The White House has invited another gay
rights opponent to join its Advisory Council on Faith-Based and
Neighborhood Partnerships Office.
Dan Gilgoff is reporting at U.S.
News and World Report that former Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony
Dungy is being considered for the panel.
Obama's Faith-Based and Neighborhood
Partnerships Office is an extension of President Bush's Faith-Based
Council that delivered funds to church social groups.
On March 20, 2007 Dungy was the VIP
attraction at a fundraiser for the Indiana Family Institute
(IFI) where he helped raise more than $70,000 for the group.
The IFI is the Indianapolis-based
social conservative group that backed a 2007 effort to put a gay
marriage ban in the state's constitution. Its anti-gay philosophy is
listed on the group's website: “Throughout its 16-year history, the
Indiana Family Institute has sought to bring Biblical values and
Biblical ethics to the public policy making process in Indiana. To
this end, we have opposed all efforts to create or advance special
civil or legal rights for homosexuals.”
IFI leaders also opposed an Indiana gay
protections law in 2005 and support the notion that gays can be
“cured” through prayer.
At the event, which came after weeks of
dodging questions over his involvement with the group, Dungy publicly
acknowledged his opposition to gay marriage: “I appreciate the
stance they're taking, and I embrace that stance. ... IFI is saying
what the Lord says. You can take that and make your decision on
which way you want to be. I'm on the Lord's side.”
Tony Perkins, president of the socially
conservative Family Research Council, praised Obama's invitation to
“Opponents of traditional marriage
are seeking to disqualify Coach Dungy simply for believing that
marriage is the union of one man and one woman which is a view shared
by more than 80 percent of American Evangelicals. Their desire to
exclude Tony Dungy from the Faith Council, based upon his religious
convictions, provides further evidence of an effort to silence the
Church,” Perkins said in a statement.
If Dungy accepts the appointment, he
would join at least 2 more anti-gay leaders on the council: Joel
Hunter, who once headed the Christian Coalition, the most widely
recognized anti-gay and anti-abortion group in the nation, and Rev.
Jim Wallis, president and chief executive of Sojourners, a
Washington-based evangelical magazine, who is a vocal opponent of
abortion and gay marriage.