Farewell for now

entry-no-exitjpg2As some of you know, my time as a regular contributor at GetReligion is coming to an end due to other commitments relating to my legal career. I hope to continue to contribute from time-to-time on various issues, however I know I will miss regularly contributing to the community in this space.

During my journalism career, I never regularly reported on religion, but when I did, I developed a sincere appreciation for the challenge as well as the professional and personal satisfaction the experience provided. I hope my critiques and praises did a little something to elevate the practice. I know I have learned a tremendous amount in this experience.

I am extremely grateful to Tmatt for the opportunity he gave me nearly four years ago when I was a “practicing” journalist, and I am also thankful for the flexibility he and the other contributors here had when I transitioned out of practicing journalism on a regular basis and into law school. Journalism will always be apart of who I am and I am grateful that this site provided me with an outlet to continue to be apart of the journalism community.

I am also thankful for those of you who participate in this community, particularly those of you who submit articles with your own commentary. In attempting to cover religion news in the “heartland” of America, your contributions were invaluable. Most importantly, thank you to all the religion journalists out there for continuing to plug away on your beats. Obviously I couldn’t do much at GetReligion without your work.

As for my next steps, this summer I will be working at an Indianapolis-based law firm and preparing for my final year of law school. In the fall, I will be serving as editor-in-chief of my school’s flagship law review — the Indiana Law Review. It is an opportunity that I am sure will be both exciting and daunting at many levels.

Lastly, I would like to thank my wonderful wife Noelle for four years of editing nearly every single one of my posts. When she was absent from reviewing my work, many of you with an eye for editing noticed and let me know.

Farewell for now, but I won’t be far away.

Religion ghost drifting into baseball

Religion ghosts float in and out of news stories, good stories as well as shallow, incomplete stories. Sometimes people see the ghosts and that’s a good thing.

See here Tmatt’s examination of a funeral home trend story and the absence of religion. For a similar example of a religion ghost driving into a Major League Baseball news article, see this Atlanta Journal-Constitution story on Jordan Schafer, one of the best baseball prospects right now famous for hitting a home run in his first major league at bat.

Unfortunately, Schafer is also famous for serving a 50 game suspension for alleged human growth hormone use. Since you can’t really test for positive HGH use, it is hard to know for sure who uses it, but the accusation certainly raises questions about Schafer’s character, which the article addresses nicely.

But this is a feel-good story with good and evil floating around Schafer’s life like bumble bees on a hot summer day at the park. You never know when one might strike with a religious element:

There is no test for human growth hormone, and Schafer denies ever taking it, but he was linked to it and admitted to “hanging with the wrong people.”

“If you hang around dogs long enough, you’re going to catch fleas,’” Schafer explained.

Diaz was just the friend he needed.

Diaz is known in the Braves clubhouse for being humble and down-to-earth, with a strong Christian faith. If there was anyone to lead Schafer down the right path, this was the guy.

If you wanted to know more about the “strong Christian faith” of Braves left fielder Matt Diaz, you won’t find much about it in this article. We get some more details about the religious element that developed between Diaz and Schafer, but it is hardly developed as a meaningful aspect of the story:

They’d hit together several times a week. They played pingpong at Diaz’s house. One Sunday late in the offseason, Schafer went to church with Diaz. They talked about how to move forward from the suspension.

“Being able to talk with Matt, I don’t have any anger about it anymore,” Schafer said. “I’ve moved on. I’m totally content with the way things have been. Like he says, things happen for a reason. You have to be able to put your faith in God and let everything work itself out.”

Going on Diaz’s advice, Schafer wore collared shirts to the ballpark in spring training. He gave away his flashy red glove.

What do dressing nicely and having a normal glove have to do with going to church with a teammate?

When Schafer says that he wants to put his faith in God, does that mean he converted to Christianity recently or that he has re-newed his faith in God? Also, the article implies a generic Christianity, but a few details would give readers a much more complete idea of the religion ghosts present in this story. Maybe we’ll get more details later this season.

Civil marriages will still happen in Iowa

american_judgeAn aftermath of the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision to require the state to allow same-sex couples to marry is reported by the The Des Moines Register as a major story with potentially significant implications when in fact it is not that significant of an issue. At least it’s not significant based on the facts buried in the story. Here, a magistrate, not a judge as the headline inaccurately proclaims, announced that he will no longer perform marriage ceremonies partially in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Ultimately, the article gets all the details in the story, but before that, this magistrate’s decision is made to seem to be the next major legal contention that will flow from the court’s decision:

At least one Iowa magistrate has decided that he will no longer perform marriages, a response due in part to the Iowa Supreme Court ruling that allows same-sex couples to marry.

Third District Magistrate Francis Honrath of Larchwood on Wednesday said he will not be performing marriages.

“The Supreme Court ruling had something to do with it, but the truth is it’s not just same-sex marriage I had problems with,” said Honrath, a Creighton University law school graduate who is married and has seven children.

Sure this matters and is definitely news, but primarily at a symbolic level.

What jumped out to me about this story is that it mentions quite early that the magistrate is married with seven children. Is that really relevant to the story to the point that it should be in the third graph? I don’t want to say it’s completely inappropriate, because this story is ultimately about family issues and marriage, but what is the intent of placing this so close to the top? The obvious reason is to indicate that he is one serious Catholic. Six paragraphs later, the article states that the magistrate is a Catholic, but that’s about it when it comes to his religious views.

The article makes clear that performing marriages is completely discretionary. This magistrate is just declining to do a discretionary function of his job. Anybody seeking to have this particular magistrate perform their civil marriage will be disappointed. But as the article makes clear down near the end, you don’t even need a public official to perform the ceremony in order to accomplish the same ends of getting married:

County recorders do not have the option to refrain from marriage duties. Recorders, by law, have no discretion about performing their legal duties, including the issuance or denial of marriage licenses. The Iowa attorney general has advised recorders that failure to issue the licenses could result in proceedings to remove the person from office.

Marriages in Iowa may be solemnized by a judge, an ordained person or designated official of a person’s religious faith.

The Iowa high court opinion specifically differentiates between civil and religious marriages, allowing churches the freedom to accept or decline to conduct marriages for couples based upon their sex.

Judges may increasingly choose to avoid conducting weddings as a way to avoid possible political consequences when up for re-election, said Goldford, the political science professor. It means that all Iowans — including opposite-sex couples — may find it more difficult to find somebody to legally perform marriages for them outside of a church setting, he said.

One magistrate refusing to perform marriages does not indicate a coming flood of civil marriage ceremony abstentions. There are likely others out there that won’t perform marriage ceremonies any more, but as long as this decision is applied uniformly, there isn’t much anyone can do to object.

Whether or not people will find it more difficult to have someone perform a civil marriage is another question. Again, one magistrate out of the approximately 50 people that can perform marriages in that district will hardly be noticed. The article could have noted that if all of a sudden there were a dearth of judges or magistrates willing to perform marriages, the state could authorize other individuals to perform civil marriage ceremonies. Some jurisdictions authorize mayors, clerks and an number of civil authorities to perform marriages.

In general the story includes all the necessary details disclosing the face that this is not much of a story, but there are plenty of quotes in there that hype up this rather insignificant decision by a magistrate to stop performing civil marriage ceremonies.

Pageant answers taken seriously

There has been a slew of coverage of Miss California’s statements that she does not support gay marriage laws and her belief that her comments resulted in a missed chance at being crowned Miss USA. For a summary of the in depth, extensive coverage of the incident, and to make sure I don’t misconstrue any of the critical details of this factually sensitive story, here is a summary from the Associated Press:

Carrie Prejean defended her views Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show, telling host Matt Lauer that she spoke from the heart during Sunday’s pageant when she said that “marriage should be between a man and a woman.”

The beauty queen’s response to a question from openly gay pageant judge and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton has received more attention than the winner, Miss North Carolina Kristen Dalton.

Hilton, who also appeared on the “Today” show, said his question was relevant and that Prejean should have “left her politics and her religion out because Miss USA represents all Americans.”

For those of you who cannot hear the YouTube clip above, which has Prejean’s entire statement and Hilton’s reaction, it is important to note that she limited her comments to her personal views. She preceded the statement by saying that she thought it was great that in the United States there were options. Prejean also stated that she felt this personally because “that’s how I was raised.” I cannot believe I am parsing a statement in response from a question in a pageant.

As a commenter noted in submitting the story, there isn’t much discussion about how she was raised. None of the stories I’ve read mention what, if any, faith she maintained (her college’s Web site makes it pretty clear she is a Christian), but we’re left to presume that it was a typical denominationless evangelical Christian upbringing that was nothing like the portrayal in that wonderful 2006 movie Little Miss Sunshine. Apparently she was raised in a culture where beauty pageants are worth taking an entire semester off school. Someone needs to examine how that happens in today’s world.

Another aspect of the story that has received some attention is the issue of her sister and her support for the statement:

Days after Miss California delivered her controversial answer on gay marriage that she claims cost her the Miss USA crown, Carrie Prejean appears to be straddling the line in the debate, invoking a sister she claims is a “gay rights activist” while defending her “biblically correct” response.

“My sister is a second lieutenant in the Air Force and she is a gay rights activist,” Prejean told “Access Hollywood” Monday, adding that her sister is not gay. “She supports gay people, she supports gay marriage. My beliefs have nothing to do with my sister or my mom, or whatever,” she told the entertainment program.

Her statement Monday seemed to contradict her comments Sunday night when she said her family believed marriage should be between a man and a woman.

As a commenter noted, this may just be a pageant story, but readers would probably like to know a bit more about the background that “cost Miss California the title” because the way she was “raised” seems to be at the heart of the story.

What kind of prayer was it?

prayerOne must really think through this article from the San Francisco Chronicle about some students, disciplined for praying in a college faculty’s office, being permitted to sue the college for violating their free speech rights. The story’s problem, and this may not be the newspaper’s fault, is that there seems to be little to no explanation for why the college attempted to punish the students in the first place.

The key to the story is the context of the alleged incident. In other words, how well can a reporter paint a word picture about an event that is at the center of intense litigation? Here is what we get in the lead:

ALAMEDA – Two students who were threatened with suspension at the College of Alameda after one of them prayed with an ailing teacher in a faculty office can sue the community college district for allegedly violating their freedom of speech, a federal judge has ruled.

The students, Kandy Kyriacou and Ojoma Omaga, said college officials at first told them they were being suspended for “disruptive behavior,” then held disciplinary hearings and sent them letters warning that they would be punished if they prayed in a teacher’s office again.

The women sued, and U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ruled in San Francisco that their case could proceed, saying a college student has the right to pray in private outside the classroom.

Although a public college, like other government agencies, must refrain from endorsing religion, Illston said in her March 31 ruling that an objective observer probably wouldn’t have thought that the Alameda community college was making any such endorsement just because the teacher bowed her head while the student was praying.

From the first four paragraphs of the article, we have a picture of a scene that includes two students praying with a sick teacher in a faculty office and that the teacher may have bowed her head during the alleged prayer. Was the office exclusively the teacher’s (no)? How sick was the teacher? How long was the prayer? What words were used in the prayer? Was the teacher known to be one to pray with students in private?

An even more interesting assumption that the newspaper made throughout the article is whether the prayer was a Christian prayer, a Hindu prayer, a Jewish Muslim prayer, or a Jewish prayer. One could assume that it was either faith or another one not mentioned in my off-the-top-of-my-head list. From a legal perspective it probably does not matter, but shouldn’t it matter for a news story?

The key to this scene is whether this prayer was indeed voluntary and whether or not it was the person’s office. Also important and very unclear from the story: who protested the prayer, and who filed the disciplinary action against the students? Did the teacher protest at all? Was the prayer a private one in the sense that only the three participants knew about it until they were interrupted? Or were other teachers in the room, or was the door open and others could observe the prayer?

The story gives the sense that the prayer was completely non-disruptive to a reasonable person. That is, a reasonable person drawn from an average sample of Californians or Americans. But I get a sense from the article that the average person at this college may not appreciate public manifestations of faith in a deity.

Later in the article, we get these details about the incident:

The case dates from the fall of 2007, when Kyriacou and Omaga were studying fashion design and merchandising at the two-year college and took breaks from class to pray with each other and other students on a balcony, according to their suit.

Kyriacou prayed with the teacher, Sharon Bell, at an office Bell shared with other teachers, on two occasions in November and December 2007. The second time, a day when Bell was feeling ill, another teacher entered the office and told Kyriacou, “You can’t be doing that in here,” and the student stopped praying and left, the suit said.

Kyriacou and Omaga received suspension notices 10 days later. Omaga was accused of praying disruptively in class, Illston said, citing testimony at the students’ disciplinary hearings.

Did the other teacher file the complaint, or did the incident become general public knowledge? I know this is early in the case and that at least one side is likely not commenting on the case, but the article should at least acknowledge that there are many facts unknown at this point.

Questioning Obama’s religious rhetoric

Most news stories I have surveyed on President Obama’s speech Tuesday on the economy (among other things) have mentioned his use of the biblical metaphor of the nation’s economy being built on a rock, but few have gone beyond the message’s surface. (See here, here, here, here, here, and here.) For starters, none of the stories I read mentioned that President George W. Bush used a lot of religious metaphors and was at times criticized for using such language.

Obama has used the Sermon on the Mount before in his political rhetoric, (namely to express his support for civil unions), but this is one of the first times that I remember where biblical passages have been used for an area outside the social issues:

Here are the actual words of the speech, which, interestingly enough, are prominently highlighted on the Whitehouse.gov Web page with the headline “‘The House Upon a Rock.’”

Now, there’s a parable at the end of the Sermon on the Mount that tells the story of two men. The first built his house on a pile of sand, and it was soon destroyed when a storm hit. But the second is known as the wise man, for when “the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”

It was founded upon a rock. We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand. We must build our house upon a rock. We must lay a new foundation for growth and prosperity — a foundation that will move us from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest; where we consume less at home and send more exports abroad.

It’s a foundation built upon five pillars that will grow our economy and make this new century another American century: Number one, new rules for Wall Street that will reward drive and innovation, not reckless risk-taking — (applause); number two, new investments in education that will make our workforce more skilled and competitive — (applause); number three, new investments in renewable energy and technology that will create new jobs and new industries — (applause); number four, new investments in health care that will cut costs for families and businesses; and number five, new savings in our federal budget that will bring down the debt for future generations. (Applause.)

That’s the new foundation we must build. That’s our house built upon a rock. That must be our future — and my administration’s policies are designed to achieve that future.

David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network appropriately notes that the “rock” spoken of in these passages is anything but the economy. In fact, that “rock” is Jesus. Whether Obama’s speech writers (or Obama himself) intended the speech to convey that type of message is unlikely, but it does raise questions reporters must ask, as reporters did for President Bush, about whether or not this type of language is appropriate.

Of course, looking closer at the use of language is necessary to understand the difference in its usage. Obama is being very explicit about his use of biblical language. Bush was not always so explicit and often left reporters confused. Some even acted surprised when the language was “revealed.”

Here a non-Christian analyzes Obama’s use of biblical imagery to make his political points:

In a multireligious democracy, we should be concerned when politicians’ arguments rely on appeal to the authority of their particular religious texts (especially if theirs are shared by a religious majority). But contra Lynn, not all Bible quotes are appeals to divine authority. “The Bible says not to steal wages from your employees” is an appeal to biblical authority. “Let’s not copy Moses’ mistake when he hit the rock instead of talking to it” is an appeal to biblical wisdom.

I bring this up because I think it explains why, as a non-Christian (in a democracy with a Christian majority), I’m not bothered on a gut level when a Christian President quotes the New Testament parable about building your house on sand or on a rock to make a point about our economic recovery. The plain meaning of Obama’s speech is not that the Bible commands us to make new rules for wall street, investments in education, etc… His plain meaning is that this metaphor from his tradition, which may be familiar to many listeners, illustrates well why it’s urgent and worthwhile to do so.

This is not always a clear-cut distinction. But I think it’s a useful one. Maybe a useful thought experiment in assessing what kind of appeal to religious text we’re dealing with is to consider: Would using this quote in this way still make sense if the speaker’s religion were different from the quotation’s?

Reporters should not allow this one to slide because it is a significant speech and a significant use of biblical imagery.

While the story is still fresh, questions should be asked about why Obama decided to go to the Bible to assistant in his explanation of his economic plan. (See here for an example of good questions asked regarding Bush’s use of religious rhetoric.) Is it just a convenient well-known story that people understand or is there a deeper meaning to Obama’s multiple uses of the Sermon on the Mount in his police rhetoric?

Looking back on the raid

The one-year anniversary of the removal of 400-plus children from West Texas ranch operated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a tremendous reminder of the valuable asset newspapers are in providing substantive coverage of issues and events that require lengthy and rigorous review of records and in-depth investigation.

For a comparison, consider Oprah Winfrey’s completely useless and utterly inept attempt to give her viewers an idea of the ranch’s life and activities. Actually, don’t consider it because I did, and I can tell you that it is a complete waste of time. As this HuffPost Story speculates, “it’s distinctly possible that there’s more to this story than was shown” in Oprah’s pathetic attempt to show what is behind the Yearning For Zion Ranch.

Actually, the HuffPost’s attempt to speculate is unnecessary because the Associated Press and a number of newspaper articles show that there is indeed more there than what Oprah was able to cobble together.

For starters, consider this tremendous Associated Press piece by Michelle Roberts that details in much nuance what the facts show about life at the ranch:

Documents used in court proceedings and thousands of pages of additional records, obtained by The Associated Press, offer a window into an industrious, prayerful community in which marriage was considered a mandatory ticket to heaven, and where legal marrying ages were secondary to divine matches ordained by Jeffs.

But more than anything else, these papers testify to a simple truth:

At the YFZ Ranch, Warren Jeffs controlled everything.

Notice how Roberts doesn’t just portray the ranch as either an industrious wonderful place or a horrible place filled with nothing but child abuse? If only some of the earlier coverage of the raid had been so nuanced. The place is also highly controlled and many legally questionable practices likely occurred there, namely, sexual abuse as defined by Texas criminal law:

But child welfare authorities and prosecutors say the FLDS theology of purity and plural marriage, combined with Jeffs’ one-man rule, had a darker undercurrent. They say it made the marriage and sexual assault of underage girls regular practice in the sect that uses the Book of Mormon but follows plural marriage and other practices long ago renounced by mainstream Mormons.

Since the raid last year, the FLDS has said it will not sanction underage marriages. But for years, Jeffs only acknowledged whether a girl had reached puberty, not her legal age.

“I say, in the name of the Lord, there is no underage marriage in a priesthood marriage, in celestial marriage. God has the right to rule. The Lord had me take these two underage girls on purpose, to show that I and we, this people, are with him, with God, not fearing man,” he wrote in 2003.

One of those girls, Jeffs wrote, was lucky to have a husband at her age. The girl, allegedly married to Jeffs at age 12, is the lone ranch child who remains in foster care.

The article rightly couches the abuse as allegations because they have not been proven in a criminal court. I do question whether the article relied a bit too heavily on the word of public officials. Reporters must remember that the word of the public official is not gospel, and merely quoting their statements does not mean that the underlying facts should not be investigated for inconsistencies.

The article also distinguishes between the unusual and questionable social practices (“‘A woman should ask for children, and that be the motive for those sexual relations,’ he said, adding there was to be no sex for pregnant women or women beyond childbearing years.”) and the illegal ones (“‘I say, in the name of the Lord, there is no underage marriage in a priesthood marriage, in celestial marriage. God has the right to rule. The Lord had me take these two underage girls on purpose, to show that I and we, this people, are with him, with God, not fearing man,’ [Jeffs] wrote in 2003.”).

The reporting by The Salt Lake Tribune‘s Brooke Adams should also be praised because the articles are equally detailed and nuanced in the coverage of the sensitive matter. Here the Houston Chronicle provides what amounts to the state’s defense of its actions a year ago, and The San Angelo Standard-times provides a perspective from the view of the YFZ Ranch residents.

Compared with the television news coverage, see CNN here and ABC News here, newspapers have outdone all other mediums in providing proper coverage of this hugely important subject.

The next step in the news coverage that I am still waiting to happen, or to find, would deal with the legal consequences of this raid. I would also like to see a closer examination of the political consequences of the issue of the legality of plural marriages. Because Texas wisely based its charges on the allegations of underage sexual abuse, this issue was skirted in this instance, but the legal and political issue remains. As the articles detail, once the issue of sexual abuse is set aside, the issue of whether the state may regulate marriage, and in particular the number of individuals legally permitted to enter into marital unions, becomes a touchier subject.

As long as individuals in either FLDS or other groups that practice polygamy do not attempt to register their marriages with the state, they most likely will not risk prosecution. But the legal consequences do not go away in terms of determining issues of inheritance, hospital visitation, child custody, divorce and property rights. Family law in this country is a beast of a subject, and the coverage of plural marriages just begins to nip at the complexity and inconsistencies.

Why did Dungy say no?

National Public Radio had an interesting interview a few days ago regarding the announcement of former Indianapolis Colts coach and Super Bowl champion Tony Dungy’s invitation to President Obama’s White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Yes, the invitation was officially announced (nice work Dan Gilgoff), and yes, Dungy declined that invitation for the stated reason of the time constraints of a retired NFL coach.

My local newspaper The Indianapolis Star hasn’t provided much coverage in print that I’ve noticed about either the announcement or the rejection, which is curious because even after Dungy retired from the Colts, the newspaper has not stopped covering Dungy’s extensive work outside of football. Part of that lack of coverage is I’m sure due to the unfortunate lack of resources to cover stories such as these, although religion reporter Robert King has provided solid coverage on his blog Thou Shalt Blog.

The withdrawal is interesting, because as the above NPR segment discusses, many liberal groups were not thrilled with the idea of Dungy participating on the counsel because of Dungy’s support of an amendment to Indiana’s constitution that would have mandated that marriage be exclusive to heterosexual relationships.

Here’s is King’s reporting and analysis on the invitation:

Dungy hasn’t yet accepted the invitation and it isn’t clear whether the position is anything more than an honorary post. But already the Americans United for Separation of Church and State is expressing “disappointment” with Obama’s selection of Dungy.

In its statement, Americans United said Dungy has “well-known ties with intolerant Religious Right groups.” I presume that they weren’t referring to the Indianapolis Colts.

Specifically, the statement referenced Dungy’s 2007 appearance, above left, at a fundraising dinner for the Indiana Family Institute, which it describes as a “James Dobson-affiliated group that opposes gay rights, reproductive rights and separation of church and state.”

Both Dungy and the Indiana Family Institute probably consider it a badge of honor to be singled out by Americans United and its executive director, Barry Lynn, who has raised more money for conservative groups like IFI than Dungy ever will — merely by being a face those groups can point to as someone who threatens to sterilize the civic landscape of any and all religious entanglements.

It will be interesting to see if Dungy accepts the Obama invitation, given the president’s positions on abortion and gay rights — which are in direct opposition to Dungy’s.

King rightly notes that the group’s opposition to each other provides a nice fundraising and profile-raising opportunity for both sides. Dungy’s choice of sides just provides the other with ammunition to fire. He also anticipates the possibility fairly early that Dungy’s involvement on the council was not a done-deal.

This brings the question of why Dungy declined the Obama invitation. When have scheduling conflicts even genuinely been the reason for someone declining a request or an offer for the President? My guess is not often and that there were other reasons the invite was rejected. Was Dungy concerned about serving on the panel that included individuals that are on the opposite side from him on the gay marriage issue, or was it a concern that his presence would draw unnecessary attention away from the group’s mission? Or did members of the panel have similar concerns about Dungy? Was the position too “honorary” and not enough substance?

None of these questions are easy to answer, but as the NPR segment I noted above shows, the group’s opposing Dungy’s position are not entirely consistent because even Obama’s official position on gay marriage is not all that far from Dungy’s substantive position in the sense that Obama does not support gay marriage. He supports civil unions.

I can concede that Obama has never campaigned for Illinois to amendment its state constitution to forbid gay marriage from ever becoming law in the state, but in terms of the substance one has to wonder why groups opposing Dungy’s invitation don’t put more pressure on Obama regarding the substantive legal differences between civil unions and gay marriage. Also, why oppose what appears to be an offer to serve on an honorary panel, when the President of the United States isn’t supporting your position?

From a political point of view, Dungy’s position on gay marriage is fairly limited to his opposition to gay marriage. His campaigning in Indiana is what sets him off and draws the attention. I doubt he has a position on civil unions. But in the sense that Dungy believes that marriage should be exclusively reserved for heterosexuals unions, Dungy and Obama are not all that far apart on this issue legally.