We laughed when we were told Ted Haggard was “cured” of his gayness after three weeks because the idea of a gay person magically turning straight (through “counseling,” no less) is ludicrous.
It’s not always a laughing matter. A lot of gay people, out of fear that there is something wrong with them, try to go to places like Exodus International, a ministry that claims prayer can fix your homosexuality.
However, three former leaders of Exodus are now issuing an apology.
(Emphasis below is mine)
“Something’s happening. And I think it’s very positive,” agreed Michael Bussee, who founded Exodus in 1976, only to fall in love with another man — a fellow ex-gay counselor.
Now a licensed family therapist in Riverside, Bussee regularly speaks out against ex-gay therapies and is scheduled to address the Ex-Gay Survivor’s Conference at UC Irvine at the end of the month.
But Bussee put aside his protest agenda recently to endorse new guidelines to sexual identity therapy, co-written by two professors at conservative Christian colleges.
He and other gay activists — along with major mental-health associations — still reject therapy aimed at “liberating” or “curing” gays. But Bussee is willing to acknowledge potential in therapy that does not promise change but instead offers patients help in managing their desires and modifying their behavior to match their religious values — even if that means a life of celibacy.
So Bussee apologizes for thinking you could “cure” gays… you can’t. But he adds that gay people can just never have sex, and that could be ok.
He was joined by Jeremy Marks of Exodus International Europe and Darlene Bogle of Paraklete Ministries (an agency that referred gays to Exodus). In a statement, they said the following:
Some who heard our message were compelled to try to change an integral part of themselves, bringing harm to themselves and their families. Although we acted in good faith, we have since witnessed the isolation, shame, fear and loss of faith that this message creates.
The trinity also reminded people that it’s possible to be gay and Christian – a foreign concept for many struggling with their faith.
The director of Exodus, Alan Chambers, was also mentioned in some articles:
With years of therapy, Chambers says, he has mostly conquered his own attraction to men; he’s a husband and a father, and he identifies as straight. But lately, he’s come to resent the term “ex-gay”: It’s too neat, implying a clean break with the past, when he still struggles at times with homosexual temptation. “By no means would we ever say change can be sudden or complete,” Chambers said.
Chambers and other Exodus leaders talk deliberately about a possible biological basis for homosexuality, in part to explain that no one can turn a switch and flip from gay to straight, no matter how hard they pray.
So he’s apologizing about the term ex-gay — you can never change completely. Though he still seems to be ok with what Exodus promotes: Freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ.
It would’ve been nicer had they all said, “We were wrong this whole time. Homosexuality can’t be cured. It’s just who you are. But we are still Christians and those two worlds are completely compatible.”
But that’s asking too much.
I suppose this is a small step forward.
(Thanks to Logos for the links!)
[tags]atheist, atheism, Ted Haggard, gay, Exodus International, homosexuality, Michael Bussee, Jeremy Marks, Exodus International Europe, Darlene Bogle, Paraklete Ministries, Alan Chambers, Jesus Christ[/tags]