"Promise Keepers" Find Politics -- Realize They Had It All Along

The mid-'90s evangelical men's group Promise Keepers is attempting to come back from its downward slide by transforming itself from a movement to a mission, according to the April 29 Denver Post. Dr. Tom Fortson, the new PK president, expressed concern about what he sees as "society's decaying moral values," as evidenced by the increasing acceptance of abortion, same-sex relationships and pornography.

Although Fortson is presenting the new focus on controversial social issues as a change for the group, critics have long said that Promise Keepers has a political agenda. In 1996, Charles Colson used the pulpit at one event to praise Republican candidates and Justice Antonin Scalia. "Thank God," Colson said, "Christian men like this are in politics." The group was officially non-political, but gathering thousands of religiously conservative men into athletic arenas created a valuable recruiting ground for Religious Right activists. Fortson's declaration only brings out in the open what critics have known about the Promise Keepers from the beginning: they are just another wing of the Religious Right.

PK has 100 employees and a $27-million budget. The group is planning 18 rallies around the country this year.