|WHO ARE THE PROMISE KEEPERS?|
October 14, 1997
Other questions asked
in this forum:
How do the Promise Keepers interpret the Bible? What is the role of militarism in the organization? How do the Promise Keepers feel about homosexuality? Why did the Promise Keepers make such a national show of public prayer? What relation does the Promise Keepers have to other similar historical social movements in American History?
October 3, 1997
Our guests debate the Promise Keepers' mission on the NewsHour.
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Bill Anderson of Vancouver, WA
With society on it's present course (gangs, violence in schools, lack of many role models with character and the high price of striving to get more) what is the answer to move us toward the year 2000? WIth AIDS and homosexuallity both growing in numbers what is the answer to stop our moral decline? How is Promise Keepers helping or hurting the situation? And finally: If the Promise Keepers agenda comes to pass what will we lose and what will we as a society gain?
Jim Eckelkamp of Albuquerque, NM
As a United States of America citizen, I believe it is in my power and right to express my political views within my government. The fact that I am a Christian male and a Promise Keeper does not mean that I forfeit that right.
Why are so many people afraid of a group of people exercising their constitutional rights of free speech, expression of religion, and the right to vote? Are they afraid that their lifestyle will change?
That reasoning existed during the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement. People who where in the wrong morally didn't want to change; the same is true today. People whose lives are morally corrupt are scared that this country will return to its moral moorings. That they will have to return to the "closet."
Toby Lyles of Iowa City, IA
Do the Promise Keepers recognize that other groups and individuals have just as much a right to be on this planet as they do?
Will the Promise Keepers try to impose their idealogy on people who are outside of their life style?
Barbara Steverson of Tampa, FL
I do not understand why some groups oppose the Promise-keepers. As the wife of one of these men, I can find nothing wtong with their goals. I consider myself a feminist - and yes, my husband does consider me an equal partner. However, I had to lead him to church, I had to take the lead in our children's spiritual upbringing before my husband went to Promise-keepers. Now he helps, and I welcome that help! He is not trying to replace my contributions or override them - he is now taking equal responsibility for raising our children in the love of Christ. I would be the first to shout if he came home and said, "from now on, I am the one who will be making spiritual decisions for our family" - but that's not what it is about. He just wants to do his share, and take responsibility.
Feminist groups need to understand that equal rights are good, but we want equal help with responsibilities, too. I am tired of hearing these groups criticize Promise-keepers in the media - why doesn't anyone ask the wives of these men how we feel? Feminism and equality shouldn't push for female or male dominance in relationships - but sharing in parenting and household duties. Feminist groups: quit shooting us in the foot by complaining when men help! This is a good thing for women!
Danielle Vogel of peoria, IL
In May of this year, I was in Cinncinnati for a wedding on the same weekend as a Promise Keepers Revival. I stayed at a hotel with hundreds of men attending the final day of the Revival. I was surprised by the men's attitudes toward me and directly effected by the way I was treated by the promise Keeper attendees. I was spoken to abruptly, conversations and laughter would end when I walked by. I even had my bags knocked out of my hands by a man wearing a hand lettered Promise Keepers t-shirt. I felt this experience was more similar to mob behavior then opening your heart and mind to Christianity. Are these experiences representative of the Promise Keepers in action? Was this anti-woman behavior?
Tom Drewrys of St. Louis, MO
Why do the Promise Keepers refuse to address the topic of greed? The Bible discusses greed numerous times but the Promise Keepers never address. In fact the Promise Keepers only address a fraction of whats in the Bible. The only topics I hear the Promise Keepers discuss is sexual morality and male-female roles in society. What happened to the rest of the Bible?
Susan Thomas of Mauldin, SC
I'm not keen on mass movements to begin with, but certainly given their popularity in our culture, another such grouping is understandable. Almost every group is presumptive in some regards and it is the PromiseKeepers' reported presumption of authority from other groups who also seek such in terms of their own personal preogatives that gives me pause. How, if at all, does the PromiseKeepers recognize and acknowledge the responsibilities of others to their own self-authority, rather than just relegating them to a role the PromiseKeepers' philosophy would dictate?
Gregory L. Goff of Vermilion, Ohio
Question to Rev Anderson: Why is an organization of men that is challenging one another to do what is right considered to be a threat to folks? With the breakdown of the family -- many men not having a clue how to be good sons or fathers, how can Promise Keepers be considered demeaning to women.
I feel that any movement that challenges men or women to take responsibility for themselves, their families, their community and their country cannot be all bad. If equal treatment of women is your main concern, isn't it best that men learn to take their place beside their wives and the two move forward together? Many men relegate all duties of family to the wife, while they pursure careers, hobbies and other personal pursuits.
Joan Brausch of Midland MI
In Promise #4, it states: "A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection and biblical values." Traditional Bible values include the man being the dominant head of the household. How do you respond to women who are concerned about losing their real partnership, their voice, in the marriage when their husbands return from a Promise Keepers meeting or rally? How do you explain this Promise so that men who might have a tendency to violence or domination won't feel that this gives them the same excuse for beating wife and children as the passage in Corinthians which states that "wives, be subject to your husbands?"
Todd Huston of Columbus, Ohio
As a Christian and a father of two young children trying to raise a family in middle America, I was very interested in the concept of the PK mission. After spending about 6 months with men of PK in my church, I was disturbed at what I was experiencing. I sensed that PK for many men was becoming what Alcohol Anonymous is for the alcoholic, a replacement of one obsession with another. Many of the men in PK have replaced their "sins" of family neglect with family neglect in the name of PK. Over the past three years men in my church have traveled to not one but many of the revival meetings throughout the country. We would meet at least once a week in small groups. we would have social meetings at sporting events or other similar events. Many traveled to Washington D.C. for the PK meeting this past month. I was spending more time with the "guys" than I was with my own family. My family time is important to me and I was not about to loose my opportunity to spend time with my family so I could spend more time being with the "guys."
My question to Alice Anderson is how can an organization that promotes family be focused strictly on one half of the family structure? My experience with men involved with PK is that they still do not understand what family commitment truly means. Family to me is the interpersonal and spiritual relationship amongst spouse and children not with other men.
Richard Streeter of Santa Barbara, CA
It's one to make a promise before a bunch of guys - I've witnessed countless salesman do it at a sales meeting. As married men, why can't promise keepers (men) make the promises while holding their wives hands . . . in front of them? Promises before God are not always experienced as accepted so readily as promises made in the presence of ones spouse!
Susan Midlam of New Madison, Ohio
I want to know why people are questioning the 'why' of Promise Keepers. I say "Praise the Lord" that others are threatened, because it means this fantastic movement is being noticed.
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