Dear Conservative Christians, Maybe The World Isn’t Trying to Emasculate Men 

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A week ago, Harrison Butker, the kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, made headlines for a speech he delivered at Benedictine College, a private Catholic university in Kansas.

In his 20-minute speech, the 28-year-old weighed in on different issues. It is his message to the graduating women that I want to address.

Conservative Christian men

I re-shared a short clip on my Facebook page. You can watch it here. But here’s what Butker says:

“For the ladies present today, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment. You should be proud of all you have achieved in your young lives. I want to speak to you briefly because I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolic lies told to you. How many of you are sitting here now about to cross this stage and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you’re going to get in your career.

Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world. I can tell you that my beautiful wife Isabelle would be the first to say her life truly started when she started living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.

I’m on this stage today, able to be the man that I am, because I have a wife who leans into her vocation. I’m beyond blessed with the many talents God has given me, but it cannot be overstated that all my success is made possible because a girl I met in band class back in middle school would convert to the faith, become my wife, and embrace one of the most important titles of all. Homemaker.”

Harrison Butker and Conservative Christian Views

To some, Harrison Butker’s thinking is outside the mainstream. To others, he’s a hero.

As someone who supports women as they develop clarity around healthy messages and their impact on their relationships, I see the footballer as one of many men who have no problem saying quiet parts out loud (E.g., Josh Howerton, Driscoll, John-Paul Miller, etc.).

Butker’s speech, in my view, shows how interconnected ultra conservatism is and how they all operate from the same belief systems. Beliefs like women are nothing more than men’s little helpers, and that they derive their entire identity from serving others.

Butker told the graduating women their biggest desires: He phrased it as a guess, but it’s a constant assumption that men, by virtue of having male parts, know what women should desire (be wives to them, birth children and keep their home.)

Of course, women can have degrees and stay at home if they want. They can have careers and businesses if that’s what they want. The point is that women should be able to make their own decisions without being told that one choice is better than the other. 

Butker is a successful footballer and a millionaire. His circumstances allow his wife to stay home (assuming that’s her choice) without financial strain. However, many people don’t have that luxury. They rely on dual incomes.

Women Pursuing a Career: Not a Diabolical Lie

After sharing the clip on my Facebook page, some commenters suggested that watching the complete speech would clear up any misinterpretations.

It doesn’t clear anything. The speech in its entirety is a problem. (I focused on the part he addressed women because here I look at problematic messages given to women.)

Still, I think the 1.15-minute clip should bother us and I don’t know what to tell anyone who watches it and considers it excellent advice to give to women, let alone graduating women.  

To suggest that women pursuing a career are falling for a diabolical lie, to present homemaking as a superior choice is just bad. And, like one Facebook commenter observed, where does that leave single women? Or women who get married and don’t have children?

It goes back to what I said earlier, that in some of these conservative faith spaces, women are nothing more than caretakers of men (and their homes) and birthers of children. If they ever attend college, it will still be a net zero.

conservative Christian men

Now, Butker received a standing ovation for his speech. The college invited him to speak. So, in his circles, he’s a hero. (Even Focus on the Family praised him.)  But in many other places, he is not a hero and I’m glad for the pushback. 

To those who think the issue is simply a matter of choice and that those of us who have a problem with it are railing against women choosing to stay at home, that’s not it. Not even close.

The point is that one choice is not better than the other. Women have been told one option is better, and that needs to stop.

Maybe the World isn’t Trying to Emasculate Men 

I was struck by how often the word “order” came up in Butker’s speech.

A common theme in conservative circles is the concern that men have been pushed away from their roles in the home and society, and the desire for them to regain their position.

Butler told the men, “ unapologetic in your masculinity. Fight against the cultural emasculation of men. Do hard things. Never settle for what is easy.”

It would be lovely if he were talking about men doing their part to make the home and the world a healthy, safe place for all. But that’s not where he was going. 

Whenever unhealthy people or systems feel like they are losing control, they tend to respond by trying harder to get back what they think they are losing. It doesn’t occur to them (or most likely, it does, but it’s ignored) that THEY, in fact, might be the problem. 

That they might need to turn inward and examine who they are, their beliefs, perceptions, how they show up in the world, and their relationships.

Maybe the world isn’t trying to weaken men. Maybe women are not trying to take trying to take over. Maybe everything is just equalizing, like water seeking and finding its own level.

Maybe men need to do that, too. Accept that they are human and the world is better when they are healed. 

Are you tired of religious refrains being used to justify your hurting reality? 

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  • Harrison Butker is Catholic: I grew up Catholic and most of his 20-minute speech is familiar. Unhealthy beliefs present differently depending on religious denomination, but the core is the same – power, control, and access.
  • Short clip of Butker’s speech via BlackHomeEducators on IG
  • Benedictine Sisters weighed in, and they disagree with Butker.
  • Here’s data from the US Department of Labor on the labor force participation rate of women by age. 


  1. Debby Tinnin says:

    Thank you for always being a voice of common sense looking at all views on this subject. I am still shaking my head at the support he is being given. I am 67 yrs old and have seen a lot through my years as a wife and mother. What about the Proverbs 31 woman that was an excellent business woman as well as a wife and mother who took care of her home and was well respected in her community.

    1. Me too, I’m wondering how so many don’t see the problematic elements of the speech. But I’m glad that so many are speaking up.

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