Sarah Posner has an entry on the Promise Keepers in her “This week in the religious right” at the American Prospect
I wandered down to the National Mall on Saturday, curious to see how the next phase of the Promise Keepers movement was faring. Ten years ago, Promise Keepers boasted that a million men descended on the Mall for its Stand in the Gap Conference. For the 10th anniversary, another group took over the organizing, and there was a much smaller turnout.
Men there told me that with the Promise Keepers organization focusing more on local events, poor turnout for a national event might be expected. But Promise Keepers and its progeny were important, one told me, because they gave men opportunities to get together and talk about “real stuff” and not just about sports.
As the speaker on the stage posthumously inducted Jerry Falwell into the Stand in the Gap Hall of Honor, another participant cheerfully explained to me how the Bible commands men to be the leaders of their families, but that they shouldn’t dominate their wives. He resorted to a sports analogy to further explain his leadership relationship to his wife. The quarterback calls all the plays, he said, but isn’t necessarily the MVP.
There is even a uniform for the team: I saw a man wearing a T-shirt that read “Property of Jesus.
Here’s a reason to be cheerful. Ten years ago, the Promise Keepers seemed like the next big thing. Now their spokesmen make excuses for their dwindling presence.
Oh, and the quarterback doesn’t necessarily call the plays. Sometimes it’s the coach. Or the offensive coordinator. Richard Nixon called in a play at least once, most notoriously for the Redskins in 1971 . They ran his play, disastrously. But then again, Richard Nixon was a man.