Christian music brings in big-time money. Likewise, 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, Christian MySpaces, Christian comicstrips, Christian bloggers, Christian comedians, and Christian men’s groups. So why not a Christian men’s group headed by a Christian comedian?
Brad Stine is a such a comedian. He heads GodMen, a Christian ministry that encourages men to let their manhood hang out. Stine is a Republican devoted to stamping out “political correctness” and he claims on his website that he’s “America’s favorite conservative comedian.” 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. That same year Stine told the Fox News Channel that, “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 founded GodMen in 2006 and has since held GodMen conferences in Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee. 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 their 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.
Getting 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 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 2007 GodMen event in Nashville, Tennessee, 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 and 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 femini- zation 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 shining 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.”
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.”
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.”
On Stine’s new CD, Wussification, he 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.”
Bill Berkowitz is a freelance writer covering conservative movements.