NGLTF Statement On Promise Keepers

June 13, 1997

The following statement on Promise Keepers is attributable to Kerry Lobel, Executive Director of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. It was delivered this morning, Friday June 13, 1997, at a press conference called to expose the hidden agenda of the Promise Keepers movement as they gather at Washington's RFK stadium this weekend. The press conference was hosted by the National Organization for Women and was attended by representatives of: NOW, NGLTF, National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum, Church Women United, Equal Partners in Faith, National Network Against Domestic Violence, Feminist Majority Foundation and the Center for Democracy Studies.

Statement on Promise Keepers by Kerry Lobel, executive director, NGLTF

As Promise Keepers gathers in Washington this weekend, it is important that all people who care about social justice be aware of the true agenda behind their words.

This is a movement that bills itself as a non-political opportunity for Christian men to live their lives by biblical values and to affirm their commitment to God and their families. In fact, however, Promise Keepers and their leadership are closely linked to right wing organizing in this country, and through its network of stadium events and small groups, is growing faster than the Christian Coalition. The larger agenda behind Promise Keepers and its leaders is of grave concern to all who care about equality and social justice.

The Promise Keepers' outwardly wholesome appearance of male bonding and family responsibility is a cover for a strong anti-woman/male dominating message that invalidates the worth and dignity of women and of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. Their pledge to strengthen families scapegoats women and gay people, blaming them for the collapse of family and community. Their pledge of "racial reconciliation" rings hollow without a commitment to overcoming institutional racism.

Promise Keepers founder Bill McCartney has gained national notoriety for his anti-gay rhetoric. McCartney has said that "homosexuality is an abomination of Almighty God," that gay people are "curable," are "a group of people who don't reproduce, yet want to be compared to people who do reproduce," and "a lifestyle doesn't entitle anyone to special rights." The Promise Keepers' literature itself reads, "homosexuality violates God's creative design for a husband and a wife and is a sin." Justice-seeking people will not stand by and let this bigotry go unchallenged.

If Promise Keepers has their way, they will lead us into the 21st century as a Christian nation of men dedicated to perpetuating racial and gender oppression and homophobia. No matter what they claim, their leaders have a highly political agenda that would turn back the clock. Our country must move into the future guided on the principles of religious and political pluralism, freedom, and equality.


For more information on Promise Keepers, please contact NGLTF Field Organizer Betsy Gressler at


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.