As I’ve been pointing out, the conservative Christian response to feminism has been to pretend that feminists aren’t really in the final mopping up stages in the culture war and assert instead that what we are experiencing is a sudden and mysterious change in men. There is no feminist rebellion, just weak men screwing feminism up.
As yet one more example, here is a quote of Pastor Tony Evans* from 1994. W. Bradford Wilcox explains** that Evans gave versions of this speech to Promise Keepers events around the country (emphasis mine):
The primary cause of this national crisis, that is the decline of the family, is the feminization of the American male. The first thing you need to do is sit down with your wife and say something like this: “Honey, I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’ve given you my role. I gave up leading this family, and I forced you to take my place. Now I must reclaim that role. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying here. I’m not suggesting that you ask to be given your role back. I’m urging you to take it back.”
If you simply ask for it, your wife is likely to say: “Look, the last ten years I’ve had to raise these kids, look after the house and pay the bills. I’ve had to do my job and yours. You think I’m just going to turn everything back over to you?”
Your wife’s concerns might be justified. Unfortunately, however, there can be no compromise here. Treat the lady gently and lovingly, but lead. To you ladies who may be reading this, give it back. For the sake of your family and the survival of our culture, let your man be a man if he’s willing.
Evans is unusual in that he is telling men to take back the leadership. But his simultaneous complete denial of the feminist rebellion is breathtaking. Here he is chastising men to show courage when he is too afraid to say what is actually going on.
As Jennifer A Marshal explains in the same piece, feminists were protesting Promise Keepers as a threat to the new model they had worked so hard to achieve:
This gathering alarmed feminists at groups like the National Organization for Women. Patricia Ireland, who was the president of that group at that time, accused Promise Keepers of being promoters of “a feel-good forum of male supremacy intent on keeping women in the back seat.” Some feminist activists even gathered outside of Union Station to heckle the men arriving at the rally. They taunted, jeered, and even threatened to disrobe themselves.
The attendees passed a throng of feminists eager to guard their hard fought progress to get into the event. Many of the men went because their wives ordered them to go. But once inside everyone pretended that there was no feminist revolution, men just somehow became passive, and this forced the poor wives to grasp for power. To think otherwise was too terrifying. This is nonsense on stilts, akin to the fantasy land claim that cowardly men are forcing women to reluctantly elbow their way into combat roles– while feminists publicly celebrate their victory.
*Many of my readers will recognize Pastor Evans’ daughter Priscilla Shirer, the women’s preacher and star of the movie War Room.