Promise Keepers Says Major Christian College Canceled Event After Ministry's Pride Month Statement
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Belmont University, a private Christian college in Nashville, Tennessee, announced last week it had canceled a scheduled event with Promise Keepers citing a conflict of values.
Promise Keepers, a noted Christian men's ministry, said in a press release the event's cancellation occurred after the ministry released a statement at the end of last month, reaffirming its support for biblical marriage between one man and one woman and what it perceives to be the dangers of gender ideology.
"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," the organization's statement said. "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."
Promise Keepers is hosting a series of events this year titled Daring Faith. Events are scheduled for Houston, Memphis, and New York City, with additional stops in other cities across the country. Belmont University was one of those scheduled stops.
The event, billed as "an event & challenge for men of integrity," had been planned for Sept. 29 at The Fisher Center before Belmont canceled it, according to churchleaders.com.
In a recent interview with the Edifi Podcast Network, Promise Keepers CEO Ken Harrison spoke about Belmont's cancellation saying his organization had a signed contract with the university and had advertised it. Then suddenly, two days before tickets were to go on sale, he received an email from the school saying, "due to recent information we realize our values don't align with your values or something to that effect so we can't do the event here."
The Promise Keepers CEO said he called a vice president at the university to get more information about why the event was canceled. He said he was told it was because of "the statement we put out a week before Pride week."
"And ironically," Harrison told the Edifi Podcast Network, "the whole event is called Daring Faith. It's about exercising a daring faith."
He also warned listeners about "Christian schools who are not teaching Christ."
"The state of Christian colleges today is really concerning and people need to know this, that Belmont is by no way unique in this way. If you go on their homepage it is all Christian this and Christian that and training people for Christ. What does that mean when you deny the basic tenets of scripture?" Harrison asked.
According to its website, Belmont currently has an enrollment of 9,000 students from every state and more than 33 countries.
In 2007, the university severed its 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," according to churchleaders.com.
However, Belmont's student newspaper Belmont Vision, published a Nashville Pride Guide on June 1, according to The Washington Times.
Based in Colorado Springs, Promise Keepers was founded in 1990 by former Colorado University football coach Bill McCartney. Since that time, the organization's rallies in stadiums and arenas have urged men to be faithful to their wives, active in their churches, and to grow in their Christian faith.
As CBN News reported last December, Promise Keepers partnered with other ministries to present a powerful online event with a team of trained experts to address the issue of pornography addiction and provide healing. The event was carried on the CBN News Channel and across all CBN News digital platforms.
CBN News reached out to Belmont University for comment. In an emailed statement, the university's Office of Communications said: "Promise Keepers recently issued a press release that incorrectly states why Belmont University decided to withdraw the campus' Fisher Center as the potential venue for an event anticipated for late September in Nashville. Belmont informed Promise Keepers leadership that the event could not be held on our campus because a blog the organization posted, 'In Light of June Being Designated as 'Pride Month,' includes comments that we believe unnecessarily fan the flames of culture wars and are harmful to members of our community."
"The Promise Keepers press release also falsely asserts that Belmont had not responded, when in fact University leaders have had multiple conversations with senior leaders at Promise Keepers, including CEO Ken Harrison. In these phone calls our reasoning was thoroughly and respectfully discussed, and we believed we reached mutual understanding," Belmont's statement continued.
"Belmont and the Fisher Center welcome the opportunity to host and work with a variety of groups that hold disparate opinions, and we encourage the exchange of dialogue. Yet as an ecumenical, Christ-centered institution we are also unequivocal in our belief in the value of each human being, and we are committed to engaging in constructive conversations that demonstrate kindness and seek understanding. We will not knowingly provide a space for any group whose language we believe to lack that same respect," the statement concluded.
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