Promise Keepers Rally Draws Protests

NOW Plans Counter-Rally At Greek Theatre

KHBS News/June 2, 2005

Fayetteville, AK -- Organizers of a national faith-based organization claim that they teach men to be better husbands, fathers and professionals -- but a national women's group questioned Wednesday whether that message is accurate.

Next weekend, the Promise Keepers men's organization will hold a rally at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. The national group will be visiting Fayetteville for the first time since the 1990s, and city leaders have said that they are excited about the economic boost the event is expected to bring to the area.

During their Wednesday night prayer meeting, a number of male members at University Baptist Church in Fayetteville told 40/29 that they are also excited about the event. Church member Mark Cloud said he expects the June 11 rally to make him a better person in many ways.

"It'll be exciting," Cloud said. "It's something I've never experienced, and I expect it to be a life-changing experience."

But some groups, such as the National Organization for Women, don't share Cloud's enthusiasm.

NOW spokeswoman Melanie Dietzel said she believes the message that the Promise Keepers have been spreading for 15 years is one that asserts absolute power for husbands at the expense of their wives.

"The Promise Keepers' message is a patriarchal message that the husband will be the leader, the wife will be the follower (and) he will make the decisions," Dietzel said.

While the Promise Keepers meet at Razorback Stadium, NOW members will hold an equality rally at Fayetteville's Greek Theatre as an alternative to the event.

About 20,000 men are expected to travel to Northwest Arkansas to attend the Promise Keepers rally.

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