Belmont University Cancels Promise Keepers Event Over Biblical Stand On Gender Identity and Marriage

“Mommy, the Christians are fighting again.”

The culture wars are at an all-time high with no signs of a slowdown in the near future. Identity-based anything seems to be at the front lines of this war, pertinent to this editorial is gender identity/transgenderism. When I saw today that a prominent and leading Christian college disinvited one of the nation’s longest-running Christian men’s conferences over their affirmation of Biblical definitions of gender and marriage, I was pretty shocked.

And then I wasn’t.

It was just one more headline illustrating the decline of a Biblical worldview that even our religious institutions are not immune from. Whether intentional or not, some religious institutions are lining up on the world’s side of the battle lines as they seed confusion and silence conversation around the things that culture has declared war on.

On the eve of pride month, Promise Keepers, founded in 1990 and impacting the lives of millions of men every year through its national conferences, posted to their Instagram channel a series of affirmations backed by scripture. These statements read that “gender ideology is an idol of our culture and that, as sin, it is poisonous (Proverbs 14:12)” and that “marriage is designed by God to be for one man, and one woman (Mark 10:6-9).” Those two statements were bookmarked between other affirming quotes that “true life and joy are found when we reject sin, (Romans 6:6),” that “Jesus, the son of God, will forgive our sins if we repent (1 John 1:9),” and that “the path of following Jesus Christ is difficult and countercultural, but it is the path of life (Psalm 16:11).”

Super controversial and stunning stuff right there. At least for 2023.

Weeks later, Promise Keepers received news from Belmont University that their “Daring Faith” conference scheduled at their campus in Nashville, TN was canceled. Belmont representatives cited a conflict in values and provided no additional statement as of press time. 
 
Surprised by the decision, Promise Keepers Chairman of the Board and CEO, Ken Harrison reached out to Belmont leadership for a broader conversation about the influence of social norms and popular culture on the values of Christian Institutions. Promise Keepers is still waiting for a response.

Add me to that list. 

While free speech is widely considered to be a fundamental part of our society, at least on the surface, I’m continually baffled by how conversations are silenced. It’s bizarre how one of our biggest fears in 2023 is to be labeled a bigot, an -ist, or just flat being canceled. Let the threats come, but let the voices be loud. Let the conversations happen on both sides, or multiple sides if that’s where it’s coming from. In order to come towards anything that looks like unity, we have to be talking to each other. 

Especially if, once again, we’re on the #sameteam.