After the flap last week over the White House's invitation to former NFL coach and gay marriage opponent Tony Dungy to join the Advisory Council to the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the White House has released a list of new additions to the Council, and Dungy isn't on it. According to David Brody, Dungy will not serve on the Council, but will be an adviser to the President on "responsible father initiatives."

Will those include gay dads, I wonder?

The new appointees to the Council are Anju Bhargava, Founder, Asian Indian Women of America, Bishop Charles Blake, Presiding Bishop, Church of God in Christ, The Rev. Peg Chemberlin, President-Elect, National Council of Churches USA, Nathan Diament, Director of Public Policy, Orthodox Jewish Union, Harry Knox, Director, Religion and Faith Program, Human Rights Campaign, Dalia Mogahed, Executive Director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, Anthony Picarello, General Counsel , United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Nancy Ratzan, Board Chair, National Council of Jewish Women, and Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President, Disciples of Christ.

While it's heartening to see a LGBT rights advocate on the Council (Knox) and a reproductive rights and health advocate (Ratzan), it's a rather odd list. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is anti-choice and anti-gay marriage; Bishop Blake infamously delivered an anti-abortion speech at the Democratic National Convention last year, castigating the party which had invited him to speak. Blake's denomination, the Church of God in Christ, is also vehemently anti-LGBT, with this statement on same-sex marriage:

We believe that the homosexual practices of same-sex couples are in violation of religious and
social norms and are aberrant and deviant behavior. We believe that these unions are sinful and in direct violation of the law of God in that they are a deviation from the natural use and purpose of the body. "For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which is due." (Romans 1:26-27 NKJV). We believe that to legalize such unions will signal ecclesiastical and social approval of homosexuality and sexual deviancy as legitimate lifestyles. Therefore, in spite of the progressive normalization of alternative lifestyles and the growing legal acceptance of same-sex unions; we declare our opposition to any deviation from traditional marriages of male and female. Notwithstanding the rulings of the court systems of the land in support of same-sex unions; we resolve that the Church of God in Christ stand resolutely firm and never allow the sanctioning of same-sex marriages by its clergy nor recognize the legitimacy of such unions.

It's not clear what the 25 people Obama has appointed will actually accomplish, except make people think they have input until they find out they actually don't, and to give legitimacy to homophobia under the cover of religious "conscience."

--Sarah Posner

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