
    I’m sorry, I missed it, was Jon Harvard educated?

    Having lived here for some time but not from here, none of this surprises me. Sadly. Just more of the same of the hypocritical moral stance of many so called “religious” people in this community.

  53. DemBones @ October 17, 2010 at 12:40 am
    According to Wikipedia, Pete Sessions is on the Circle Ten Council of BSA. Why not ask his opinion of the treatment of this volunteer in his Council? He is in a position of influence with the Scouts. He ought to answer; he wants your vote.

  54. Michael Allen @ October 17, 2010 at 7:24 am
    So the guy is able to increase fundraising by almost 250% and some guys who are too lazy to even get involved are going to complain? It’s crazy that in 2010 America is so hellbent in being so bigoted.

  55. Sammy @ October 17, 2010 at 8:03 am
    @James: I certainly understand elements of the argument you are making, but don’t you think that to say it’s 100% how Mr. Langbert decides to handle the situation (“Jon has to be the one to decide how to handle it. He has to be the one to teach his kids to move forward without constantly looking sideways or backwards. He has to be the one to teach his children tolerance and teach them how to teach others to be tolerant.”) is allowing everyone else a free pass?

    So every time a person comes up against some bigotry, or a bully, or racism, or intolerance, etc., the onus is 100% on the recipient of the action and none on the perpetrator?

    Of course Mr. Langbert will be responsible for his own actions, and how he deals with his children and their reactions, etc. But the community as a whole (and specifically the people who have a “problem” with him as a gay father) need to take some responsibility too.

    Hopefully by the time his kids GET to middle school, there won’t be any more “lame-brained teenagers” making anti-gay comments, because their parents got some sense into them and raised them right.

    And I really can’t even think of how to respond to your “Maybe he needs to stop BEING gay and start BEING daddy.” comment. I think you probably would want to just take that one back as being out of line. From all I’ve heard, he’s an excellent dad, and the gay part seems to be the big issue with other people, not him.

  56. Lone Star @ October 17, 2010 at 11:07 am
    Leisl, careful about words like “molested” and “rape”. This is the Park Cites, bad things like that can’t happen here!

    Boy Scouts: Their policies are consistent with protecting children and young adults from abuse. While abuse of girls & young women is an even larger problem as Zoe correctly points out, one otherwise winces while getting some insight into how common misconceptions are cultivated & maintained, especially the confusing of absolutes and proportions. Estimates in the social sciences are inherently fraught and there is the temptation to advocate through statistics. There is not serious question, however, that a significant proportion of boys & young men are sexually abused by adult men and that only a small proportion of adult men are non-heterosexual. Unless one is prepared to argue that heterosexual men (self-defeatingly) or women are the perps, one is backed-into the conclusion that a significant minority of non-heterosexual men are abusers and at rate much higher than the general population. No doubt there are studies ‘on the internet’ one can find to comfort any hothouse belief, but the facts speak for themselves. The BSA is under attack from a Progressive Pincer — name-callers that advocate for putting (others’) children at risk one the one hand, complemented by trial lawyers seeking to cash in on the back-end when the BSA is found to have failed to protect. The leadership has not been vigilant enough in the past and is right to be increasingly intolerant and phobic of things like this: http://topics.oregonlive.com/tag/timur%20dykes/index.html The vast majority of non-heterosexual men are NOT abusers but the vast majority of abusers ARE non-heterosexual men — both can be true at the same time. The BSA is right to put the considerations of the most vulnerable in society first let alone the need to staunch the legal, financial & reputational damage the organization is suffering.

    The Bad Dads: I am not acquainted with Mr. Langbert and can’t ‘look at the person’. Even those that can, however, need to be humble about their ability to judge hearts accurately enough when the stakes are so high. And if you would trust your own child to be with Mr. Langbert, what about other men that might be coming and going? (Barney Frank’s apparently genuine bewilderment about the gay prostitution ring being run out his home by a ‘friend’ comes to mind.) I’ll bet that most readers would encourage the Bad Dads to carry life insurance to protect their kids against a very low probability but very bad-outcome-if-happens risk; why should anyone expect bumper-sticker philosophy to cause them to suspend judgment in this context? I expect that the Dads do ‘tolerate’ but what some commentators really want them to do is to ‘accept’ irrespective of the natural parental desire to protect their children from premature exposure to ‘alternative lifestyles’ or even their safety. Dads should be able to send their sons to Cub Scouts without having to think about it. It’s commonsensical enough that I suspect that Bad Moms are behind it all.

  57. Margot Keller @ October 17, 2010 at 12:21 pm
    BoysMom, Jon has been gay & “out” about it his entire adult life. He has a partner. The triplets are his biological children, born through a surrogate. The story of his decision to become a father was featured on 20/20 about 10 years ago. Jon went to great lengths to become a dad and moved to the Park Cities for all the right reasons. When I asked him why on earth he’d spend all that money to live in such a small, essentially conservative community with zero social opportunities to network with other gay parents, this was his answer: “The people here are highly educated and usually kind. It will cause a stir when the triplets enter kindergarten because I’m the gay dad, but by the time they hit 4th grade, it will be old news and they will just be the triplets.” He made a bet of more than a million dollars of UP real estate that we would embrace his children in this community. I’m ashamed that he appears to be losing that bet.

  58. James Tucker @ October 17, 2010 at 12:52 pm
    @sammy, First I most certainly do NOT want to take back the comment “Maybe he needs to stop BEING gay and start BEING daddy”. What I will do is reiterate the WHOLE comment. Obviously you stumbled over that phrase and never got to the rest of the statement. The whole statement reads:

    “Maybe he needs to stop BEING gay and start BEING daddy. Stop defining himself by his sexuality and define it by his fatherhood. Stop letting other people define him by his sexuality and force them to look at him for his success….this is the problem in the Bubble more than anything else…we allow other people to define who we are.”

    Only captioning the first sentence takes the entire idea out of context. Can you really argue with that idea?

    If you, Margot and Jon are going to sit around waiting for your pound of flesh you might be waiting a long time. I love how Margot put it “There is a time to right the old wrongs and that time is now, whether you and this community can handle it or not.”. It has that “I’m going to get you and your little dog too.” quality to it. You can’t put your life on hold waiting for someone’s comeuppance. You can’t wait for an apology from someone that hurt you. A good friend of mine once told me that when faced with circumstances that have hurt you you can poll 100 of the people you are acquainted with. 90 of them won’t care, 5 will feel sorry for you and one or two might even find a way to help you. But the other 5 will secretly be glad it’s happening to you. My friend grew up in the Bronx and is hyper-cynical but you get the drift. Most people that have hurt you don’t even realize they did. A fair percentage of people that realize they hurt wouldn’t care. Jon needs to act now and take a higher road than other people around. Does that preclude him from acting behind the scenes to amend a policy he feels is discriminatory? Of course not. By all means start with Pete Sessions. Sounds like a better plan than what I have heard so far.

  59. 1635 @ October 17, 2010 at 2:44 pm
    @ Lone Star: No doubt the BSA, like many groups, has had its problems with pedophiles, and I agree that it is a serious problem that demands a serious response. But when the BSA itself has defended its anti-gay policies (in court and elsewhere), it does not usually refer to the issue of pedophilia. Instead, it states clearly that its policy is that homosexuals, by definition, are not “morally straight” and are not “clean.” Likewise, atheists and agnostic cannot be members because the BSA believes that (again by definition) they cannot be “the best kind of citizens.” So,again, according to the BSA itself, the BSA does not have these policies out of mere deference to the sensitivities of some of its families or church supporters, or as a way of addressing the problem of pedophilia. Instead, the BSA (at least at the institutional level) teaches very specific and explicit moral and religious judgements of gays, atheists, and agnostics. Which is fine, of course, for a private religious organization. But this private religious organization has a very powerful political lobby, and now even has its own special little federal law (the “Boy Scouts Equal Access Act”) that likely means that HPISD won’t be able to do much to address Mr. Langbert’s concerns (even if it were so inclined). I nevertheless still call on HPISD to review the matter, consistent with applicable 1st amendment concerns.

  60. Margot Keller @ October 17, 2010 at 3:39 pm
    James, the comment of mine you quoted in your post above is not some sort of veiled threat, as you seem to believe with your mention of “I’ll get you, and your little dog, too.” I don’t know how much more clearly I can state it, but here goes: sometimes practices/notions that we used to uphold need to change because they’re unfair or discriminatory to other people. In the fullness of time, we typically see that and correct it. Notable examples would include civil rights for women & persons of color. I think the BSA needs to recognize that their policy against gay leaders is antiquated (especially in light of the fact that the GSA removed the same clause from their charter in 1991) and change it. I’m not waiting on (or wanting) anyone’s comeuppance and I love little dogs, lol. The reason I’ve posted on here repeatedly using my real name is because I think it’s important enough to risk getting flack about it, something I’m sure Merritt also had to think about before posting this story. It’s about integrity and doing the right thing. If I was interested in anyone’s comeuppance, I’d be “outing” the fathers who allegedly are responsible for this. But I’ve got a child following this blog and the lesson I want her to get is that when she sees an injustice taking place, it is her duty as both a Christian and a citizen to lend a hand and a voice for change.

  61. boysmoms @ October 17, 2010 at 4:11 pm
    Thanks MK. I must say there are some REALLY smart people blogging here: I”ve had to dig out my dictonary a few times to follow the dialogue.

  62. Sammy @ October 17, 2010 at 6:40 pm
    @ James: I read and believe that I clearly understood your entire paragraph. I just used the first sentence instead of copying/pasting the entire piece.

    I don’t think that Mr. Langbert IS defining himself by his sexuality – just as I’m sure you don’t define yourself by your sexuality. My guess is that it’s really no big deal to him, and he has quite obviously done a LOT of things that should cause others to ‘force them to look at him for his success’.

    To me, the problem is that no matter WHAT Mr. Langbert does in his life: whether it’s winning “Father of the Year”, becoming a championship golfer, or being elected Senator from Texas (hopefully replacing Cornyn!), to many small-minded people, he will be “that gay”. I don’t think it’s his job or mission to show up these people, or constantly have to prove himself to them. And my guess is that his self-esteem or identity isn’t defined by them anyways.

    It’s up to the people who are defining him that way to open their eyes and their hearts, and realize that it’s their problem, not his.

  63. Sharpay @ October 17, 2010 at 6:54 pm
    I’m late to this posting – but if I get this right, in 2010 there are people worried about how a St Marks, Harvard and UT grad with a proven year-on-year result may impact character and leadership in popcorn sales? Who’s raising this issue, the Oklahoma grads? (I only picked on them because I went to a rival state school and, as a native Texan, it’s only right to be suspicious of the intentions of our northern neighbors. If we turn our backs even for a second, they will invade.)

  64. SERIOUSLY? @ October 17, 2010 at 8:05 pm
    Run the registered sex offenders in 75225 – one in UP involved female, age 14 (the other is in Preston Hollow – involved a male, age 18)

    Sex offenders in 75205 – total of 8. 6 involved females, ages 12, 15, 16, 11, 12 and unknown); 1 involved male, age 12, 1 offense unknown. The two that technically live in our school district assaulted underage girls.

    LONE STAR – please share – what are the statistics for sexually abused girls? Are they abused by MEN???? Who should we REALLY be afraid of?

    Using Lone Star logic, we should not have male coaches, teachers AND NEIGHBORS because aren’t they most likely to offend the FEMALE children in OUR neighborhood???

    Oh yeah – per Lone Star’s stats, we need to get an all female priesthood for the local catholic churches NOW because we KNOW that all male Catholic priests are pedophiles, just like all the other homosexuals???? Cause aren’t all Catholic priests homosexuals??

    Message from JT: If you are not a WASP (evangelical preferred!!) and you move to the PC with a “liability,” whatever treatment you get you deserve (especially if you are Harvard educated.) Obviously proud of this intolerant neighborhood, under JT logic, if you move here and we don’t accept you and your kind of “liability,” it was your own naive fault for moving here in the first place. You knew what you were getting into, so tough noogies. Take the high road and move NOW, before we force you and your “liability” out. Oh yeah, and sorry if our kids (who we are so carefully teaching to be intolerant by our behavior) mistreat yours (after all YOU were the one who decided to have these kids with “liabilitites” in the first place.) Told ya to take the high road and get out – FAST.

    OOPS – almost forgot – whiles we are generalizing and classifying, we all remember about the underage female who was manipulated/molested by her pediatrician. Turns out she wasn’t the only one – when they can to arrest him for sexual assault of a minor (he mid 30′s, she 16), he took the easy way out and committed suicide. Never did find out how many others there were. Message: Find a female pediatrician for your daughters cause we all know that male pediatricians are child molesters….

    LONG LIVE LIABILITIES!! (Mine, not yours, of course!!) MAY THE BUBBLE NEVER BURST!!!

    IJS…

  65. zoe @ October 17, 2010 at 11:21 pm
    James and Lone Star: If you can’t see the value in discussing issues like this then why do you continue to participate? You can’t seem to grasp any of the reasons why this story is important no matter how many people try to explain it to you. Still, I’m going to throw out one last reason why I’m glad this story was covered that I think you might be able to wrap your head around: After reading this story, I’ve learned that the BSA is an organization that I will not support in any way. Is that legitimate enough for you?

  66. x @ October 18, 2010 at 8:35 am
    James – a lot of us don’t have the courage to put our comments and name out there like you do, but know that many of the readers of this blog very much agree with, and appreciate, your perspective. Thanks!!!

  67. James Tucker @ October 18, 2010 at 8:48 am
    @Seriously, If you are going to post on this blog you need to keep up. Read the posts in their entirety rather than just grabbing bits and pieces (or in your case just one word.). Also when you read a post it is important to grasp the context of the post rather then your gut reaction to a single word. Also when you quote someone else’s post you might want to include entire sentences instead of fixating on one word and then making up your own story. IJS….

    PS. YOUR intolerance is showing.

  68. Jan @ October 18, 2010 at 8:54 am
    We can (mostly) all agree that Jon is a fine father and a great volunteer. Most are outraged he is not allowed to be a BSA member. Would you feel the same way if you met Jon coming out of the woods at Norbuck Park zipping up his pants while you had the HP cross country team out for a practice run? Judging the individual and judging the orientation are different. But paramount above all is the BSA’s right to determine membership eligibility. Did not this man read what he was signing?

  69. James Tucker @ October 18, 2010 at 8:59 am
    @Sammie, We are what we are. Nothing I can say or do will make you like me, like what I do or any other aspect of my life. You and I and Jon are all in this same boat. You cannot force someone to agree with every aspect of your life or your opinions. There are people out there with definte opinions about Jon’s homosexuality that are never going to change their opinion. There are people out there who don’t care. Their are people out their that care deeply. Because of this fact the only thing left is to overcome as best as possible. If Jon thinks the way to overcome is to cast aspersions on everyone who disagree’s with his homosexuality then so be it. I think it is to the benefit of his kids to focus on the kids and what is best for them rather then what is best for Jon. No one has convinced me that what is best for them is for Jon to become an in-your-face activist against the BSA and HPISD.

  70. James Tucker @ October 18, 2010 at 9:04 am
    @Zoe, Please read my comment to @Seriously. It pertains to you. If you haven’t noticed I’ve been blogging the heck out of this topic. The fact is that you don’t like my opinion and so you think I am somehow trying to minimize this story. I don’t think this is a BSA story or a HPISD story. It is about how is Jon going to handle this situation story. I have an opinion about how he should handle it which you don’t like. Again I refer you to @Seriously because your intolerance is showing.

  71. Margot Keller @ October 18, 2010 at 10:20 am
    @Jan,
    Jon actually contacted whoever was the pack leader before he had his son join several years ago, to ensure that the leader knew that Jon was gay and to ask if the pack leader thought there were any problems with that. He was assured that it wasn’t an issue and so he joined. I’m not sure if you intended to sound offensive with the reference to “Jon coming out of the woods at Norbuck Park zipping up his pants”, but it came across that way. It’s okay for people to disagree on this blog, but a certain civility should prevail. I can assure you that as a single parent of 3rd grade triplets who owns/runs his own business and is involved in a committed relationship, Jon is not the kind of man who would do that. I’m also confused why you would equate his homsexuality with some sort of sexual encounter in the woods. Most people I know, gay or straight, use a bed for that stuff. IJS.

  72. D @ October 18, 2010 at 10:55 am
    @James Tucker,

    Whatever your opinion on what is right or wrong, you can’t seriously think that this is not a BSA or HPISD story. It can also be a story about how Jon handles it, but it most certainly involves the other two groups. That is really not a matter of opinion, but fact.

  73. James Tucker @ October 18, 2010 at 12:42 pm
    D, it isn’t a BSA story or HPISD story. The rules that these organizations abide by are well known. If you want to find an org to blame you can put Troop 70 as a separate entity. But all you can say about them is that they didn’t follow well published rules and they handled the situation clumsily. Still all about how Jon is going to handle it as I have repeatedly pointed out in my posts.

  74. D @ October 18, 2010 at 1:07 pm
    It isn’t? So, if the rules are well known (the BSA rules are), it is still a story when situations run up against those rules, whether you agree or not. As to HPISD, I get concerned when they allow organizations with some of the views of BSA to be affiliated with the school. I am a practicing Christian, but I also believe in the separation of church and state, and am also concerned with how HPISD let’s these connections continue. So to me, and obviously many others, this is part of the story.

    So it is YOUR view that this is all about how Jon handles this. Fair enough, I respect that you have the right to your opinion. And for the record, I can see both sides of this issue, the BSA clearly have a policy of not allowing gays to participate in BSA leadership. I don’t agree, but then again, I don’t have to. But then, they also shouldn’t be able be involved in public schools with this discriminatory position. And since it seems that he has not hid his homosexuality from anyone, they shouldn’t have let him volunteer in the first place. But they did, so THAT is also part of the story.

  75. Mom of Boys @ October 18, 2010 at 2:07 pm
    OMG! This is ONLY about the fact that Jon is gay. How ridiculous! That is the reason the non-volunteer dads reported him and had him removed. Not because of the job he did. Not because of the kind of neighbor he is. Not because of the kind of parent he is. They had him removed because he is gay and that made them uncomfortable. It’s wrong of the people who had him removed, including the BSA. I think we need to focus more on the bigotry and less on Jon. He’s gay. So what?

  76. Maggie @ October 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm
    @James. Thanks for standing strong amidst all the criticism. The BSA is an excellent organization. Both my boys were Eagles.

  77. James Tucker @ October 18, 2010 at 2:26 pm
  78. Dad of Boys @ October 18, 2010 at 3:21 pm
    @Mom of Boys… You are correct. The root of the situation is the bigotry that runs through our community. Whether we’re talking about this situation with the BSA or any other, the problem lies within the unfortunately closed-mindedness of many of our neighbors. While I am impressed (and honestly shocked) by the outpouring of support on this blog, this isn’t how the majority of the Park Cities community feels. I first felt it when I waited in line for two hours back in 2005 to vote on Prop 2. In my life, I have never been surrounded by so much hatred and bigotry (made worse by the fact that most of the folks saw nothing wrong with what they were saying). And now, five years later, it continues… and sadly, in five more years I’m afraid we’ll still be in the same place. I truly applaud Jon for being such a fine member of our community and having the courage to stand up for what is right.

    As far as the BSA and their position, as many of you have said… the policies aren’t going to change nor do they have to. The only thing we can hope for is that the Scouts of today take what is good about the group (and there are a lot of good aspects) and leave behind what is wrong with it as they mature into the young men that will be the future leaders of the organization. I, for one, am an Eagle Scout and I look back on my days in Scouting positively… I also know that the intolerance they exhibit is not something that I want to be a part of today.

  79. SERIOUSLY? @ October 18, 2010 at 3:24 pm
    Me thinks JT’s intolerance for others opinions prohibits others from being even remotely correct. HE has decided that this is all about Jon and the rest of us should quit blogging about the dads that ratted him out, the BSA, HPISD, discrimination, intolerance, etc., etc., etc.

    Here is the way out:

    Nothing in this policy shall be construed to require the District to sponsor any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of Ameri- ca, or any youth group listed as a patriotic society.
    Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. 7905

    HPISD: Do the right thing and disassociate Troop 70 from UP Elem School.

  80. D @ October 18, 2010 at 3:56 pm
    @ James,

    Oh, I know the policy.

    As to the BSA, I think it is a wonderful organization filled with great people. My son is a Cub Scout, and the people involved are fantastic. Doesn’t mean that I agree with the BSA’s stance on all things, however, just as I don’t agree with my Church’s stance on some things, but I’ve come to terms with them.

  81. James Tucker @ October 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm
    @Seriously, as I have said your intolerance for my opinion is self evident in your previous posts. I have never belittled anyone else’s OPINION rather I tried to further mine. Your inane posts can’t really count as an opinion as it is more about attack.

    Your way out is no way out because Troop 70 is not sponsored by the school district but rather is sponsored by “concerned citizens of University Park” as detailed by their website. As such the school district is statutorily required to make its facilities available to them.

    It continues to be my opinion that this is about how Jon is going to handle this and not about the BSA or about HPISD. As I have previously stated the Troop itself may have some ‘splaining to do to the community because of the clumsy way that this appears to have been handled, but Jon is both the lynch pin and the key to how this will play out.

  82. Jim Rain @ October 18, 2010 at 5:55 pm
    @James Tucker – You and others have poured out a lot of words here, and I apologize if I’m missing some of your points. I certainly agree that each of us must take responsibility for how we respond to the pain and injustice that’s part of every life. But why is teaching children to “to overlook the prejudices of others and move on” necessarily the best response? Isn’t decrying injustice and shining a light on it a brave and honorable act? Why is “quietly working behind the scenes in seeking justice” necessarily the best response? Sometimes it’s best to say — clearly, loudly, and publicly — “This is wrong, and it must change!”

  83. Anna Procaccini @ October 18, 2010 at 8:00 pm
    Let me get really personal here…let’s go back to that time, when a very young man was approached, in a vulgar way, by an older man. Gives you the creeps to remember it, right? Now let me set the record very straight (no pun intended); the man that groped you was a PEDOPHILE.
    A pedophile is an adult that is sexually attracted to children…has absolutely nothing to do with being straight or gay. I have volunteered for the Dallas ISD for more than 20 years, soliciting my gay and straight friends to serve in many capacities. It is a terrible waste of a vast resource, when gays are prevented from serving. Ignorance is not bliss.

  84. James Tucker @ October 18, 2010 at 9:09 pm
    @Jim Rains, since your post was addressed to me I want to make sure that everyone understands that your quote “to overlook the prejudices of others and move on” is not something that I have said. “quietly working behind the scenes in seeking justice” is something I have said and I have said it in relation to his kids. His kids should be the focus of his time and energy. Teaching tolerance and using this as a teachable moment for my kids is what I would be doing not getting on every TV and radio program I can to “clearly, loudly, and publicly — “This is wrong, and it must change!”

    At the end of this day I have my answer. This is about Jon, it is about his ego and it is about his feelings. This is not about his kids. To bad.

  85. James Tucker @ October 18, 2010 at 9:15 pm
    This is my last post on this subject. I have learned some things this evening that make me believe that this is entirely a setup whose outcome was predetermined. A celebration is taking place on Facebook for all the face time Jon is getting. I’m disgusted by the use of children for these political points.

  86. Jim Rain @ October 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm
    James – The phrase, “to overlook the prejudices of others and move on” is taken verbatim from your first post, paragraph 6. There’s no indication that you were quoting someone else, so I have to conclude that they are, in fact, your words.

    I don’t know JonLangbert from Adam, haven’t seen him on TV, and don’t know what kind of father he is, so I can’t comment on his parenting. He sounds like an involved dad, but maybe he is publicity seeking. That doesn’t mean that the other commenters are wrong to criticize the BSA’s policy. I’m the father of an Eagle Scout, and I think the Boy Scouts are a tremendous asset to our community and our country, but this policy is a bad one.

  87. Mark @ October 18, 2010 at 11:49 pm
    @ James,

    How exactly was this entirely a setup? For the last couple years, Jon Langbert was a volunteer for the Cub Scouts. He didn’t join to make a political statement — he joined because of his son. Jon didn’t openly proclaim his sexual orientation to other people in that organization — it wasn’t like he stood in front of the cub scouts & their parents and said, “Hey everyone, I’m gay…..Now what are you going to do about it?”

    No. Jon was “outed” by an another adult in the Cub Scout pack who knew that Jon Langbert was gay, and therefore didn’t want him in the organization anymore.

    As you mentioned, I’m pretty sure that Jon knew about the Boy Scouts’ policy of discrimination & exclusion towards gay men (and gay boys, for that matter). But Jon decided to have his son to take part of the Cub Scouts anyway, because HE WAS THINKING ABOUT HIS SON’S INTERESTS (the thing you accuse him of not doing).

    I don’t see anything wrong with Jon Langbert getting any “face time” out of this……From what I can tell, he is an upstanding member of the community who is just another victim to BSA’s policy of discrimination. Will Jon Langbert change the Boy Scouts’ policy towards gays? Probably not. But it does shed light on discrimination within the Boy Scouts of America, within our local community.

    As a side note, the Boy Scouts’ exclusion of gays is increasingly becoming out-of-touch with the times. Excluding gays from the Boy Scouts or even refusing to acknowledge that, yes, some people are gay or lesbian, is a disservice to today’s youth. It sends a message that people who are “different” — as in gay — are either to be made invisible, avoided, or even confronted & harrassed.

    What is a Boy Scout supposed to do when he finds out that the man who lives next door, is openly gay? Should he run away in fear? Or recite Bible verses and tell the man he is not “morally straight”?

    What is a Boy Scout supposed to do when he sees a gay, or slightly effeminate, classmate being harassed or tormented? Should he join in, and call him a “f****t” too, because that’s what all the other popular boys are doing? Wait, that wasn’t covered in the Boy Scout Handbook……

    In our society, people who are gay or lesbian, are gradually becoming more open about who they are. Providing an illusion to boys that these people don’t exist, or that they are to be looked down upon, or even despised or hated, is a disservice to our youth.

  88. GMOM @ October 19, 2010 at 3:08 pm
    Blah, Blah, Blah…. Bottom line, does anyone see the similarity between the Catholic Church (Priests) and the BSA? Both all men groups, both homo/abusive/swept under the carpet scandals. What’s the matter with dumping the GSA and the BSA and keep going with the Indian Princess, Indian Guide programs. At least they are YMCA and probably not so homophobic. Merritt, why hasn’t the detective in you “outed” these disgusting fathers. You know the kids now-a-days really don’t care what color you are or what your sexuality is until the parents who are anti black and anti gay etc toss out their opinion, right. They just love their friends!! Kids Rock!!

  89. Village Idiot @ October 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm
    Great energy on this topic. Can’t wait for the abortion thread.

  90. [...] in charge of the popcorn sales fundraiser for Pack 70 at University Park Elementary, according to Park Cities People. In 2009, Langbert helped the troop raise $13,000, up from $4,000 the previous year. And in [...]

  91. SMc @ October 22, 2010 at 12:34 am
    What a shame! Supposedly educated people who are so ignorant!

  92. kmom @ October 22, 2010 at 10:36 am
    Lord, now @James Tucker has become a conspiracy theorist. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there!!!!!!!

    @Jim Rain said what I believe the majority of people that have come to this site to comment are trying to say, “Sometimes it’s best to say — clearly, loudly, and publicly — “This is wrong, and it must change!” Bravo and Hallelujah!

    I’m glad to know @Margot Keller, what an amazing mom, friend and neighbor you are!

  93. bob's mom @ October 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm
    When I was in high school a social studies teacher pointed out to my class that social change does not occur unless individuals are willing to stand up and be heard. That may mean doing things that some or most of us find loud, distasteful, annoying or shocking. But without their protests, strikes, displays, civil disobedience, or involvement with the media, NOTHING CHANGES.

    I am thankful for individuals who are willing to put themselves out there, when the rest of us would rather be “quietly working behind the scenes.” These people have real courage and can more speedily and efficiently affect real change that makes life better for all of us.

  94. John Tiller @ March 2, 2011 at 9:27 pm
    Can we please have the names of the complaining fathers from UP? I bet that close scrutiny of their personal lives will reveal something that we could find fault with. Why is it the non-doers, the “Non-Volunteers”, always have something bad to say about the ones that make a difference? These UP “non-doer” Dad’s must be part of the Small Hands, Small Feet club!

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