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The Manly Men of God 

No women allowed into the Promise Keepers, but that didn't stop Infiltrator from getting on the Prayer Team

Wednesday, Nov 16 2005

Page 3 of 5

Amongst the testosterone revelry, a lone woman walks through the crowd. What the hell is she doing here? There's nothing here for her -- this is a men-only event. A guy wearing a black T-shirt that simply reads "God" on the back shoots her a strange look.

"There's a Prayer Booth. There's brothers ready to pray for you. They are like dogs ready to attack," the Brother like no other tells the crowd. "If you need someone to pray for you, there's about 10 guys in back who make up the Prayer Team. Give a wave guys."

We the Prayer Team give a wave to the crowd of 10,000 men. I pump my fist in the air, then high-five fellow volunteers.

After a confusing boxing sketch by the Awaken Drama Team, I take a break from the sweaty, pumped-up male-adrenaline arena action to explore some of the booths set up on the concourse. I pass the leather-clad, long-bearded Harley-Davidsons for Christ booth, then encounter two elderly gentlemen who could easily pass for closeted queens.

"Sign our petition?" asks one of the queeny gentlemen under a banner that reads "Values Matter."

"What's this for?" I ask.

"It's to keep marriage between a man and a woman," he explains with a tight upper lip, saying that men shouldn't be with other men -- except in the case of the Promise Keepers, of course.

"It's so scary what could happen," I say, signing the petition with the name Satan's Big Cock. For encouragement, I give a mighty finger snap. "You go, girl!"

He stands there for several seconds until I offer him a manly high-five.

A crusty man in a yellow button-down shirt is running a booth adorned with logos from all the big television networks, endorsing the Media Leader Prayer Calendar. He explains: "You find today's date and you pray for the media leader and the cultural celebrity listed. You pray for the cast and crew of TV programs or for music group members."

"Seriously," I add with bewilderment.

Grabbing their newsletter, I read: "Jennifer Aniston is turning towards faith. Unfortunately the faith is Buddhism. ... Becoming involved in Buddhism isn't going to fill the hole left by Brad Pitt ... or anyone else. Pray for Jennifer Aniston."

"Each of these people are one miracle away from a vital faith in God," the crusty man says without a smile or irony. The deal is that the praying will help the celebrity find his needed relationship with God. Nine different prayers are to be utilized to change Hollywood sinners and persuade them to clean up their act for the betterment of the Christian good. Strangely, a large majority of the names offered are Jewish (heathens). Looking at the list, on this day we are supposed to pray for director M. Night Shyamalan and what's-the-deal-with-airlines comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

"Can you mix and match which celebrities you want to pray for on any given day? Like, could I pray today for the Wayan brothers and, say, Mel Gibson?" The Passion of the Christ director, it's explained, doesn't need praying for. I look at the list again. On tomorrow's plate: Russell Simmons and The Simpsons. Do they know The Simpsons is only a cartoon?

"Does the praying work?" I ask, concerning one of the most asinine things I've ever heard of.

"We've been noticing quite an impact, quite an impact," the crusty man says with unsmiling confidence, stating how they're trying to arrange to meet with such media leaders as über-conservative Rupert Murdoch -- a devout Christian.

"Do you want to get on our mailing list?" asks the crusty man.


Once again I sign "Satan's Big Cock" with the e-mail address

"Who's this?" I ask a woman (yes, a woman) running a booth with such DVDs for sale as Tolerate This and A Christian Unleashed.

"He's a comedian," the woman (not a man) replies with a snicker. "You're going to see him later tonight."

From inside the sweltering arena, the Brother like no other announces, "If you think I'm funny, here's a guy who will rock your world."

Out comes Brad Stine -- a blond, high-energy comedian who slightly resembles Denis Leary. My world isn't necessarily rocked as I watch him perform hack material about the differences between men and woman.

"Girls yell. Guys scream," Stine astutely points out to big, manly laughs, then hilariously relays how men, unlike women, love plasma-screen TVs.

"It's funny because it's true," I share with the Promise Keeper volunteer next to me, who agrees.

"God made man first so he can practice!" (So true!)

More large, manly laughs.

"Guys love women," the Christian comic declares, suddenly getting serious. "That's what makes you a man!"

No laughs this time, just a big round of affirming applause, mixed with hoots and hollers.

Then, strangely, the comedian segues into a bitter rant about being a Christian comic trying to make it in the heathen world of mainstream stand-up.

"I wanted to show that clean was cutting edge," he spews. "There's so much Christian bigotry in the country. It's the only religion that would have me!"

Ten thousand big, manly laughs once again, as the Prayer Team Leader once again rubs my shoulder, which starts to creep me out.

"Seventeen years in the business. I wanted a TV show. I wanted a recording contract. I wanted to do movies. I was doing the thing I was good at, which is stand-up comedy, and I was not at peace," he says as the arena crowd grows silent. "I gave up my Hollywood dream to play for Christians." Why? "I wanted Christians to have the best there is!"

So is he saying if the Hollywood thing would have worked out, Jesus, obviously, might have taken a big back seat to hosting Family Feud?

About The Author

Harmon Leon


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