Updated June 20, 2023, with statements from Ken Harrison and Belmont University.
Belmont University, a private Christian college in Nashville, Tennessee, has canceled an event with Promise Keepers (PK), citing a a statement PK issued about Pride Month. Promise Keepers CEO Ken Harrison also told ChurchLeaders that the cancellation was because of that statement.
“We will not stand on the sidelines and remain quiet. As fathers, husbands, grandfathers, and young men—we see the dangers of gender ideology and the harm it causes,” said Promise Keepers in its statement. “At Promise Keepers, we believe it is more important than ever to stand up boldly for what we believe as Christians. God’s Word is very clear on this topic—and we also see the way gender ideology has damaged lives, mutilated bodies, and torn apart families in our own communities.”
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Belmont University Cancels Promise Keepers Event
Promise Keepers is a ministry based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that aims to help men live with integrity. It was founded in 1990 by football coach Bill McCartney and grew significantly, holding yearly national conferences. It peaked in 1997 when over a million men gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. While PK declined in subsequent years, nearly fading away, it recently relaunched. PK held a virtual conference in 2020 that was viewed by over 1.2 million users worldwide, and in July 2021, the ministry held its first in-person national conference in 20 years.
Harrison told ChurchLeaders that PK might return to holding large conferences in the future, but for now is focusing on its “Daring Faith” gatherings, smaller events scheduled throughout the U.S. Harrison said that part of the purpose of the Daring Faith events is to bring awareness to the Promise Keepers app, a resource to help men connect men with one another. “The isolation is really hurting men in a lot of ways,” Harrison said.
PK had planned to hold a Daring Faith event on Sept. 29 at the Fisher Center at Belmont University before the college canceled it.
The university, whose vision statement says it “exists to inspire and equip students for faithful participation in God’s mission in the world,” has wrestled with its denominational identity and stance on sexuality throughout the past few decades.
The college reports an enrollment of 7,460 undergraduates and 1,540 graduate students from every state and more than 33 countries. It counts among its alumni Corrina Grant Gill, daughter of Christian pop singer Amy Grant and country music singer Vince Gill.
In 2007, Belmont broke ties with the Tennessee Baptist Convention, settling a lawsuit that ended a 56-year relationship, after which the college moved forward as “an independent, ecumenical Christian university with no denominational ties.”
In December 2010, Belmont made national headlines when women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe parted ways with the university shortly after Howe shared with players that she and her partner, Wendy Holleman, were going to have a baby. While neither Howe nor the university gave a reason for her leaving, many perceived that the university was taking action against the soccer coach for being in a lesbian relationship.
Shout out to our alumna Corrina Grant Gill (Commercial Voice ’23) who just released her new single “Too Much” and was featured in @Southern_Living! 🤩 #ThatsOurBruin Check out the article here 👇 https://t.co/mrysNgUKcC
— Belmont University (@BelmontUniv) June 15, 2023