Ken Harrison, CEO and chairman of Promise Keepers, explains that the collapse of marriage in our feminist age is due to the failings of men in When Men Mess Up, Women and Children Suffer
What I saw in my days as a Los Angeles Police Department street cop in South Central is that almost all the problems in this world come from the pride and the greed of men.
Calling men to be men isn’t chauvinistic or somehow against women, although it is countercultural and controversial. But it is a fact that when men check out of their families, women suffer the most.
And so do their children.
Harrison has a difficult task. He has to pose as fighting against the destruction of marriage while assuring everyone involved that Promise Keepers won’t threaten the status quo. Promising to not upset the apple cart is in fact the fundamental (albeit unstated) promise of Promise Keepers. To understand why this is the case, consider the two main groups in his target audience.
The first group is modern Christian (feminist) women. They have been freed by both the church and the state from the requirement to marry or remain married to the father(s) of their children. They can (from a practical perspective) reject not only making and honoring marriage vows, but their husband’s headship over them. This is of course the egalitarian position, so conservative Christians are careful to deny that they have for all practical purposes adopted the feminist status quo. This denial is essential, as it is all that separates conservative Christians from egalitarians. Without the denial, conservative Christians would lose their identity. However, the duplicity here is obvious to outside observers, as Dr. Russell More explains in After Patriarchy, What? Why Egalitarians Are Winning the Evangelical Gender Debate (emphasis mine):
Several other recent works have challenged, convincingly, the notion that grassroots evangelicals hold to male headship at all, at least in practice. University of North Carolina sociologist Christian Smith, for instance, in his Christian America, contends that American evangelicals speak complementarian rhetoric and live egalitarian lives. Smith cites the Southern Baptist Convention’s 1998 confessional wording on male headship and wifely submission as expressive of a vast consensus within evangelicalism. But, he notes, the Baptist confession could just as easily have affirmed “mutual submission” within an equal marital partnership and have fit the views of the evangelical majority.5 This is because, Smith argues, evangelicals have integrated biblical language of headship with the prevailing cultural notions of feminism—notions which fewer and fewer evangelicals challenge…
Modern Christian leaders have to carefully signal to modern Christian women that by telling men to man up and “lead” that they don’t actually mean for husbands (and churches) to return the family to biblical roles. Promise Keepers was from the very beginning recognized by modern Christian women as an organization that tacitly supports the wife’s headship. The implicit message to wives is send us your defective husband and we’ll fix him for you. Once wives were confident that Promise Keepers didn’t threaten their dominance in the home, they ordered their husbands to attend. From the same article by Dr. Russell Moore (emphasis mine):
Likewise, in her Evangelical Identity and Gendered Family Life Oregon State University sociologist Sally Gallagher interviews evangelical men and women across the country and across the denominational spectrum and concludes that most evangelicals are “pragmatically egalitarian.”6 Evangelicals maintain headship in the sphere of ideas, but practical decisions are made in
most evangelical homes through a process of negotiation, mutual submission, and consensus. That’s what our forefathers would have called “feminism”— and our foremothers, too.
And yet Gallagher shows specifically how this dynamic plays itself out in millions of homes, often by citing interviews that almost read like self-parodies. One 35-year-old homeschooling evangelical mother in Minnesota says of the Promise Keepers movement: “I had Mike go this year. I kind of sent him. . . . I said, ‘I’m not sending you to get fixed in any area. I just want you to be encouraged because there are other Christian men out there who are your age, who want to be good dads and good husbands.’ ”7 This “complementarian” woman does not seem to recognize that she is “sending” her husband off to be with those his own age, as though she were a mother “sending” her grade-school son off to summer youth camp. Not surprisingly, this evangelical woman says she does not remember when—or whether—her pastor has ever preached on the subject of male headship.
The second group Promise Keepers has to convince that they won’t disrupt the feminist status quo is chivalrous Christian men. Like feminist Christian women, these men reject feminism in theory but in practice submit to their wives and call them lord.
H/T Nick MGTOW