Pass the Sickbag

World O’Crap brings to our attention yet another Christian masculinist…coach Dave Daubenmire of Pass the Salt Ministries and Minutemen United. Daubenmire sings an all-too-familiar lament about the need for men to be warriors, how churches “effeminize” them, and so on:

Longing to do something great for Christ, we have instead been given effeminate, nursery school duties. How many dishes do we have to wash? How much bread must we hand out to the needy?…The Lion of the Tribe of Judah lives in us and is itching to roar. Unfortunately, the church is trying to domesticate us, trying to transform the Lion into a Lamb.

And who wants to be like some soppy Lamb, giving out loaves (and maybe the odd bit of fish) to the needy? Wo’C author SZ suggests a trip to Iraq might be of value, but, as with Doug Giles and the rest of the more-testosterone-than-thou “warriors”, the home front is a more urgent concern:

While millions of Christians gathered in the safety of their church on Sunday April 25th, the Minutemen, and women…trekked to Washington D.C. to stand for life against those who were marching for death. Hundreds of thousands of pro-death marchers spewed venom and hatred at us as we proudly defended the unborn.

“Hey buddy”, we yelled at the effeminized men in the parade who marched dutifully behind their bossy women, “Real men raise babies, they don’t kill them.” Seems pretty radical, eh?

It was the most gratifying church service of my life!

Much more fun than all those confessions of sins and such. But how did Daubenmire get spurred into action in the first place?

…it took a blindside attack from the ACLU for me to awaken. Sued for having the audacity to pray with our football teams, I was unceremoniously drug [sic!] kicking and screaming into the cultural war.

This was first reported back in 1998:

David Daubenmire, the football coach at London High School in London City, violated the First Amendment by leading players in the Lord’s Prayer, a parent said. Charles Bluestone wrote a letter to the education department charging Daubenmire with “blending religion and teaching,” United Press International said. School Superintendent Jacob Froning told the school board that the coach’s contract should not be renewed because he talked about religion in class and preached on a Christian radio station during school hours. The board ignored the request. “In this day and age, when kids are taking guns to school and getting pregnant and using drugs, I find it ironic that people find my faith in God to be a greater threat,” Daubenmire said.

The ACLU became involved, and elsewhere on his website, the coach gives us his take on how the ensuing legal action panned out:

Dave Daubenmire, a veteran 25 year high school football coach, was spurred to action when attacked and eventually sued by the ACLU in the late 1990’s for alledgedly [sic] mixing prayer with his coaching. After a two year battle for his 1st amendment rights and a determination to not back down, the ACLU relented and offered coach an out of court settlement. God honored his stand and the ACLU backed off. Coach’s courageous stand, an inspiration to Americans everywhere, demonstrated that the ACLU can be defeated.

But to paraphrase Douglas Adams, this must be some strange, new definition of the word “defeated” which I wasn’t previously aware of. The ACLU tells the whole story:

CLEVELAND — An eight year history of religious indoctrination of student athletes at an Ohio public school ended today with the successful resolution of a lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio announced today.

…The settlement, which ACLU attorneys have been quietly negotiating with lawyers for the district and the coaches since early last month, prohibits future acts of religious indoctrination and establishes a system for reporting violations of the agreement to the United States District Court in Columbus.

…During discovery depositions held in the last two weeks, Head Coach David Daubenmire admitted to leading the football team in the Lord’s Prayer after games, passing out a scriptural verse to team members, allowing ministers to lead the team in prayer, and to using Bible stories as a part of certain team meetings. Daubenmire denied having engaged in such misconduct after November 1997, although witnesses told the ACLU that such conduct persisted into the fall of 1998.

The Liar of the Tribe of Judah?

…Violations of the Establishment Clause could result in a citation for contempt of court. A second agreement, previously ratified by the lawyers in the case, awards the ACLU nearly $18,000 in attorney fees and court costs.

And as for Daubenmire’s “First Amendment” posturing:

In a separate case, the ACLU is still defending seven members of the London community who had criticized Coach Daubenmire’s religious activities.

Daubenmire had attempted to bully his critics into silence through a libel action, which he lost. He also failed at an appeal in 2004; a site noting Ohio Court Opinions records that (link added):

London High School football coach David Daubenmire was warned or reprimanded several times by the superintendent about his management and discipline of the team, and he was criticized by parents, including criticism for religious activity and prayers by the team. Several parents and faculty members lobbied the Board of Education to not renew his contract, and when unsuccessful, spoke publicly about Daubenmire. He sued for defamation, the trial court granted summary judgment for the defendants on the basis that Daubenmire was a limited purpose public figure and a qualified privilege applied, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. There are four categories of defamation plaintiffs: (a) private persons, (b) public officials, (c) public figures, and (d) limited purpose public figures. Whether a plaintiff is a public figure is a question of law; it does not depend on the plaintiff’s wishes, and a plaintiff may not escape public figure status if he voluntarily engages in a course of conduct that invites attention and comment. A limited purpose public figure is a person who becomes a public figure for a specific range of issues by being drawn into or voluntarily injecting himself into a specific public controversy. Public figures and limited purpose public figures must show by clear and convincing evidence that the statements were made with actual malice.

Daubenmire v Sommers, 156 Ohio App 3d 322, 2004-Ohio-914 (12th Dist, Madison)

After that, I can see why the “limited purpose” Daubenmire would prefer to stick to yelling at “effeminized” pro-choice men and moaning about the washing-up. The Free Press gives further details of Daubenmire’s battles:

Minutemen United, the Warsaw-based men’s ministry, headed by former London High School football coach Dave Daubenmire, that partnered locally with Operation Save America’s occupation of City Hall in July, has a growing presence in Columbus and Central Ohio. Every Saturday since OSA’s departure, anywhere from a dozen to 30 or more “blue meanies in blue beanies,” waving baby blender-bits posters, pray and protest at Capital Care Women’s Clinic on the corner of N. High and Weber Road.

“blue meanies in blue beanies”? But that’s not all:

On October, 8, the Minutemen staged a protest at the OSU Law School during a town meeting featuring OSU President Karen Holbrook and various school officials. The Minutemen called the demonstration to “chastise” Holbrook’s for her public opposition to Issue 1, the Ohio Marriage Amendment, and to protest the recent decision of the OSU Trustees to offer domestic partner benefits to employees. Claiming that “Mrs. Holbrook” and the Trustees violated Ohio’s Open Meeting law by holding “secret meetings” to decide the domestic partner issue, Daubenmire demanded Holbrook resign saying she is attempting to transform OSU into an “institution of moral decadence.”

Daubenmire is also opposed to science, and since his “defeat” of the ACLU went so well, he tried to get onto the Ohio State Board of Education. From the Columbus Dispatch in 2004:

Daubenmire said he will be an “uncompromised Christian voice” on the board and wants to ensure schools follow board-adopted science standards that allow the teaching of intelligent design.

“We have to ask, ‘Why are parents pulling their kids out of public schools?'” he said. ‘‘I think it has to do with moral issues.”

The Loser of the Tribe of Judah fared badly there, too (although the Ohio science standards remain dodgy).

But, as with Prof Mike S Adams (who got into a bit of bother with his university authorities after his future wife sent a threatening email to a student who had sent him an anti-war email), Daubenmire’s efforts to package himself as a free-speech defender have succeeded in launching a wingnut media career:

In addition to his weekly radio show, Coach has made regular national appearances on Hannity and Colmes, CBS Evening News, Scarborough Country on MSNBC, Fox News, The Edge with Paula Zahn, Dayside with Linda Vester, and Court TV.