‘Ex-Gay’ Group’s Leader Renounces its Core Mission

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July 6, 2012; Source: New York Times

Exodus International, whose core mission is “mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality,” has been shaken to its core by its own president, Alan Chambers, after the latter renounced the group’s fundamental beliefs.

Exodus has been at the forefront of the ex-gay or “pray the gay away” movement which holds that gay women and men can be “cured” through the alchemy of prayer and psychotherapy. The network of ministries, counselors, and churches claims to have healed thousands of their homosexual affliction.

Chambers however, in a series of public statements and in a speech delivered to Exodus’ annual meeting, renounced the notion that lesbians and gays can be turned straight. He declared that there was no cure and that “reparative therapy,” the primary counseling method of practitioners, did more harm than good.

The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Counseling Association, and many others have long repudiated the treatment, also known as “conversion therapy” as ineffective and harmful.

In a phone interview with the New York Times Chambers said that he knows from vicarious and firsthand experience that “ex-gay” people never rid themselves of same-gender attraction. He added that others like him who chose to lead “straight” and upright Christian lives, married with kids, suffer unnecessarily. Chambers said that Exodus could no longer condone reparative therapy.

Suffice it to say religious conservatives are not too pleased with their former ex-gay poster boy.– Erwin de Leon

  • K in Newfoundland

    The Truth has Come Out. Finally at last, Exodus International is exposed as a fraud. As a gay Christian, I am DELIGHTED that Exodus has tanked out. Now, while I’m at it, the discovery of the God particle by CERN will make fundamentalist religion of any faith to be a fraud and a hoax. At last, Emerging Church and Liberal Christians will overtake and prove false fundamentalism, which is nothing more than a cancer in the church. Fundamentalism will join Communism, Fascism and flat-earth theory in the list of history’s biggest mistakes.

  • Anonymous

    The only thing that concerns me about this, is that people with UNWANTED same-sex attractions are told they can’t change that. Aside from any religious considerations, and I think religious conservatives can dangerously usurp the role of psychology with religion (like ‘praying away’), since when do we tell people there’s no hope for the things they want to do?

    On the reverse, would we tell people with other kinds of ‘non-normative’ sexual attractions like to children or animals (and I am NOT saying that homosexuals are pedophiles or bestialists here; only that these are not statistically normal human attractions) that they could never work through those attractions with therapy? Not 100% completely forever, of course, most things aren’t -but substantially, significantly, better i.e. closer to what they want? Yes.

    Or, do we tell transvestites that there’s ‘no way’ they can be a different gender? They can’t change their DNA and yet we as a society are willing to refer to men and women, who have cut up their bodies, by another gender -e.g. the media refers to Chaz as he instead of she.

    It just seems like there’s a non-sensical double standard in what the APA and ‘civil tolerance’ are advocating here. Let’s not hate people, let’s not condemn, or unjustly discriminate, but how can there be ‘no hope’ in some cases and ‘absolute possibility’ in the same circumstances?

    Is it that people who are comfortable with their homosexuality are so uncomfortable with the idea that it could change that they just won’t allow that option for others? Is it that the pendulum swung so far against people with homosexual attractions that now it’s going too far in the opposite direction before we finally settle in a healthy, balanced, respectful, middle place?

  • Rick Lotz

    I am gay. Despite the fact that I wanted very much to change my sexual orientation from the time I first realized I was gay (by age 14), and spent several decades of my life in a sometimes desperate effort to change it (celibate the entire time), it did not change. Eventually, I came to accept it as part of who I was, fell in love, and, well, the story ends happily ever after: my partner and I have been together for decades. I couldn’t be more blessed.

    Back in the 1980s, a good (male) friend of mine — someone we all knew of as gay– started dating a young woman. They eventually moved in together, and were quite the item.

    What was my reaction? I mean, here was “K”, whom we all knew to be gay, and here he was in love with a…..woman. Who would have thunk it!

    My reaction was: he’s my friend. I was happy that he was happy. We welcomed his girlfriend into our fold of friends.

    Sometimes labels fail us. Big deal. “K” remained “K” to me, period. Not one of his gay friends that I know of rejected him for having found someone to love.

    They split up a few years later. “K” met a guy, and they have been together ever since. They got married, legally, last year.

    The moral of the story, if there is one, is that this isn’t about whether some people sometimes discover they have the capacity to love someone they never thought they could. Indeed, that happens pretty frequently, although not so usually across the ‘sexual orientation’ categories.

    What is at issue with Exodus International –and the reason many of us get upset with it– is the notion that same-sex sexual orientation is the result of sin, or of being a bad person, or of some sort of “choice”. And probably worse is the assumption that all of us COULD “change” if only we truly wanted to (and indeed, that we all truly SHOULD want to).

    That’s a pretty big disconnect from what most gay people experience firsthand growing up. We realize we are gay, often to our own surprise and often our own dismay. Yet it is rarely if ever the case that those of us who truly wish to change our orientation successfully do so.

    A final note– Exodus International and many similar groups assume that what “really counts” is behavior (AKA “sin”). If only we were “strong enough” to resist temptation, all would be well.

    That is misleading and potentially VERY harmful. I am gay. I could pretty much do without sexual intimacy (even if I’d rather not). It’s never been at the top of my “to do” list (or rarely so).

    Love and intimacy, however, are very healthy. To tell gay people that they need to separate out a basic part of their sexuality in order to achieve love and intimacy has led more than one gay person to forgo it all. And that’s really, really unfortunate.


  • LesbianSinceBirth

    I had to ask myself first why you evidently thought so much about this – but let me tell you this, as a human being – I have NEVER meet another homosexual that had “unwanted” same-sex attraction. Understand this, the ONLY reason why someone would feel this way is because they are afraid how they will be treated by others – such as yourself with your misinformed ideas.