Despite Few Signatures, Gay Rights Petition Forces Clemson Coach from Pro-Family Event

dabo-swinney-ap-Photo-Wilfredo Lee-cropped
Auburn, AL

A year after his chaplain survived an attack from an atheist group for “arranging Bible studies, organizing devotionals and distributing Bibles and other religious materials,” Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney has been pressured to cancel an appearance with a pro-family group despite just 1,391 signing an on-line petition against his appearance.

Even in the unlikely event that all 1,391 on-line signatures at were students at Clemson, that would represent less than 7% of all students.

Greenville Online reported on last year’s complaint by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, while ESPN and other outlets reported on pressure brought by gay-rights groups and the small petition drive started by Clemson student William Ta’oma to compel Swinney not to address the Palmetto Family Council.

For comparison, 420,000 using the same website signed the petition asking the NFL to give up their tax exempt status.

One of the educational papers on the Foundation I run (Take Back Our Republic) was titled Retaliation for Political Contributions and expressed concern because “there is little tolerance for dissent from official or popular views. Too often debate is shut down and opposing voices either lost or unheard amid the clamor of those who can afford to pay more or who control the airwaves.”

Even some who support the agendas of gay advocacy groups have expressed concern over how quickly corporations have been able to get governors to drop support for religious liberty bills. USA Today reported on the opposition by nine CEOs to Indiana’s law, while CNN reported on Wal-Mart pressure stopping the Arkansas law.

Gay advocacy groups have focused on sports events to apply political pressure. Charles Barkley advocated moving the Final Four from Indianapolis days before its start, as reported by Breitbart Sports and others.

In addition to the pressure in the political and sports arenas against dissident views opposed to positions held by gay advocacy groups, a story on Breitbart Big Government detailed the assault in academe on a study indicating children do best when raised by a mother and father: “Despite an ongoing assault on his methods and findings, Regnerus’s study has never been retracted by the peer-reviewed publication that published it. What’s more, even though his university carried out an investigation, both his methods and findings were given a clean bill of health, even by those who support gay marriage.”

Like the academic’s scholarly work, a high-profile coach’s endorsement of such ideas supporting the traditional family elicit controversy within a campus setting.

The Palmetto Family Council, the group Swinney intended to address, now holds its “Celebrating Families 2015” event minus the coach.

“It was our intent to recognize Coach Dabo Swinney’s accomplishments, specifically the great work of his foundation, serving as a great role model, and for the strong testimony of his personal relationship with Christ,” a statement by the group maintained. “We understand Coach Swinney’s reluctance to engage in, or respond to, petty political attacks, and we certainly appreciate his principled leadership on and off the field. We will continue to promote his good work and recognize others that do the same.”