Whatever Happened to the Promise Keepers?

Christianity has always had a “wimp problem,” but it has been especially acute in a rough frontier society like America.  By the Civil War, the caricature clergyman was a nearsighted, spindly-shanked, neurasthenic nerd preaching to pews full of bored housewives.  Today, of course, your mainline denominations are little more than cosplay groups for gays, and as for evangelicals….

I  hate linking to videos, but you really have to see this.  Play either of those videos.  Ignore the words — just listen to, and watch, how he speaks.  The lisp, the exaggerated theatrical gestures, the skinny jeans… this is one of the fruitiest, wimpiest dudes I’ve ever seen, and he’s exhorting his congregation to “man up.” If you don’t feel like watching a video, here’s a picture of another one of these metrosexual poofs, Joel Osteen:

If that’s what a Christian man should be, then fuck it, I’m praying to Mithra.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though.  I’ve argued at length that America needs a theocracy, or at least something approximating one.  There’s no turning back to the old-time religion — God really is dead, as Snoop Dogg said, and we have killed him — but the suggestion of grace is irreplaceable.  What Our Thing needs, in other words, is an updated version of the Promise Keepers.

If you don’t remember / weren’t around for them, the Promise Keepers were part of a revival of Gilded Age-style “muscular Christianity” that hit in the 1990s.  Academic freedom actually meant something back in those weird old days, so I remember groups like the “Power Team” coming to my college campus.  These were bodybuilders, Chuck Norris fans, and other “martial arts” goons who would do things like rip phone books in half and smash two-by-fours with the power of Christ.

The Promise Keepers were the graduate version of that.  Founded by a wildly successful Division I football coach, Bill McCartney, it was basically a Jesus-centric frat for middle aged men.  It was wildly successful — they got over half a million men to rally on the National Mall in Washington in 1997 — before the media crushed him.  The New York Times ran a hit piece on his wife, some nutters in Colorado got him to sign on to a doomed-to-fail “anti-gay” amendment to the state constitution, everyone constantly brought up his pre-Jesus extramarital affairs, and that was the end of Bill McCartney.

Note that McCartney’s message never got discredited.  The standard line of attack against the Promise Keepers was that they were misogynist.  Which they were — if you define “misogynist” as “anything that gives feminists the vapors” — but back in 1997, “Gender Studies” lunacy was just gearing up.  People like Tammy Bruce and Camile Paglia could be taken seriously as public figures in 1997.  Even lots of feminists pretended to be shocked when Nina Burleigh offered to blow Bill Clinton “for keeping abortion legal.”  The whole idea of enforced monogamy for gays, which we know as the ancient Constitutional right to gay marriage, was, in 1997, derided as a patriarchal imposition of the hated breeders.  Nobody made up their own pronouns in the Clinton years, so turning back the gender-relations clock to the 1950s seemed quaint at best, actively malicious at worst.

Betcha wish we’d listened to Bill McCartney now!!!

The key question is: Whatever happened to those 600,000 – 800,000 men who gathered on the National Mall back in 1997?  Are they filling the pews in the megachurches, fiddling their thumbs as effete metrosexual grifters like Joel Osteen tell them how Jesus really wants them to bend over for their “significant others”?  Did they quit going to church entirely?  Are they, like me, getting jiggy with Mithra?

I doubt it.  I bet they’re still out there — and their sons are out there — just waiting for the go signal.  All you really need is a semi-Christian version of Jordan Peterson with a functioning set of testicles to get a New Promise Keepers up and running.  Tell them that women are welcome at the rallies, but they’ll be sitting on the other side of the room, in the Quiet Booth, and you’d triple your membership roster overnight.  Instead of “stand up straight” and “clean your room,” the new rules should be “hit the gym regularly” and “1 Pet. 3 means exactly what it says.”  And when the feminists come to protest your rallies, hand out little sample bags of kitty litter.

I bet you’d get a million people on the roster in half a year.


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10 thoughts on “Whatever Happened to the Promise Keepers?

  1. Rick

    It was my Woodstock, man. What a rush to be on the mall with a million other guys…I honestly felt the Power. I miss it.
    It was horrible, getting torn apart all the time in the press. Damn fascist scum.

    1. Severian

      That’s why it’s time to try again! Fuck the press. Seriously — they’ve destroyed their credibility, so much that everyone assumes everything they say is a lie. Let them say whatever they want; it’ll add recruits!!

      1. nightfly

        Like you’ve been saying, Sev: the human need for such things as transcendence, worship, etc. never goes away, so if a healthy outlet is unavailable, people will flock to terrible alternatives. In this particular case, it means that if men who need to be men and dedicate themselves to a great cause – a crusade, if you will – don’t find manliness and purpose in Christ, they’ll certainly be given a venomous substitute in something like Islam and the jihad.

        1. Severian

          Or, worse, Leftist politics. The first “conservative” politician with visible muscle definition who tells men to butch up, and women to shut up, will score 90% of the Millennial vote. I’m serious — Jordan Peterson with a working set of balls could be Emperor of America.

          1. Nate Winchester

            Isn’t that Trump? 😉

            Hah but seriously, part of the issue is that even discredited, the press still has a lot of power because of the power of first impressions. If I know nothing about Joe Example, but then the press releases stuff about him, that’s going to stick in my mind about poor Joe whether it’s true or false and he’ll have to work ten times as hard to get that impression out of my head.

        2. Frip

          Nightfly: “they’ll certainly be given a venomous substitute in something like Islam and the jihad.” Or they Yankees, Patriots, Packers… Seriously, this need for transcendence is a bit overstated.

          1. Severian

            We’re talking about political movements, for which the need for transcendence is vital. Political movements that lack the sense of transcendence get you…. well, Libertarianism, for one — their grand vision is Life as Wal-Mart, open 24 hours, with the Weed Department always fully stocked. This is why they only get about three cheeto-stained neckbeards to vote for them every election.

  2. Nate Winchester

    Your first link goes to dalrock’s landing page. If the post you’re talking about has moved down we won’t know the context.

  3. Frip

    The first two paragraphs were funny as hell. That preacher you linked to immediately shot into the top 10 of my People I’d Push off A Cliff if I Could Get Away With It list.

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