Alex Blaze

Tony Dungy nominated by Obama to advisory position

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 06, 2009 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, child care, indiana, Indianapolis Colts, LGBT families, office of faith-based initiatives, sarah posner, tony dungy, women

Update: Thanks to Kim in the comments. The Huffington Post reported 2 hours ago that Tony Dungy has declined the position because of time commitments. This is what I get for putting off a blog post!

The rest of the post is below, since Obama still nominated the guy and that says something.

Original post: We posted quite a few times over two years ago on Bilerico (back when this site was only about Indiana) about how Colts coach Tony Dungy was a reactionary homophobe who was using the Colts name and imagery to raise money for local Focus on the Family affiliate Indiana Family Institute right when LGBT folks were fighting a possible marriage amendment in the legislature.

Well, anyway, he's apparently been nominated by Barack Obama to the advisory board of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. The council is a hot-bed for evangelical conservatives, and I was hoping for it to have more religious diversity on board.

While one could question his qualifications to help run federal agencies, he is a star, and that's, like, more important than knowing anything. Also, he's way popular in Indiana, so I'm guessing Barack wants to pull the Hoosier State again in 2012.

Either way, Dungy shouldn't be determining who gets money for various projects. He obviously doesn't believe much in even minimal safeguards in protecting freedom of religion or the separation of church and state:

"IFI is saying what the Lord says," Dungy said. "You can take that and make your decision on which way you want to be. I'm on the Lord's side."

The coach said his comments shouldn't be taken as gay bashing, but rather his views on the matter as he sees them from a perspective of faith.

"We're not anti- anything else. We're not trying to downgrade anyone else. But we're trying to promote the family -- family values the Lord's way," Dungy said.

And he'll be able to promote "the Lord's way" in a number of functions on the council:

  • The Office's top priority will be making community groups an integral part of our economic recovery and poverty a burden fewer have to bear when recovery is complete.
  • It will be one voice among several in the administration that will look at how we support women and children, address teenage pregnancy, and reduce the need for abortion.
  • The Office will strive to support fathers who stand by their families, which involves working to get young men off the streets and into well-paying jobs, and encouraging responsible fatherhood.
  • Finally, beyond American shores this Office will work with the National Security Council to foster interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world.

How his fave lobbyist organization views women, pregnancy, and childhood issues is below. If he agrees with even half of the items on that list, it's hard to imagine how he would make life better for others.

At least Tony can regale the other board members with football war stories. I have a hard time seeing any other qualifications he might have.

IFI's statement on the importance of marriage (there are no citations or proof of anything here, of course):

Why Is Marriage So Important?


1. Marriage increases the likelihood that fathers and mothers have good relationships with their children.

2. Cohabitation is not the functional equivalent of marriage.

a. Couples who live together, on average, report relationships of lower quality than do married couples - with cohabitors reporting more conflict, more violence, and lower levels of satisfaction and commitment.

3. Growing up outside an intact marriage increases the likelihood that children will themselves divorce or become unwed parents.

4. Marriage is a virtually universal human institution.

5. Marriage, and a normative commitment to marriage, foster high-quality relationships between adults, as well as between parents and children.

a. By offering legal and normative support and direction to a relationship, by providing an expectation of sexual fidelity and lifelong commitment, and by furnishing adults a unique social status as spouses, marriage typically fosters better romantic and parental relationships than do alternatives to marriage.

6. Marriage has important biosocial consequences for adults and children.

a. Research strongly suggests that an intact, married household protects girls from premature sexual development and, consequently, teen pregnancy.


7. Divorce and unmarried childbearing increase poverty for both children and mothers.

8. Married couples seem to build more wealth on average than singles or cohabiting couples.

9. Marriage reduces poverty and material hardship for disadvantaged women and their children.

10. Minorities benefit economically from marriage.

a. Research suggests that black child poverty rates would be almost 20 percent lower than they currently are had the proportion of black children living in married families not fallen below 1970 levels.

11. Married men earn more money than do single men with similar education and job histories.

12. Parental divorce (or failure to marry) appears to increase children's risk of school failure.

13. Parental divorce reduces the likelihood that children will graduate from college and achieve high-status jobs.

Physical Health and Longevity

14. Children who live with their own two married parents enjoy better physical health, on average, than do children in other family forms.

15. Parental marriage is associated with a sharply lower risk of infant mortality.

16. Marriage is associated with reduced rates of alcohol and substance abuse for both adults and teens.

17. Married people, especially married men, have longer life expectancies than do otherwise similar singles.

18. Marriage is associated with better health and lower rates of injury, illness, and disability for both men and women.

19. Marriage seems to be associated with better health among minorities and the poor.

Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being

20. Children whose parents divorce have higher rates of psychological distress and mental illness.

a. When marital conflict is low, children suffer psychologically from divorce.

b. Currently, about two-thirds of U.S. divorces appear to be taking place among low-conflict spouses.

21. Divorce appears to increase significantly the risk of suicide.

a. Divorced men and women are more than twice as likely as their married counterparts to attempt suicide.

22. Married mothers have lower rates of depression than do single or cohabiting mothers.

Crime and Domestic Violence

23. Boys raised in single-parent families are more likely to engage in delinquent and criminal behavior.

24. Marriage appears to reduce the risk that adults will be either perpetrators or victims of crime.

a. Single and divorced women are almost ten times more likely than are wives to be raped, and about three times more likely to be victims of aggravated assault.

25. Married women appear to have a lower risk of experiencing domestic violence than do cohabiting or dating women.

a. One analysis of the National Survey of Families and Households found that cohabitors were over three times more likely than spouses to say that arguments became physical over the last year.

26. A child who is not living with his or her own two married parents is at greater risk for child abuse.

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Drat! I really like TOny Dungy, being the die-hard Colts fan that I am. THe guy's stand-up and did a lot for the franchise. Now I'm really torn. :(

Here's some good news. The Huffington Report says Obama won't serve. I think that's great. Why do we have a faith based council any way?

Get Breaking News Alerts

Former NFL coach Tony Dungy has fumbled his invitation to serve on President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, according to CBN's David Brody. A White House source tells Brody that Dungy couldn't make two of the four faith council meetings.

"Because of the time commitment needed I have respectfully declined," Dungy said in a statement to Brody.

The news should cheer the folks over at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who tsked-tsked the president for the appointment in a March 31 statement:

"Dungy, former coach of the Indianapolis Colts football team, has well-known ties with intolerant Religious Right groups. In 2007, for example, he spoke at a fund-raising dinner for the Indiana Family Institute, a James Dobson-affiliated group that opposes gay rights, reproductive rights and separation of church and state."

Dungy will work with the president instead on responsible fatherhood initiatives.

Dungy: The Father of the Year -- probably not 2005, but maybe some year. Google "Dungy Suicide"

It is getting pretty hard to justify being a gay Democrat lately.

Will the President be appointing David Duke and the leader of the White Aryan Resistance to provide balance on racial viewpoints?
They are both religious men

How about Cardinal Bernard Law?

Brad Bailey | April 7, 2009 12:11 AM

"Family values the Lord's way" is a euphemism for heterosexism.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | April 7, 2009 2:13 AM

This is the latest episode in one of the oldest political scandals of this century. It revolves around an idea from Hillary Clinton’s days as an activist in the secretive ultraright senatorial group, The Fellowship, a protestant version of Opus Dei.’ Faith based’ charities are the sick love child of the gawdlubbin collaboration of Hillary Clinton and Rick Santorum. They gave birth to the corruption inherent in the theocratic concept of government funded ‘faith based’ charities.

The Bush Administration, in the person of Karl Rove jumped on the idea with glee and used it to bribe cult leaders in exchange for political patronage and support. Centered on their joint opposition to same sex marriage it became the central wedge issue in the Republicans campaign to falsely identify the Democrats and same sex marraige.

Large numbers of people fell for their scam, including a number of GLBT Democrats who wrongly thought that because the Republicans hated us, the Democrats must somehow be our friends.

Obama and his Minister of Pandering Dubois proved just how wrong that wisful thinking was. Obama, urged by Dubois, orchestrated their own vote getting anti-SSM campaign from the first anti-LGBT revival meetings with Donnie McClurkin to Warren’s bigotfest at Saddleback where Obama uttered the words that torpedoed our chance to defend same sex marriage “gawd's in the mix."

Obama, Bush, Clinton, Rove and Dubois are wrong.

This fellow is right.

"... I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their "legislature" should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Thos. Jefferson speaking about the First Amendment, the Bill of Rights.

The whole concept is unconstitutional, illegal and a dangerously long step towards theocracy. That’s never stopped a hustler, and since it worked for Bush nothing will stop Obama from exercising his option of bribing cult leaders and winning re-election.

A. J. Lopp | April 7, 2009 3:30 PM

This was a terrible idea for an invitation, and I credit Dungy for realizing that he would be a lightning rod and thus having the good sense to decline.

Obama could attempt to salvage the idea of "faith-based" government-funded social programs --- if he had the gonads to stop it from being a government handout to evangelicals, and to level the playing field by adding some liberal Christians, some Jewish leaders, and a few appropriate, even if still token, Muslim, Buddhist or any other "lessor" faith (less represented in terms of demographics in the US population, I mean). Evangelical Christians are not the only faith group with worthwhile community programs --- almost every major city in America has a Jewish Community Center or an entire network of such ... but the idea of "faith-based" anythings being government-funded intrinsically favors "believers" over "non-believers" and thus should be seen as unconstitutional --- maybe a future US Supreme Court in a future century will someday be able to so rule.

I'll root for the Colts if and only if Dungy et al concentrates on basketball and stays out of divisive social causes. After all, the money I pump into the downtown Indianapolis parking meters goes indirectly to the Colts just like everyone else's does.


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