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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

September-22-97

Promise Keepers Continue to Inflame

In the face of the Promise Keepers' growing visibility, suspicion is deepening among feminists and religious scholars, both about the organization's ties to the political agenda of the Religious Right, and their fundamentalist rhetoric that calls for members to "take back the nation for Jesus" and who hold that abortion and homosexuality are sins.

According to a 1995 survey conducted by the National Center for Fathering, 31% of Promise Keepers belong to fundamentalist churches and another 46% belong to evangelical churches. Less than half have completed a college or degree.

Randall Balmer, professor of religion at Barnard College, said "For many American males, feminism has been disruptive." He said that many white men are anxious about their perceived loss of societal authority, and that Promise Keepers appeal to this anxiety by using "the traditional Christian metaphors of militarism and athleticism to combat feminism ... It's Biblical language, so it ... legitimizes [men's] desires for more authority in the culture."

Bill McCartney, former football coach and current leader of Promise Keepers, says that "sexual sin" is the biggest problem in members' lives. According to him, sexual sin is "lust, it's fornication, it's homosexuality, it's pornography, it's adultery...If you're single, get married. There is no other sex."

Media Resources: Washington Post - September 21, 1997


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