The Denver Post (16/Dec/97) reports that among the recipients in Colorado of Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievement Awards (Bill Husted's column on page 2A) was the well-deserved recognition of the Promise Keepers as 'Cult of the Year.'

Section 1:
The Promise Keeper cult: Football stadiums full of knuckle-draggers.

Talk about knuckle-draggers, here's a group of lovely individuals that you're sure to love. They call themselves "Promise Keepers" and their "Christian" message is one of male domination over the female as proscribed in the Christian mythologies. Oh no, not in so many words, no. They prefer to use the words "equal partners" who aren't exactly equal. They are told to "take back authority" over the woman.

Welcome to KFI Los Angeles and Bill Handle. He has for us this morning, March 27, 1996, at 8:00 a.m. none other than the spokesman for "Promise Keepers", Steve Chavice, founder of the "men's Christian movement" which he claims began five years ago.

Claiming 600,000 members, Chavice immediately launched into a defense of the position that men are "called upon" to become the authority in the home. Using the rhetoric of "family values" and "being responsible," PK claims that while men and women are equal in the sight of the Christian deities, they are nonetheless unequal while walking the Earth. Indeed, he couldn't keep his story straight, switching back and forth between whether women are the equal of men or whether men were to be the dominate sex.

U.S.A. Today ran a cover story on the group not long ago yet listeners were not given the publication date. It seems that the group charges men $55.00 to come to baseball arenas so that they can all pray at their deities together and don't allow women into their cult. Speakers talk about how men should be responsible to their wife and children and ask their followers whether they are "being of service" to their wife. Under the guise of trying to be better husbands and fathers, they're told to "take back authority" in the home -- all for the good of the little woman.

PK tells its followers that men are the natural leaders of women. They're told that men are better able to handle responsibility yet are not doing so, preferring to sit at home and watch ball games rather than make decisions and taking the children to soccer practice.

Bill Handle asked about where all the money they rake in goes to and Chavice couldn't give a clear answer, preferring to comment vaguely upon printed materials, video tapes and arena rentals (these questions about where the money ends up has been the subject of official as well as unofficial inquiry for the past two years now. - flr) PK has set itself up as a 501(c)3 out of Boulder, Colorado and Handle continued to question where the two million dollars for a single gathering actually goes to.

Chavice claimed that women around America actually agreed with the male-domination exposed. And of course there were female callers who stated that what PK stands for is GOOD and they were quite happy with their stance. Unfortunately Handle didn't point out that oppressed women would naturally either express agreement for their roles else they would keep their mouths tightly shut least their true opinions on the matter get them beaten.

PK is a fundamentalist cult which believes that the current version of the Christian mythologies are the inerrant word of their deities. Handle pointed out that adulteress are supposed to be stoned to death according to the myths and asked Chavice whether he would do so. Chavice didn't refuse to answer the question outright yet claimed he would talk to his wife about where he went wrong and try to settle the problem that way. When Handle pointed out that he was picking and choosing which bits of the Christian mythologies to abide by, Chavice had no comment.

Handle pressed the point by showing how the Christian mythologies can be and have been interpreted to support slavery and Chavice stated that he didn't want to discuss the subject any more.

Unfortunately, Handle was loosing the ground he acquired early on in the discussion and he made a fatal mistake by bringing on the air a fundi Rabbi. The Rabbi told listeners that the PK were really a sick bunch who were using their brand of religion in a negative way. Handle then demanded that the fundi Rabbi's group won't allow women having their period within 100 feet of their temples and pointed out that _his_ group was even worse than PK. Handle then ran out of time and didn't allow the Rabbi to respond, instead he gave Chavice the chance to offer the last word.

The real horror here, after one hour of this, was not the fact that the Christian cult has spawned a new anti-women spin-off, the real horror here is that subservient women actually agreed with the dictates of their male masters.

Section 2:
How's this for the height of evil?

The Institute for First Amendment Studies reports that the Promise Keepers cult "plan to state a million man prayer rally in Washington, DC next fall. According to Cincinnati pastor Lee Crossfield, the plan is to bring a million white male Christians to Washington to repent the sin of racism. When asked if they planned to bring a million men to San Francisco next year to repent the sin of gay bashing, Crossfield replied, `Homosexuality is a sin.'"

Can you imagine anything more evil than that? Knowing that they are a bunch of racist, homophobic, anti-women bigots, they seek to head-off their critics who will point out the lack of blacks among their cult by "apologizing" for being racist bigots!

Amazing. And millions of Christians will buy it, of course, just as they continue to buy Jim Bakker, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, David Duke, and Jimmy Swaggart.

Then when confronted with the absurdity of their hatred and bigotry, the cult makes it worse for themselves by glib, hate-filled, bigoted remarks.

Section 3:
David Rice talks with a typical Promise Keeper Neanderthal

By: David Rice (shy.david@edenbbs.com)

To: Jim Staal
Re: 72,000 male saints[sic]

Jim Staal:
(with the exception of this past one when I gathered with 72,000 other male saints[sic]

David Rice:
The "gathering" in question was the "Promise Keepers" cult.

Jim Staal:
No cult, David, just a gathering of Christian men

David Rice:
In other words, a cult.

Jim Staal:
who were exhorted on how to Biblically treat women, children, each other, God and themselves.

David Rice:
Ah, yes. The Bible: the Christian's Mein Kampf. Claiming to be "exhorted" on how to treat women and children based upon the Bible is like being "exhorted" on how to treat Jews based upon Mein Kampf.

Disgusting. Morally repugnant. Even evil!

Women were not allowed, and men brought little boys along as "company." Three men I work near were talking about it: two of them went. They called it a "Christian" meeting, though I suspect Jesus would have been horrified and aPauled at their unimaginable hatred of women.

The cult was born in insecurity, and nurtured in fear and dread. Cult members do not want women to have equal status in society, and they use their occult beliefs (Bible, God) as an excuse to oppose women's equal access in society.

Think of the "Promise Keepers" cult as the Ku Klux Klan (which is yet another Christian cult) equivalent against women.

Jim Staal:
For a dude who deals in alleged facts, you couldn't have proven[sic] yourself more ignorant on this one.

David Rice:
I listened to two Christians that were there. They were proudly boasting about "learning" how to oppress and persecute women in the name of their god--- the "promise" they are "keeping" is one-sided: the women and children in question have no say in the matter. If they =DID= have a say in the matter, they'd tell you where to shove said "promises."

Jim Staal:
When I get the audio tape of the various speakers, I will lend it to you,

David Rice:
I could just as well call Time/Life and get their tapes of Hitler's "promises."

Jim Staal:
and you will see how far afield you are on this one, David. Say hello to the two dudes who went (musta been last year, as the first one of this year was two weeks ago in Michigan) for me.

David Rice:
No, the individuals in question were just a day or two back from the k\l\a\n\ I mean cult's gathering. They brought their male children and left the females at home. While at the cult gathering the men were ordered to turn to their male children and "promise" them a future of terrorism, intimidation, hate, and oppression against women--- all manufactured by your cult's interpretation of Saul of Tarsus's interpretation of women-hating, long dead ignorant Hebrews. All of which the two evil bastards in question BOASTED about.

Section 4:
What do official Promise Keeper Neanderthals say about oppressing women?

"I am not suggesting that you ask [your wife] for your role back;
I am urging that you take it back...  there can be no compromise here.
Treat the lady gently and lovingly.  But lead." - Tony Evans,

Karen Grasse - grasse@pobox.upenn.edu

This says to me "lead by taking something without asking and lead without compromising on anything." To not ask for something from another person and take it without their agreement sounds to me like using power to dominate another person. If there "can be no compromise" what kind of relationship is that between two people? It sounds to me like permission to use authoritative control to make a person do what you want, without any respect of that individual as a human being who has thoughts or feelings. This is not the way I would want to be treated by anybody, either male or female, and I don't know of anyone else who likes to be treated this way.

Forget the gender issue for a moment -- these kind of teachings sound very innocent on the front end, but they preclude attitudes of doing things to other people without their permission, treating another person as an object, a "thing," using force to get what the other person won't give them, and yes, maybe using violence if they need to meet a teacher's command to "take it back."

In Christianity, I've experienced "leadership" attitudes from men that has been of the dominating perspective than of the understanding guidance perspective. I know many men who have taken "Christian" teachings and used them as their God-given authority to "keep a woman in her place" and maintain their male-leadership role. They refuse to let their wives get a job, to go to college, have her own friends, dress the way she wants to, etc. They want to control a person in order to be the "leader." And guess what a lot of Christian men do when their wives won't do what they tell them to -- a little verbal hollering, a few slaps, a little hitting, to show them who's in charge because God said so in the Bible.

The Promise Keeper philosophy sounds harmless on the front end but indicates oppression of another person is okay in order to practice the teachings. As Lucie Johnson has pointed out, the teachings indicate "reclaim your leadership EVEN if the other person is opposed."

To dominate another person is a form of abuse. To me the teachings sound like they espouse dominating another person and they carry the lack of respect for another human being. I have nothing against gatherings of men only or women only, as long as they aren't intended (consciously or subconsciously) to discriminate against others. Robert Bly gets men together all the time.

I hope that the men who attend Promise Keepers can learn about being a responsible person in any relationship.

Section 5:
And what about the males among us without male insecurity?

Dick Williams

Michael, I'm not so sure that Jesus ever taught that men (or anyone else) should take "leadership" (Fuhrerheit) and dedicate their lives to leading everyone else around.

"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." I would rather submit to the leadership of a loving and caring woman, than to any power-hungry male -- like McCartney at CU-Boulder. He has become the laughing-stock of the campus and has earned it! A true leader knows how to follow, to discern, and change his mind, modify his vision with new information and gentle persuasion. McCartney has none of those gifts. Like many a fundamentalist, "He just knows the Truth and his version of the truth has made him overbearing." We who live and work here know.

Now, I respect and appreciate the testimonies of many who have said the Promise Keepers has given them a new vision, has helped them turn away from alcohol, drugs and/or abuse. Great! Now, the next step is for them to respect the gentle folk who have been following Christ all along and have a gentler and more loving view of their faith. I have heard so-called promise keepers ridiculing some of the Friends(Quakers) in Boulder, calling them "draft-dodgers" and "leftist wimps." This is the aspect of the authoritarian based movement that disturbs me!

Section 6:
Of course the popular press has much to say about the cult's leaders

    [Here's a short newspaper article about the Promise Keeper cult.  Pay
    special attention to the typical Religious Reich hate rhetoric of the
    cult leaders which society is subjected to in ever-heavier doses these
    days, and note the typical need to justify one's hatred using deity
    constructs and demonization of innocent "outgroups."

Like Adolf Hitler pointing at vague, undefined Jews and Gypsies, these Promise Keeper cultists point at homosexuals and vague, undefined "falling morality" to excuse their hatred and bigotry -- all of which is motivated by nothing more nobel than greed. - flr]

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- The football stadium at the University of Colorado is sold out for tonight's event, and it has nothing to do with football. It's 52,000 Christian men, committing themselves to God (sic) and their communities.

The gathering is sponsored by Promise Keepers, a group that preaches what it calls a traditional Christian message: opposing abortion, encouraging sexual purity [1] and proclaiming that the man is the leader of the home.

Critics say the group preaches hate.

``It certainly isn't an appealing message by normal societal standards,'' acknowledged Promise Keepers spokesman Kevin Skattum. ``Without hesitation, we'll call sin what it is. We certainly realize that all men and women are sinners.'' [2]

The group was founded four years ago by Bill McCartney, coach of the Colorado football team. He came up with the idea during a car trip with his friend Dave Wardell.

``I can see stadiums full of men, Christian men coming together to worship,'' Wardell said McCartney told him. [3]

``I said, `Sounds good to me coach, how are we going to do this?' McCartney said, `I have no idea but I do know one thing: we can pray.'''

Four years later, the prayers have been answered. [4] Conference attendance has jumped from 72 for the group's first conference to 62,800 for a two-day gathering in Indianapolis last month.

The group says it has a full-time staff of nearly 100 and an annual budget of $3 million. It plans to add more regional conferences next year and expects to have 1 million men converge on Washington, D.C., in 1996. [5]

``You've seen the downward spiral of morality in this nation,'' said McCartney, Colorado's coach since 1982. ``It can all be traced to an absence of Almighty God. Men of integrity -- promise keepers -- are what's going to turn this thing around.'' [6]

McCartney attributes the group's growth to ``the favor of the Lord.'' Others see a less heavenly force at work.

The National Organization for Women is sponsoring a ``Celebration of Diversity'' in Boulder on Friday and Saturday to provide an alternative to the Promise Keepers rally.

Elaine Cook of Boulder, a long-time civil rights activist, thinks the group is advancing a conservative political agenda. Mary Celeste of the Colorado Legal Initiatives Project said the group wants to subjugate women and discriminates against homosexuals.

McCartney has been criticized for calling on Promise Keepers to ``take the nation for Jesus Christ'' and for describing homosexuality as ``an abomination to Almighty God.''

He made the comment about homosexuality while standing in front of a University of Colorado logo, earning a reprimand from school President Judith Albino.

Wardell said the criticism aimed at McCartney sometimes goes over the top.

``Kids on campus spit at him, flip him the bird, swear at him,'' he said. ``People look at him as some sort of a right-wing fundamentalist bigot.'' [7]

[1] - "Sexual purity."  Is that what homophobic hatred and
      bigotry is being called these days?

[2] - The single most deadly occult ideology ever created by men. The ability to pretend that the group they're demonizing is "sinning" has allowed these Christian bigots to justify their slaughter of millions of innocent people. In actual fact only Christians are capable of "sin" since "sin" is a Christian belief!

[3] - "I can see tens of millions of tax-free dollars we can steal from hundreds of thousands of gullible men who want to feel good about their oppression of women and fags."

[4] - In actuality scientific testing shows that thinking at deity constructs simply doesn't work. In actual fact what the cult did was start spreading hate rhetoric that Christian men already accepted.

[5] - No one knows where the revenues of the cult goes. Attempts to get an honest answer out of the cult have met with sullen and resentful accusations as well as total stony silence.

[6] - Adolf Hitler said it better.

[7] - Now where would people get that idea?

Section 7:
The Promise Keeper cult is just about oppression and hatred

P.G. Springer - hloosn8@firefly.prairienet.org

Why do I keep reading these letters in the Gospel Herald that seem to echo sentiments heard from the "pulpit" of the Republican convention?

Why was it that the last time I went to church I heard homosexuals condemned from the pulpit and, again, in the Sunday School class I attended?

Didn't some people just get shot and killed in Florida?

Didn't my lesbian friend's tires just get slashed as she passed through this town? Isn't she continuously threatened with violence because of the way she looks?

Why are groups of men gathering together in football stadiums to regain their authority, bonding against homosexuals?

Meanwhile, Caleb and Wolf ponder theoretically: "Does the Christian right really advocate violence and hate? Or, maybe it's just a few individuals who take the words of the Christian right literally. And maybe those people killed and threatened really deserve such things in their lives because they're sinners. How lamentable. We really do love them. If only..."

There are many ways to express hate and violence. Pulling the trigger is just the tip of an iceberg that plows steadily through and wreaks destruction, hate, and death.

Section 8:
Women are routinely assaulted by Promise Keeper cultists

Originally published in the Boulder Daily Camera in 1992

Date: 22 Jul 1994 11:04:20 UTC
From: "Mills Mike" <

They're HEE--EERE. It's hard to believe, but it's once again time for Coach Bill McCartney's annual Christian invasion of Boulder. If you thought living and driving in Boulder was hectic enough this summer, wait until 52,000 red-hot-for-Jesus men descend on our town.

But while some Boulderites see the Promise Keepers as a mere inconvenience for a few days, many of us are alarmed by the very purpose and message of this conference.

Two and a half years ago McCartney used a University podium to promote Colorado for Family Values' Amendment 2, declaring, "Homosexuality is an abomination of almighty God." Homosexuals, McCartney reasoned, are "a group of people that don't reproduce. Yet they want to be compared to groups that do reproduce."

It is difficult to overstate the hurt and anger that this limited view of humanity sent through campus and the city. McCartney had previously aired his strong opposition to a woman's right to choose.

Now he was going a step further -- condemning whole segments of society who do not conform to his ideals, with the express purpose of denying them their civil rights.

That summer, Boulder residents were introduced to the Promise Keepers -- Bill McCartney's answer to feminism. Promise Keepers was created to validate and promote the notion that the man is the head of his household, and his wife subservient. Says the wife of Promise Keepers President Randy Phillips, "Randy has the final word, but I honor him."

Much of what the Promise Keepers say about women's rights echoes the words of Reverend Jerry Falwell, who said, "I listen to the feminists and all these radical gals -- most of them are failures.... They married some Caspar Milquetoast who asked permission to go to the bathroom. These women just need a man in the house. That's all they need... a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead the home."

One issue of the Promise Keepers' newsletter contains an article by a man whose wife refused to make him a sandwich while he watched TV. She said he was not appreciative when she did make him sandwiches. The author learned his lesson and passed it on: spoon your wife compliments from time to time, and she will continue to serve you.

But as many Boulder women have learned in previous years' conferences, the Promise Keepers have not yet learned to extend this level of courtesy to women who don't make them sandwiches. Several single women living in CU Family Housing complained that they were afraid to go outside during last year's conference, while many who did were subjected to jeers, catcalls, and unwelcome serenades of "There she goes just a-walkin down the street." One female biker was surrounded by Promise Keepers, preventing her from leaving the bike path while they made rude comments to her, one calling her a "moron."

The Promise Keepers are part of the Religious Right's movement to eliminate from society that which does not conform to their ideals. At last year's conference, McCartney declared "What you are about to hear is God's word to the men of this nation. We are going to war as of tonight. We have divine power -- that is our weapon. We will not compromise. Wherever truth is at risk, in the schools or legislature, we are going to contend for it. We will win."

One of McCartney's leading allies in this spiritual war, Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council, concurs: "We are engaged in a social, political, and cultural war. There's a lot of talk in America about pluralism. But the bottom line is somebody's values will prevail. And the winner gets the right to teach our children what to believe."

More to the point, Kevin Tebedo, Executive Director of CFV, asked earlier this month, "Where are you homosexuals going to go when we win?"

Even as they reach out to convert and homogenize people of color, the people behind Promise Keepers cannot hide their racism. In a mean-spirited attack on Colorado's Latino and Chicano communities, Tebedo's mother, State Senator Maryanne Tebedo, sponsored an amendment to the Colorado Constitution which made English the "official language."

Colorado Springs' Focus on the Family tells us that Native Americans teach their children""voodoo and witchcraft." Phylis Schlafly's Eagle Forum adds, "Many years ago Christian pioneers had to fight savage Indians. Today missionaries of these former cultures are being sent via the public schools to heathenize our children."

Kevin Tebedo himself has said that, "Amendment 2 is not about homosexuality," specifically telling reporters that he favors legal discrimination based on race, gender, and religion as well.

Defending CFV, Colorado Springs pastor Bernhard Kuiper adds, "It should be made clear that in order to live a Christian life, any Christian must be able to discriminate and hate, because that's what the bible says."

We, the people of Boulder, do not subscribe to the sexism, homophobia, religious bigotry, and racial and cultural supremacy espoused by the Promise Keepers. We believe that our country shows its best when it is inclusive, not exclusive; pluralistic, not theocratic; diverse, not homogeneous. With great concern about the dangers of the messages espoused by McCartney the Promise Keepers, we are sponsoring a Celebration of Diversity this Saturday, July 30th, 1992, starting at noon at the Trumbo Fountain, behind the University Memorial Center on the CU Boulder campus.

From there we will march to the lawn of the Boulder Public Library, where our stage will feature music, speeches, and entertainment celebrating difference in our community. Speakers will include poet Allen Ginsberg, Latin-America activist Ellen Klaver, Native American Sage Douglas Remington, Naropa's Anne Waldman, and many, many more. We invite everyone to join us in showing that the true promise of our country lies not in spiritual war, division, and intolerance, but in diversity, inclusion, and liberation.


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