Tony Dungy Joins Obama’s Faith Council April 2, 2009

Tony Dungy Joins Obama’s Faith Council

Tony Dungy used to be the coach of the Indianapolis Colts (and, therefore, Peyton Manning).

Now, he’s been tapped to join President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

The downside: He supported a gay marriage ban in Indiana in 2007.

“We’re not trying to downgrade anyone else,” Dungy added. “But we’re trying to promote the family — family values the Lord’s way.”

The upside (rather, the neutral-side): He would be only one of twenty-five voices on the Council. Probably the most well-known one, though.

Putting Dungy on his Council won’t change much. It’s a symbolic gesture more than anything (adding yet another high-profile evangelical Christian to Obama’s collection)… but how many of these symbols do we need?

We get it. Obama’s a Christian. He listens to Christians. Why not put other representative voices on there? There’s not a single non-religious person on that Council. (Or a Mormon or Hindu, for that matter.)

There’s at least some dissent on this decision:

Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United’s executive director, “I am surprised and disappointed that Dungy has been asked to serve on the council. His view that civil-marriage law should reflect religious doctrine is not in keeping with the Constitution.”

Added Lynn, “It is extremely important for the advisory council to uphold civil rights and civil liberties, and I am concerned that Coach Dungy is far from the best person to do that.”

Outside that, I haven’t heard much criticism of this appointment.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Yet another reason to be embarrassed about Indiana, sigh.

    I’m not really surprised about Obama. I didn’t expect him to be some non-theisty messiah. It is annoying, though =\

  • I agree that it’s mostly symbolic. From what I can tell Dungy is a good guy and a great coach, but I never liked him much after his team won the Superbowl. He went into a big speech saying how it was an honor to win as a Christian, like he was better than all non-Christians.

    I think it’s safe to say Obama wasn’t considering the atheist viewpoint in this (or any) selection to the council.

  • Andrew C.

    I’m not worried about Dungy’s being on the council affecting anything. He has a tendency to choke when something big is on the line.

  • Just splitting hairs, but Mormons *are* Christian. It’s one of their basic tenets. (It’s actually one of their pet peeves, being classified as if they’re not. I grew up Mormon, and was taught all about it.)

    As far as the Council goes… I feel like the majority of mainstream America doesn’t comprehend the separation of church and state. I feel like it’s so beyond my control as an individual that I can’t work up anything much beyond apathy. Which is the wrong idea for being part of a Representative Democracy and all, I know.

  • Aj

    Obama doesn’t believe in separation of church and state, he definitely believes in the religion. He’s not going to change his mind this type of thing will keep happening.

    Mormons may want to call themselves Christian but we don’t have to advocate their identity politics. If they want to be called Christian its probably for their interests not ours.

  • mikespeir

    Dungy is a great coach. I was in Tampa when he turned the Buccaneers from the worst team in history into one of the better ones around. I disagree with him as to religion, but admire him as a person.

  • So, I’m confused. He says, “But we’re trying to promote the family — family values the Lord’s way.” Is it just me or did the Lord -as far as the church is concerned- not have a family? Why are they basing their decisions on a person who never married and never had children of his own?

  • cassiek

    I was a manager at Barnes & Noble in the Indianapolis area when Dungy’s book, Quiet Strength, was released. We had quite a few copies returned when the jocks who bought them started reading and realized that it was about his faith and not football.

    He’s a great coach, but not someone I’d pick to have a voice on public policy. His stance on gay marriage is enough to make me give him a thumbs down.

  • Jason R

    Blah, enough symbolic gestures, the world has enough symbolic gestures. How about filling the council with people who’s views on reality aren’t shaped by a 2000 year old book that contains self-contradictory claims that aren’t backed up by reality.

    I’m so sick of this crap.

  • Erp

    There are actually at least two non-Christians on the council

    Eboo Patel is a young (32/33) Ismaili Muslim with a blog at very concerned with interfaith work

    Rabbi David N. Saperstein is a Reform Jew

    I also can’t find religious affiliations for Judith Vredenburgh (Big Brother/Big Sister) and Diane Baillargeon (Seedco)

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