A Brief Guide to Dave Daubenmire
Richard Bartholomew printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 04:34:33 PM EST
One of the more absurd "culture warriors" of the Christian Right is "Coach" Dave Daubenmire, of Pass the Salt Ministries and Minutemen United. Daubenmire is a familiar figure on the dominionist right; a typical appearance was reported in January last year:
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.

And when that gets boring - as Talk to Action recently noted - Daubenmire has been known to burn a Koran to get his fix of media attention.

But how did Daubenmire come to fame in the first place?

His website has one version of the hero's origins:
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.

This is a curious usage of the word "defeated", given that Daubenmire's "courageous stand" meant him paying the ACLU $18,000 in costs, and the school district instituting an agreement which (according to the ACLU website)
prohibits future acts of religious indoctrination and establishes a system for reporting violations of the agreement to the United States District Court in Columbus.

However, Daubenmire's First Amendment posturing only went so far; the ACLU also reported that:
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 was just as successful as his "two year battle" against the ACLU. This went on an appeal in 2004, which also went badly for him; a site noting Ohio Court Opinions records that (scroll down):
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)

Since then, though, the "limited purpose" Daubenmire has trod the familiar path of a victimised warrior of the right spurred into action by liberal persecution: inevitably, the "coach" became a pundit:
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.

Most recently, he has called for James Dobson and other members of the Christian Right "A-List" to abandon the Republican Party in favour of Judge Roy Moore:

The Log Cabin Republicans are a group of homosexuals who support the Republican Party. For Heaven's sake what are we doing on the same team? Do the donations of Christians and donations of homosexuals go into the same pot? How can Christ bless that?

... A Judge Moore candidacy will ignite Christian passion. The two parties and their imps will call him a lawbreaker, a radical, and a hatemonger, but they were never with us anyway. Isn't it time we voted for a man who truly shares our values? A man who understand that all government answers to God? They will tell us he can't win, but if we turn out the vote for him, he can and will. It is time to separate the sheep from the goats.

Things are not looking good for Republicans. It is time to abandon ship, to build an ark, to raise the standard. Republicanism is making Christianity look bad.

The Coach has also pontificated on US history, with unhappy results: Dispatches from the Culture Wars has more on this.

(Adapted from my blog, here)

The full opinion is here.

by Richard Bartholomew on Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 04:41:35 PM EST

... at Columbus City Hall in July 2004 is included with this article at barf.org:

On public Koran burning, and respect for religion

Also, see ongoing coverage of Daubenmire and other Ohio personalities at Theoconia.
Acquire the Evidence: on Ron Luce, Teen Mania Ministries and the "BattleCry" campaign. acquiretheevidence.com

by Mike Doughney on Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 07:40:06 PM EST

I've been chronicling Coach's activities for over 2 years for the Columbus Free Press and my blog, Theoconia. Since  at least 2001  I've listened to him regularly on the radio.  Over that time I've seen him move from a local or regional presence into at least the lower echelon of the national scene. His break-out, imo, came with the Minutemen local sponsorship of the 2004 Operation Save America summer event in Columbus where OSA took over city hall plaza for a week.  Lately he appears to be trying to recruit disenchanted PKers. When PK was here a few months ago, MM actually got vendor space inside the auditorium.

Coach was arrested at the Schiavo death watch in Pinellas Park.  We discussed the Schiavo case at length and you can read the article (which never made it to print) on Theoconia:  Coach Makes his Bones.  Actually, he appears in several articles there.   http://theoconia.blogspot.com

Marley Greiner
by Marley Greiner on Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 08:58:40 PM EST

I see the permalink is here:
http://theoconia.blogspot.com/2006/06/coach-makes-his-bones-daube nmire.html

by Richard Bartholomew on Mon Oct 30, 2006 at 02:26:43 AM EST

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