YOUR EDITORIAL ON Promise Keepers in the September-October 1997 Sojourners ("Danger or Opportunity?" by Duane Shank) prompted me to respond with some very strong negative feelings that I have about this increasingly popular men's organization. Although it does have some positive values, an intense objective study reveals some disturbing elements.
Since its founder, Coach Bill McCartney, is very much aligned with the Christian Coalition movement, I doubt that Promise Keepers is truly apolitical as the writer suggests. It seems that the political stance is already in place; however, it may be in very fine print, which many participants may refuse to read, or perhaps will gloss over lightly.
Considering the very pointed message that men must take charge everywhere, not just at home, but in government and all of society, this comes on loud and clear as a macho organization, where decisions should always be made by the males. It is a known fact that among practicing Promise Keepers, women are being forced to give up jobs and take a back seat in family decisions.
Another emerging danger is the friction that is arising in local congregations when loyalty to Promise Keepers takes precedence over congregational needs, both financially and timewise.
I tend to agree with the observation one study has made, that this is the third wave of the American Religious Right (preceded first by Falwell's Moral Majority and then by Robertson's Christian Coalition). Perhaps I am wrong—only time will tell. Thank goodness I am married to a man (retired United Methodist minister) who is not likely to succumb to the myths of the Promise Keepers.