Sunday, April 26, 2009

David Sweet's Promise Keepers are Part of a Larger Political Movement

The man in the video above (love the Young Turks) is discussing the founder and leader of a religious organization called Focus on the Family, James Dobson. Many of Harper's Reformers belong to this organization, including Maurice Vellacott, Rob Anders and David Sweet.

Sweet is also the Canadian founder of the Promise Keepers, an offshoot of Focus on the Family.

Dobson is a prominent member of the American Religious Right and the Council for National Policy, with ties to both Stephen Harper and George Bush.

In 2005, Dobson spent thousands of dollars promoting Stephen Harper's run for the prime minister's job, by helping him make same-sex marriage a hot button issue, to lure in the Canadian Religious Right.

My point is that this is a very powerful political movement, that gets a free ride because they cry religious prosecution as soon as you criticize their actions.

I am no longer giving them a free ride.

In fact, since they have become so political, they should lose all tax breaks, since they are clearly raking in a lot of profits, and using those profits to get their candidates elected.

More on the Promise Keepers:

Since it began seven years ago as the brainchild of a college football coach named Bill McCartney, Promise Keepers has become the largest and most controversial men’s movement in the United States. Its leaders say its phenomenal growth - from a handful of men in 1990 to 2.6 million by early this year, with a separate branch in Canada - demonstrates a yearning among men for spiritual values. Its critics reply that Promise Keepers is something more sinister: a nostalgic throwback to the days of unchallenged male supremacy, or even another bid by the religious right to impose a fundamentalist agenda on American life.

" ... It is a message that inspires hundreds of thousands of men at the same time that it unsettles some mainstream clergy and drives feminist groups to distraction. The U.S. National Organization of Women says that Promise Keepers’ real message is "women taking a backseat."

A coalition of liberal clergy called Equal Partners in Faith condemns it as "divisive and potentially dangerous." And a New York City-based group called the Center for Democracy Studies warns that Promise Keepers is nothing less than the "third wave" of the religious right - after Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition. Alfred Ross, the centre’s executive director, points to close ties between Promise Keepers and such luminaries of the American religious right as Robertson and James Dobson of Focus on the Family as proof that McCartney’s movement is no spontaneous eruption.

DeMoss, its main spokesman, was an adviser to Pat Buchanan’s right-wing presidential campaign. "Promise Keepers is steeped in political ideology," argues Ross.

There is no question that McCartney’s fundamentalist message reinforces the conservative, so-called family values that are so dear to the religious right. In 1992, he campaigned in favor of an anti-gay-rights law in Colorado, at one point describing homosexuality as "an abomination against Almighty God."

But the main reason for the men-only rule goes to the heart of Promise Keepers’ most controversial belief: that men must reclaim leadership of their families, and wives should submit to their husbands.

McCartney says that is not debatable - the Bible says the man is head of the family, and that is that. Some of his associates have interpreted this in ways that ring alarm bells among many women. Tony Evans, a frequent Promise Keeper speaker, wrote in the movement’s book Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper that men should sit down with their wives, "and say something like this: 'Honey, I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’ve given you my role. I gave up leading this family. Now I must reclaim that role.' "

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