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.