Brad Stine’s “GodMen”: Promise Keepers on Steroids

Christian music brings in big-time money; the release, and subsequent box office successes of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, has made Hollywood sit up and take notice. There are Christian dating services, Christian investment companies, Christian real estate brokers, a Christian MySpace, Christian comic strips, Christian bloggers and even Christian comedians.

And, there are many Christian men’s groups.

How about a Christian men’s group headed by a conservative Christian comedian?

He’s a raunchy, raw Republican devoted to stamping out “political correctness,” and he’s got the chutzpah to claim on his website that he’s “America’s favorite conservative comedian” (quiet as it might be kept, there are a number of other conservative comedians out there). In 2004, he performed for “R: the Party,” an event hosted by Jenna and Barbara Bush during the Republican National Convention in New York City.

Brad Stine is a Christian comedian who heads up “GodMen,” a ministry that encourages men to let their manhood hang out.

In 2004, Stine told the Fox News Channel that he was “a conservative comedian — one of two known to exist in the Western hemisphere. I’m very pro-America, very patriotic. I use my time on stage to say how great the country is as opposed to saying how bad it is.”

According to OneNewsNow, a news service sponsored by the American Family Association, Stine, who is an oft-featured speaker at Promise Keeper conferences, “states he is on a ‘mission’ to free his fellow Christians from ‘the chains of political correctness.'” “In a country with guaranteed rights to freedom of religion, its citizens are constantly trying to make faith in public spheres illegal. I am offended by that contradiction and want to talk about it as a comic,” Stine told OneNewsNow.

Stine, born and raised in Bremen, Indiana, founded “GodMen” in 2006 and has since held events called “GodMen” conferences in Nashville and Franklin Tenn. They are designed to be “absolutely honest and unconstrained in dealing with the real and difficult issues men face daily that are not being addressed in church,” states the website. Issues, according to Stine, that would be less likely to be addressed at a Promise Keepers event.

“We are a little bit more raw about how we approach some of these subjects,” Stine explained. “We also are really trying to find this unity of our faith that can be maintained in the community as we leave — that you’re the tribe of Daytona or of Des Moines or wherever it is that we happen to be.”

Getting men to ‘act like men’

Stine’s “GodMen” conferences aim to get men to “act like men”: According to OneNewsNow, “Stine argues that many men are tired of what he calls a ‘sugar-coated and watered-down’ Christianity. To counter that, he says, the one-day ‘GodMen’ events challenge men to embrace the full character of Christ. He cites the example of what he describes as the ‘table-tipping Jesus.'”

“[That's] the strong Jesus that really deals with masculinity, [an aspect] that men are oftentimes not taught,” Stine explained. “We’re taught one side of Jesus. He was merciful and gracious and loving and sweet and kind — and he was all those things, and we don’t deny that; we need that desperately. But there was a table-tipping Jesus,” he continues. “There was a time when the season was more aggressive and that you were allowed to be angry and sin not.”

Paul Coughlin, the author of No More Christian Nice Guy and a keynote speaker at a GodMen event in Nashville, Tennessee last year said, “I believe that being a guy is a reason to be proud — not a problem to be fixed. Unfortunately, most Christian men have been ordered to emulate ‘Gentle Jesus Meek ands Mild,’ a false caricature of Christ that has robbed the church of its vital masculine energy.”

At TheNewsBeasts.com — “News-Commentary-Research/From a Christian Perspective” — David Dansker writes: “In response to the feminization of churches a new men’s movement has been gaining brawn … Founder Brad Stine explains that a goal of GodMen is to produce ‘a man who believes in honesty and integrity and strength and leadership and the knight in shinning armor.'”

GodMen is “a place where men can discuss real issues such as passivity, isolation, and pornography ‘in a safe environment.’ The events, which include worship, have powerful sound systems and huge video screens showing he-man videos like martial arts displays and car chases.”

‘Cartoonish distortion of masculinity,’ says Al Mohler

In a December 2006 piece commenting on the “GodMen” movement, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary — the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world — wrote that “The Christian church is experiencing a crisis with men… The church has been feminized in style and the manly virtues are depreciated. Christianity — a faith predicated on truths for which brave men were willing to die — has been transformed into a spirituality of mere feeling.”

In many liberal Protestant churches the pews are filled with females, many of them aging. Sermons are vapid and boring. Feminist ideologies have taken hold and the context is ideologically hostile to the XY chromosome. Men stay away and boys see the church as something men avoid.

While Mohler believes that “Christian men need … a robust and challenging theology of manhood,” he is critical of the “profanity-fest of adolescent immaturity.” “The movement is largely correct in its identification of contemporary Christianity as feminized and feminine. The problem is their apparent adoption of a cartoonish distortion of masculinity as the answer.”

“Wussification”

Given Stine’s mission it is no coincidence that his new CD is called “Wussification.” Stine states, “The wussification of America is killing us by teaching us to censor ourselves from what we believe. That’s why I want to see political correctness die in my lifetime, but first…I want to watch it suffer.”

Recorded live at The Clarion at Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, TX., his website describes the CD as “a no-holds-barred laugh riot that attacks political correctness at every turn. From lambasting witches for being over-sensitive to Brad’s frustration with Christianity’s own form of political correctness, Stine once again infuses his one of a kind style of comedy with equal inspiration for his Christian tribe in an album that is guaranteed to become a classic.”

One of his DVDs, “Put a Helmet On” was taped during a live performance at the late Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church, in Lynchburg, Va, in January, 2003.

According to the bio on his website, the comedian “models his approach to comedy after legendary practitioners that he has known and loved over the years,” including George Carlin. “I always enjoyed Carlin for turning the tables on culture. He is an excellent writer that has endured for decades.” Other comedic “touchstones” include Brian Reagan, Paula Poundstone, Jim Gaffigan and Monty Python.

Stine has appeared on several stand-up comedy shows including A&E’s Evening at the Improv and MTV’s Half Hour Comedy Hour, and has been a guest on a number of news programs including FOX News’ Hannity & Colmes, CNN’s Paula Zahn NOW and Glenn Beck, and the NBC Nightly News. He has also been interviewed on National Public Radio and has been featured on FOXNews.com and in Newsweek, the New Yorker, USA Today, and several other newspapers nationwide.

Bill Berkowitz is a longtime observer of the conservative movement. His column, "Conservative Watch," documents the strategies, players, institutions, victories and defeats of the American Right. Read other articles by Bill, or visit Bill's website.

4 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Deadbeat said on December 27th, 2007 at 12:09pm #

    Why is there a category labeled “Right Wing Jerks” when there are a lot of “jerks” on the “left”? The reason why Mr. Berkowitz can write about these “GodMen” is primarily due to a real issue that is not addressed issue by the left. Many men, especially after divorce, feel alienated and these right wing outfits are there to capture them when they feel lost and discarded.

    The left unfortunately ridicule these men, typically as “sexist” when there is no critical analysis about feminism. Feminism has manifested itself with its alignment to capitalism and rhetorically justifies extending the exploitation men under this system as a corrective to “patriarchy”.

    For the exception of Sharon Smith excellent book “Women and Socialism” there has been only silence and ridicule from the left on this issue. Once again a vacuum that should be filled by the left is being filled by the right.

  2. deang said on December 27th, 2007 at 7:18pm #

    It’s bizarre that in this era of massive Christian movements in the US claiming that Jesus was a warrior who would want us to bomb other countries to smithereens in order to bring on Armageddon, when Christian parents proudly proclaim that they impose harsh corporal punishment on their kids and insist that wives be subordinate to their husbands, when Christians bomb abortion clinics, kill doctors who perform abortions, and assault homosexuals, when the air force is filled with aggressively evangelical Christians who love the idea of slaughtering masses of people from the air, when all this is going on, Christian men still feel they’re not being allowed to be aggressive enough, dominant enough, violent enough. Sick. Yes, the left needs to be aware of all this, but they need to do so while realizing that the twisted definitions of masculinity that lead to this behavior must not be emulated. Strength is called for, not delusion and sociopathy.

  3. Deadbeat said on December 27th, 2007 at 11:45pm #

    It is not as bizarre as you think. The rise of the Christian Zionist advances the support for Zionism its overall influence within the United States. Again the left has assisted in creating the vacuum that is being filled by the right. Many of these men are rather confused and distraught and since there are no obvious left-wing/secular organizations to address these men the Christian organizations fills that gap.

    Unfortunately to everyone’s peril the left has primarily addressed this problem with contempt.

  4. NorEaster said on January 1st, 2008 at 12:02pm #

    Like any zit that continues to grow and become ever more obvious and painful, this latest version of Christianity will one day “come to a head” and be popped, just as all other forms of social deviancy have in the past. Authoritarians have manifested in many ways over the centuries and this is just the latest manifestation for this society.

    These Xtians are no more Christian than the last manifestation of authoritarianism in Germany during the 30s of last century. The fundamental essence of the movement is so completely un-Christian that it’s remarkable that it hasn’t been exposed for the charade it is by now. Then again, most people rarely pay close attention to anything that isn’t directly affecting them at that specific moment, and all the market collateral associated with the movement (family values, praising Jesus, church attendance, ongoing condemnation of just about everything tagged as progressive) has been carefully managed and aggressively promoted. Most people don’t even notice the absence of compassion and simple moral decency in the movement. I guess most Americans feel that they deserve the punitive aspects of that good old time religion, and forget that Christianity is actually about forgiveness and reaching out to your enemies with love and compassion.

    Whatever. It’ll all go down in flames in the end anyway. Nothing really changes. It just revolves back around again eventually wearing a new veneer.