Picketing The Promise Keepers Agenda in Sacramento, California.
September 23, 2020
by Dave Kong
American Atheists has demonstrated at every Promise Keeper stadium event
during the past few years. While these events are typically lively, the event
on September 23 at the Arco Arena in Sacramento was remarkably subdued.
California State Director for American Atheists
The demonstration brought together American Atheists members from different
affiliated groups in northern California, including San Francisco Atheists
and the Shasta Atheists and Other Freethinkers. The Sacramento Atheists and
Freethinkers, a local group, also joined the protest.
Most of the twelve atheists who came to protest the PK's theocratic and
social agenda were veteran protesters who had picketed at the previous PK
events. We were expecting the usual influx of thousands of men throughout the
morning. We were also expecting, as usual, a group of Promise Keeper men to
come talk to us, preach to us, and pray for our souls. We were quite
surprised when neither materialized.
While there was a steady stream of traffic into the arena area early in the
morning, it had dropped off around 8:30. By 9:15, it had slowed to a crawl.
During that time, while many PKs passing by acknowledged our signs with nods,
smiles and the occasional thumbs down, only one Promise Keeper stopped to
engage us in conversation. Interestingly, he was aware of the group's
political ambitions, but called that aspect of the movement "garbage."
Due to the lack of passing traffic, we decided to end the demonstration ahead
of schedule. We had an early lunch at a local Mexican restaurant, a rather
poor imitation of Taco Bell. (Some of us would have preferred something a
little higher on the food chain.)
Is the Promise Keepers movement fading? According to Christianity Today, the
Promise Keepers movement has declined from its peak in 1997. Its national
staff has been downsized from around 400 employees to approximately 90. The
organization's annual budget, previously around $100 million, has been cut to
about $30 million.
Attendance at their stadium events has also declined. However, this may be
due more to the fact that event registration is no longer free, and has
soared to $60-70 per participant. It is possible that this jump in cost
prevents the less affluent, yet still dedicated, Promise Keepers from
Also, the Christian menís movement as a whole is far from disappearing. It is
beginning to align itself more closely with the churches. Under the umbrella
of a group called the National Coalition of Menís Ministries, the Christian
menís movement is establishing itself as a permanent part of the American
In closing, I must extend a very appreciative thank you to the Sacramento
police department. In organizing the event, the local precinct chief was
very respectful and cooperative. He understood that we have a right to
peacefully voice our opinion. He trusted our ability to conduct ourselves
properly, and didnít even send a police patrol during our protest. After the
tense atmosphere at the Democratic National Convention protest, it was a
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