"I appreciate the stance they're taking, and I embrace that stance," Dungy said.
"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.
This issue originally arose at the end of January, during the Super Bowl festivities, when it first became public knowledge that Dungy was to appear before the IFI. But, that was before John Amaechi came out and Tim Hardaway made his remarks and the issue of sexual orientation received two solid weeks of discussion in sports media.
And, it's fascinating to ponder the differences in the reaction to Dungy's position compared with Hardaway's. One of Hardaway's no-nos was that he said he "hated" gays. Additionally, Hardaway also failed to couch his arguments in religious terms. Hence, his anti-gay sentiments lacked the credibility that religiously based opposition to homosexuality still enjoys. But, is the difference in their positions really significant? One arguable point of difference is that Dungy can still say, and presumably believes, that one can "hate the sin and love the sinner." Hardaway, though he has now repeatedly backed off his original comments, could not stand on similar ground. That difference aside, there's little credible in Dungy's sentiments. The notion that the IFI isn't "anti anything" or trying to "downgrade anything" is obviously false on its face. It's the very purpose of the anti gay marriage movement to downgrade or, more properly, to prevent from attaining equal status, same-sex marriage alongside opposite-sex marriage. That insistence on codifying the greater status of one over the other is the raison d'etre of the movement.
And, the contention that anti- gay marriage advocates are not anti gay is similarly unserious. Almost all cite the bible, as Dungy does here, to support their position. But, the bible, of course, does not condemn gay marriage specifically. It condemns homsexuality in toto as "abomination." So, Dungy is simply being disingenuous to cite the bible as the authority for his position on gay marriage while insisting he's not anti gay, when the bible's specific prohibition is against homosexuality, not gay marriage per se.
Furthermore, the notion that the handful of biblical references to homosexuality amounts to a credible defense of a discriminatory public policy position in contemporary America is also deeply flawed. The bible prohibits many things, including: charging interest, dishonoring parents (penalty: death), having sex with a woman during menstruation (penalty: death), adultery (penalty: death) and allows other things (like slavery) that we find abhorrent and unacceptable. How it is that gay marriage has been raised to the position of the practice most needing condemnation and legal prohibition is unclear, because nowhere does the bible rank order condemned practices (For a good discussion of some of the problems in using the bible as a basis for contemporary public policy debates, go here).
Dungy's entitled to his position, of course. But, I stand by what I have said about him previously: given the endless harping on character that is a staple of sports discourse, it's frankly bizarre that someone can maintain such a clear and blatant prejudice without any questioning his character when, by contrast, Tim Hardaway was absolutely vilified for his remarks. To repeat, I understand that a distinction can be made. But, the fact is that Dungy has lined himself up with forces that do, in fact, preach hatred of gays and have promoted an issue that has the effect of further marginalizing and vilifying an already marginalized and vilified group.
I am inclined to think that Dungy is not acting with willful malice here. But, he's fully responsible for his prejudice, whether or not he cites the bible to back him up. Slaveowners did the same thing 150 years ago.