As Alan “Pray Away the Gay” Chambers ties his tongue in a knot …

Alan Chambers of Exodus International (the flagship “pray-away-the-gay” organization) has just published “Defining Exodus – Letter from Alan Chambers for June 2012,” wherein he attempts to make Exodus seem less retro-insane than most people now understand it to be. Alan’s letter is below. Inserted within it, in bracingly beautiful blue, are my comments on that letter. (The bold parts of Alan’s letter appear that way in the original: they’re his bolds, in other words, not mine.)

Dear Friends,

Exodus International is repeatedly accused of seeking to make gay people straight through conversion therapy and prayer. As the media and culture rage around us, drawing battle lines in the sand and seeking to fuel the debate about homosexuality. [So … that last sentence is incomplete. But its point is clear enough: people like myself, who oppose the toxic, life-destroying idea that God condemns same-sex relationships, don’t have a critical moral point we’re trying to make, or anything like that. We’re just “raging”: we’re doing nothing more than seeking, for our own gain, to “fuel the debate.” It’s the ol’ tactic of denigrating someone by ascribing to them a false motivation. Deft ploy, Alan! For a fourth-grader.]

You know, my team and I have been working diligently to clearly state the calling of this great ministry and focus solely on that work. We want to reiterate that our mission is, first and foremost, to serve, support and equip the Church in providing refuge to individuals or families impacted by same-sex attractions (SSA). [And with the word refuge, Chambers officially steps onto the tightrope on which it’s clear he’s now about to start tap-dancing.]

Quite simply, our goal is to make the Church famous for loving and serving people as Jesus would and pointing them to Him. [Tippity-tap, tappity-tip. But more to the point(s): is a big problem for the church that it’s not famous enough? What a weird thing to say. Much less weird—and certainly a good deal more problematic—is Chambers’s casual, almost sublimely arrogant assertion that Exodus’s attitude toward gay people is indistinguishable from Jesus’.]

I realize this may not be new info for some of you.  Yet, I believe it is important for everyone to hear this from me, as “all sides” are seeking to define Exodus and quite frankly, no one is doing a great job. [Didn’t Alan just say, “My team and I have been working diligently to clearly state the calling of this great ministry”? I guess by, “No one is doing a great job of defining Exodus,” he means himself and the people he works with. Bummer for him. But, gosh, I wonder if the main reason everyone continues to be unable to understand what exactly it is that Exodus does or believes could have anything to do with how fundamentally logically untenable it is to say, “We love gay people—but being gay is a moral abomination deserving God’s condemnation and wrath.”? Nah. It must be that everyone’s just stupid.]

It’s time we set the record straight.  Pun intended. [Well, you know what they say: spend enough of your life inside a closet, and you forget what’s funny.]

While my office seeks to serve the Church, the 260 churches, ministries and counselors here in North America and our alliance of partner ministries across the world are there to serve individuals who freely come to them for support.  People seeking this encouragement and guidance do so because they have decided to pursue an identity or life based on their relationship with Christ over their same-sex attractions. [Just so we’re clear: the second half of the bolded sentence asserts that being gay is incompatible with being in a relationship with Christ. The difference between the way Chambers here says that, and “God Hates Fags,” is the difference between a pig and a pig wearing a graduation cap.]

In most cases these are Christian men and women who desire to live in accordance to God’s design for sexuality, clearly defined in scripture. [Wow. There it is. Take note, anyone who might still believe that Exodus is anything but another version of the American Family Association, the National Organization for Marriage, or any other “Christian” organization whose determined and unholy end is a world in which no gay people exist.]

Exodus also has an extensive support system for family members or friends of those who are same-sex attracted and/or gay identified. [Can’t you just feel the love? No? Well, can’t you just hear the ka-ching? No? Well, can’t you just hear the hopes of hearing ka-ching? Yes.]

We believe that in Christ we have been given completely new hearts and the ability to have power over the sin that remains confined to our earthly flesh.  [I’m done. This strained exercise in P.R. is just too pathetic to warrant further comment. Exodus still believes what it always has, which is that it’s not only possible but highly desirous for gay people to, in one way or another, stop being gay. It’s just too medieval to take seriously. It’s time for Exodus to exit. They’re a joke (albeit one that isn’t in the least funny). Back when the right was getting some real traction out of the idea that one could pray away the gay, Exodus/Chambers had some power. Now that the idea that gay people can stop being gay has gone the way of the whalebone corset and dodo bird, Exodus is simply trying to keep itself alive. And, clearly, they’re doing so by stubbornly clinging to the cracked, bent, barely floating life-preserver on which one can still make out the faded slogan of its manufacturer, GOD HATES FAGS, INC.]

"You have the floor Pastor he said it as we all faced that product of ..."

The fundamentally toxic Christianity
"Save souls, nourish them as the devil roars for opportunity to steal, kill and destroy. ..."

My mom died late last night; ..."
"Sorry for your loss."

My mom died late last night; ..."
"We will see our loved ones but only those who had a relationship with jesus ..."

My mom died late last night; ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • “drawing battle lines” and “fueling debate,” huh?

    Sounds like what he’s doing all the time.

    Since we don’t have any record of Jesus saying so much as one word about homosexuality, it’s pretty arrogant to say that EI’s obsession with “loving” gay people by constantly throwing hate at them is His style.

    Seems to me like Jesus treated gay people like … people. Just people.

  • BAM!

  • Michael Bussee

    Could you provide a link to Alan’s letter? I would like to read it in its entirety. Thanks!

  • it’s in the post, in the final graph. But I’ll put it up higher, too, in the intro.

  • W

    Thanks John. I read the entire letter earlier today and rolled my eyes so much, I thought they were going to pop out of my head.

    It’s the same old BS, just packaged up to make them look more “tolerant”.

  • Melody

    Oy vey. I don’t know how you got as far as you did with that tripe. I sure as hell don’t have the patience to deal with that bullshit.

  • David S

    For Chambers to say “providing refuge to individuals or families impacted by same-sex attractions (SSA).” is the same as saying “being gay is a tsunami that rushes ashore and devastates the victim and their families”. What a load of bull. Devastation happens alright. It happens when gay people are rejected from families or communities. It happens when a fear of that rejection causes intimacy avoidance and isolation for gay people. It happens when that communal rejection boils over into aggression and hostility. And Chamber’s rhetoric – gay people who experience intimate love displease God – contributes to the real and feared rejection. He is complicit in destroying lives. He *is a part of* the tsunami from which we need refuge.

  • Suz

    Good heavens! You DID NOT just ‘dis’ my corset!

  • Oh, yes I did.

    You HAVE one?? I’m disturbingly intrigued.

  • Suz

    I have a thing for vintage.

  • “Anyone who involves themselves with Exodus is like a person doing a high-dive into a pool of water three-feet deep. Clearly, they’re just not thinking at all.”

    Sometimes, John, you just add a moment of sanity to my day. A sorely needed perspective. Much appreciated.

  • Carol VanderNat

    There certainly are a lot of ways to say “God Hated Fags”…..and smiling too, probably….

  • From further in the letter,

    “Exodus does not believe SSA is sinful. However, sexual expression resulting from SSA is. Making such clear distinctions has been a failure of the Church that is slowly being realized and changed. ”

    So, once again, you can BE gay (just don’t say gay) just make sure you don’t DO anything gay.(remember not to say gay)

    What a load of it. I give up caring. Unless their net captures one of my friends via their church or parents, I am going to treat this group as I do the Westboro Baptist Church. Ignore them. They will cease to exist.


  • He dissed dodo birds, too. I’m annoyed about that. Poor species lost to human interference…

  • I didn’t “diss” them. I said they were extinct.

  • Soulmentor

    *****Exodus also has an extensive support system for family members or friends of those who are same-sex attracted and/or gay identified. [Can’t you just feel the love? Oh. Well, can’t you just hear the ka-ching? Oh. Well, can’t you just hear the hopes of hearing ka-ching?]******

    And can’t you just hear the unspoken message to “out” your friends and family members….in the name of Love, of course. Where have we heard this before? Hint: Nazi Germany.

    We need to keep calling them out….relentlessly and everywhere. We need to make others see things they might overlook, like what I just pointed out. And when they protest, ignore them and do it more and louder.

  • Soulmentor

    They extrapolate Jesus to God and well, we know God Hates Fags, so Jesus obviously does too. Got it?

  • Wow…the moderator on Exodus actually let me post my brief comment. I am rather surprised at that. Wonder how long it will last or if I will end up on some Exodus mailing list.


  • Yeah, that’s a “distinction” certain parts of the church have been quite clear about for some time (Catholic teaching paticularly) and the results have still been devastating.

  • Show of hands – after reading the letter, who wants to to do a “bridge-building” exercise?

  • Linnea

    I’m a little surprised that Exodus International hasn’t made the Southern Poverty Law Center’s official hate groups list yet. EI is a pathetic bunch who lie in God’s name.

  • HAR! Good one, C.

  • DR

    I actually laughed out loud.

  • otter

    Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty. And the pig enjoys it.

  • Allen

    Is it even possible for a person to honorably disagree with re-defining marriage, or must everyone who differs to any degree with the religious left on this issue be trashed as haters, ignorant, bigoted, weird, pseudo-Christians etc? Does anyone on the religious left recognize ANY honorable opponent in the debate–or are they all to be written off in this manner? I think there are many good-hearted, intelligent, loving and honorable people championing rights for LGBT people. Can anyone name a decent advocate of retaining the the traditional definition of marriage? As far as sliming the Exodus organization is concerned, it seems to me the same as the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance claiming that the Jenny Craig organization hates all fat people and is an “organization whose determined and unholy end is a world in which no fat people exist.”

    OK, I’ve expressed my opinion. I wonder if there is a place on the internet where these issues can be debated on an a level above name calling and rock-throwing?

    Your resident lone dissenting voice.

  • Kelven

    Be honest with yourself for a moment. You know as well as I do that marriage has had many different definitions for a long time. Many of them portrayed in the bible. Gay people are not so much trying to redefine marriage as certain people are trying to restrict that definition to exclude gay people from it. The real reason you and others like you are doing that is because you want to send a clear message to gay people that they are less than you. Doing it nicely is no less judgmental or ultimately loving, for all of your protestations to the contrary.

  • Mike A

    It is possible for opponents of equal marriage to acknowledge that they have already redefined marriage — improving marriage in liberal ways (women’s rights) and damaging marriage in conservative ways (pressure to marry young for unhealthy and ideological reasons)?

  • otter

    What is so “honorable” about your dissent when it entails denying same-sex partners hospital visitation, health insurance, and legal standing to bring suit on each others behalf?

    How about denial of tax-free inheritance? Is it honorable to allow vindictive families evicting surviving spouses from their home? Or possibly your sense of honor demands we same-sex spouses pay to jump thru legal hoops to get what you privileged hetero-folk get for free?

    Or perhaps you think it’s honorable to deny the children of same-sex partners the support and protection of both partners? No?

    So where precisely, IS the “honor” in your dissent??

  • otter

    note…just facts….no name calling…

  • DR


    You’re asking a group of people to recognize “honor” in a theology that literally drives gay kids to suicide. The theology being pressed by I’m sure, a lot of very nice, well-meaning people who don’t know what they are doing (or know and are too scared to change) is so dangerous.

    It’s mind-boggling to me that there are those of you who continue to monitor the tone of those who are calling this what it is – abuse – and making it somehow our issue for being strident as we call abuse “abuse”. It’s so shocking and for the life of me, I don’t know how it’s moving anything forward. It adds noise into an already very noisy, contentious issue.

    Please understand. People need to *face* themselves. The Civil Rights were not won with kind, gentle tones, the terror that people of color experienced at the hands of white people were, looking back, devastating. It’s horrific, thinking what people went through. And even then, there were advocates who got in the game, who started calling it “wrong”. And they were somehow called “uncivil” for simply calling racism what it is.

    That’s what is happening here.

  • DR

    And with all due respect Allen, you’re not the “lone dissenting voice”. I sense you’re kind of setting yourself up to be the martyred victim when in fact if you do some reading, you’ll find that there are a number of people here who are anti-gay rights or have an issue with how some of us react. You’ll find them focused on the conversation at hand, they don’t harp on the tone and they don’t complain when someone expresses anger at them and/or what they’ve written. They are mature enough to realize that this is a conflict that they *choose* to enter into and they are also choosing the theology that serves them.

    In short, stop policing everyone’s tone and just talk about the issue.

  • DR

    And Allen what is up with your phishing site link? Why do you keep trying to link people there? It’s so bad for computers and I recall that John asked you to delete it once before. As someone who works in technology I wish you’d be more responsible in what you’re doing online and what you are trying to get people to click on.

  • Allen

    Kelven–it seems you know my real inner motivations–and have judged them to be sinful: “you want to send a clear message to gay people that they are less than you.” Did I say anything to indicate that intention? Or did you just know it somehow? Well, perhaps at some point we can just have a respectful dialogue. That’s my hope anyway…

  • otter

    DR…how do I avoid this whatever it is link????

  • DR’s exactly right, Allen. There can be nothing whatsoever “honorable” about denying an entire class of people their civil rights—about purposefully, consciously, and willfully promulgating to the point of institutionalizing the idea that a whole sub-population of people are essentially less than human.

    The only reason you think it’s “honorable” to be against the legalization of gay marriage is because you think that in so doing you are siding with God. You think GOD agrees with you that same-sex relationships are inherently immoral. And you think that gives you the right to declare as “honorable” an idea that without the Bible would be blatantly, unarguably, cruelly bigoted.

    You need to Bible to condemn same-sex relationships so that you can feel “honorable” doing the same.

    But the Bible doesn’t condemn LGBT people today getting married, and enjoying every last moral and legal right you so readily take for granted.

    It just doesn’t. And you continuing to claim that it does has no more to do with being honorable than mugging an old woman has to do with caring for senior citizens.

    And your analogy at the end there, Allen, comparing those who seek full equality for gay people with the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, was some serious bullshit. That’s how long it took you to divest yourself of every last vestige of honor. Shame on you.

  • TruthIsLove

    Ex-gay? No you’re not. You don’t need to hurt yourselves like that. You really are full of love. Don’t listen to anyone tell you otherwise. You do not need to allow someone lost in the spin of their own fear drag you underwater with them. Find the voice that is your intuition and listen to it. It’s hard, I struggle to hear it all the time but it really is always there if you just have patience and silence and stillness. Begin to trust yourself, start small. Tell a small Truth where once you only told a big lie. Then give yourself a million hugs for doing it! Disagree with the lies you tell yourself and all that’s left is Your Truth. In your Truth, you will find self love and self respect. It is a process, you don’t need to rush, just follow the simple steps. Truth.

    Follow Your Truth to Love.

  • I’ve deleted it. Allen: seriously, man. Do something about the web link you associate with your name. You’ve got the url wrong.

  • Allen

    Mike, there are many loving relationships that the government does not recognize as marriage, so there has never been “equal marriage” in that respect. I am referring to the government’s definition (that’s the one in question, not what conservatives or feminists think about marriage). Perhaps marriages have improved in some ways and perhaps they have suffered in some ways from the sexual revolution and the conservative reaction to it. Good topics for discussion. Thanks for your thought-provoking comment.

  • DR

    Don’t click on Allen’s name when it’s red, it sends you to a warning that you’re about to enter a phishing site. Those are not sites that are accidentally created, our dear Allen is more than likely, not who he seems.

  • Allen

    Otter, I am “denied” all sorts of benefits that veterans get. Someone can honorably point out to me that I do not qualify for such benefits. I can reply, “you are denying me college loans denying me special mortgage rates and denying me discounted medical care” and that’s not fair. I love my country and serve it just as well as any veteran. Perhaps some day every citizen will get all the special benefits that veterans now get. The law may someday be changed in that way. A person who argued for the status quo could do so honorable and not think that non-veterans were any less as human beings. You may think Dennis Prager and others honorable or dishonorable, as you see fit. I just think it is usually better to not assume that anyone who disagrees with me is evil or stupid or hateful. Perhaps they a basically decent person and just have an honest difference of opinion. I think dialogue just proceeds better from this starting point.

  • DR

    The analogy was so shocking (the fat acceptance one) that I could not even form a response.

  • Allen

    You must have another Allen in mind. I’ve never put in any links at all.

  • DR

    Decent people do not prioritize a belief over a dead gay child, they just don’t. It’s very simple and it’s odd that all of you scatter or find a way of leaving the conversation when those of us ask you to face the impact of your belief on these little ones.

    You can try to create all of the analogies in the world that provide a rationale for what you believe but at the end of the day, you chose to be a veteran. All of the examples you give will be about someone who the government denied because of a *choice* of status. There is simply, no legal precedent that provides you with the right to deny gay men and women the social and legal contract of marriage because of something that is hard-wired in them, something they did not choose and will not change.

  • DR

    Um, I have the right “Allen” because I just clicked on your name and once again, it leads to a phishing site. You need to go to your profile and delete whatever website you’ve added that turns your username into a hyperlink.

  • John Shore

    Allen, when you sign in to leave a comment, you’re also leaving (though maybe it’s in some way automatically associated with your name?) a WEBSITE address connected to your name ( That website url brings up not the site, but instead a warning:

    You are about to log in to the site “” with the username “manalive7”, but the website does not require authentication. This may be an attempt to trick you.

    See? Not good.

  • John Shore

    Yeah, I don’t think logic is your winning tool here. I can’t imagine what MIGHT be, but I KNOW it’s not logic.

  • Allen

    I never associated any web link with my name. I just signed up some time ago on your site. I have no idea any of this works. I was asked when I signed up on you site to list a website. I listed one of my blogs at blogspot, That’s the only web reference I’ve ever listed, and it’s a legit blog. Don’t know what else to say…

  • DR

    You really need to delete it, I’m sure it’s just a typo but phishing sites are SO bad for peoples’ technology. I’m being serious. Delete it. Thanks.

  • Allen

    DR, I think that tone is an issue–especially for Christians. I want my tone to be respectful toward others–especially those with whom I disagree. I don’t need to respect all ideas and I don’t expect others to respect my ideas. I agree with all who have called for civility in our public dialogue. I am perhaps rather old-fashioned in that respect.

    I don’t comment here often, but I do try to read most of the articles John posts and writes–for two reasons: 1) I like John and we used to be friends. 2) I like to keep up with the debates on important social and political issues.

  • DR

    I think this is a fascinating set of questions and it’s disappointing you did not receive a substantial answer. Hopefully someone else will.

  • Allen

    I clicked on my own name (never have before) and saw the warning. I’ll go to my/your site’s account settings and try to fix it.

  • DR

    Those of you who want a kinder, gentler conversation – who prioritize tone over truth – remind me of people who are watching a father beat his 12-year old with a tire iron while calling her a “whore”. When he’s asked to stop, his rationale is “spare the rod, spoil the child is what the Bible says”. And those of us screaming at him, trying to get the tire iron out of his hand are getting distracted by those of you who are on the sidelines, insisting that he’s misunderstood and really acting from a good place. He loves his daughter, he follows the Bible and he’s only doing what he was taught. You’re asking us to stop and listen to you as a child is getting beaten to death.

    As a Christian, it makes me a little sick to my stomach that you’re far more focused on the sidelines asking everyone to “understand”. You ask God tonight which person in that scenario is right.

  • Allen

    You may have to fix it John–or have your webmaster do it. I can’t find any link for account settings on your site. (I’m not very savvy with this stuff). Sorry for the trouble.

  • DR

    Allen it may be as easy as this. When you click “comment”, you will see three fields: Your name, your E-mail and your Website. Just delete whatever link you have listened in the Website field. Hope that helps.

  • Christelle

    What does FAT have to do with GAY? Really? If you’re fat, go on a diet…. go for a run… or go see your doctor (because, yes, there could be other issues involved). Gay?! Be who you are. AND know you are loved exactly as you are… The #1 thing that urks me with this argument is that fat and gay run in similar circles… THEY DON’T!!! GAY is not a choice… AND fat pastors need to stop talking about GAYS in every sense of the debate…

  • Peet

    Yes, civility is always important. That said, the world of false equivalencies gets enormously frustrating to me. I think the people who persist in the view that homosexuality is intrinsically sinful are wrong. Just flat out wrong. 2+2=5 level wrong.there really isn’t any kind of ‘dialog’ i can have with people who believe that. i am just not interested in their opinion. they’ve shown to me an incapacity to think. so i want to be civil, sure, but i feel like a math teacher whose students are arguing back with me when they don’t know what they’re saying, they have the wrong answers, and they’re disrupting the rest of the class.

  • Allie

    There’s really not an honorable way to discriminate against people and oppose their rights. On the one side, you’ve got treating people as they want to be treated. On the other side, you’ve got treating them the opposite of the way they want to be treated, for no good reason at all. That’s right, just allowing them equal rights with yourself would be absolutely no skin off your nose whatsoever – there’s literally NO DOWNSIDE. So, yeah, arbitrary cruelty, versus plain human decency and equality under the law – not really a whole lot of wiggle room there.

    There’s not really a way to be “a little bit opposed to equal rights,” any more than there’s a way to be a little bit pregnant.

    Do I have sympathy for those who are taking a while to come to grips with the fact that the cruelty which has been accepted for so long isn’t acceptable? Well, sure, I have sympathy. I have ancestors who were slave owners. They weren’t monsters, they were just very ordinary people of their era, not saints capable of making the huge jump necessary to admit that everything they had been taught from the time they were children was wrong.

    But – here’s the thing – it was still wrong.

  • David S

    Holy cow, Allen. Your ignorance is impenetrable.

    What the heck kind of school yard logic is this? The reason you don’t receive veteran’s benefits is that presumably your not a veteran. I’m legally married, yet I don’t receive the benefits of legally married people. Gay people couple and raise children. That’s a fact that’s not going to change – regardless of marriage law. Anyone who wants to deny those couples the possibility of marriage is effectively working to harm those couples. Full stop. So to answer your original question directly: no, there is no such thing as a “decent” way to oppose marriage for gay people. And one more thing that burns my ass…I AM a staunch advocate for traditional marriage. I think my parents 53 year marriage is awesome. I think marriage has a lot of benefits for people who participate and for society. Your notion that advocating for marriage rights for gay people is somehow a position that is against traditional marriage is as rediculous as it is infantile.

  • Ric Booth


  • otter

    Bravo! Well said…..let me say it again The “notion that advocating for marriage rights for gay people is somehow a position that is against traditional marriage is as ridiculous as it is infantile”

  • otter


    You never answered my questions, you just tried to distract us with a lame analogy. Let me break it down for you…You can’t describe how treating gays as sub-human is honorable because it isn’t honorable and it never will be. It wasn’t honorable to do this to Blacks or women or Native Americans and it is not honorable to do it to Gays.

  • As a gay service member and veteran, your comparison of sexual orientation and the choice to serve in the military is confusing and more than a little degrading. You are conflating the sexual identity that someone has with the choices they have made in their careers and lives? Are you alluding that ones sexual orientation is a choice?

    The benefits that I receive as a veteran are for something I have chosen to DO not who I was born AS. I find this comparison incredibly disrespectful and beneath the intelligence and eloquence you have shown thus far. The problem with your “honest difference of opinion” is that it relegates a class of citizens to “less than” status by its inherent belief. I did not fight to preserve and provide Liberty and Justice for only a select group of citizens in this country, but for ALL citizens.

    You can continue attacking the manner in which these topics are discussed as well as the people you take offense to, but no amount of straw men arguments will let you side the step the actual issues and facts of the matter, which you seem want to do. Why not choose to talk about the topic at hand rather than the manner in which it is being discussed?


  • Kelven

    It is not a question of reading your mind. What I am saying is that by definition you are considering gay people less than. You want your cake and to eat it too. You want to pretend it is about something arbitrary like the meaning of a word but the reality is that you don’t think gay people love in a way that is equal to straights and you want secular law to reflect that. And if you truly don’t think that, then what exactly is your issue?

  • Lymis

    “Is it even possible for a person to honorably disagree with re-defining marriage, or must everyone who differs to any degree with the religious left on this issue be trashed as haters, ignorant, bigoted, weird, pseudo-Christians etc? ”

    I know what you think you are asking – you think you are saying “There are people with sincerely held, logically based, internally consistent, and honorably intended reasons for disapproving of same-sex marriage, but whenever they try to express them, they are labeled haters and bigots. Is it possible for them to express their valid disagreements without being attacked?”

    But the problem is that your premise is flawed. As a gay man, I’ve been closely following gay rights issues, gay marriage in particular, all my adult life, and since I’m over 50, that’s been quite a while now. I am not using hyperbole to say that in all that time I have never once found someone who opposes same-sex marriage who has a logically based, internally consistent, valid argument. I have never met anyone who opposes same-sex marriage who is willing to TRY to “debate” the issues.

    I try to avoid the word “lie” and “liars” – sometimes untruths can be sincerely held, and sometimes untruths are deliberate. But either way they are untruths.

    There isn’t a single argument against civil marriage equality for same-sex couples that isn’t either a flat-out lie or a carefully constructed misdirection or collection of half-truths. Not one.

    And now, the “debate” has gone on long enough that anyone who doesn’t know that, and still holds onto the transparent untruths about it, really has to be considered a liar. They may feel they are lying for a higher purpose, but they are still simply deliberately telling untruths.

    So how can you have a civil debate when one side simply refuses to even consider telling the truth?

    Civil marriage is not about procreation. Straight people who cannot procreate together due to age or medical reasons are allowed to marry. Gay people are not infertile, just infertile together, and the vast majority of gay people can procreate.

    Civil marriage is not about childrearing. Straight couples can marry and remain married without having or raising any children. And gay couples can have children to rear by birth, by adoption, by previous marriages, or with artificial aids to conception or surrogates.

    Civil marriage is not about responsible parenting. People who are horrible parents are allowed to marry and stay married. Convicted murderers can marry. The civil marriages of convicted child abusers are not voided. And every study that actually looks at gay couples raising kids shows that they do as well, or in some cases better than the average similarly suited straight couple. For this argument to work, the very best gay parents would have to always be worse than the very worst straight parents – and THAT is demonstrably, even laughably untrue.

    Civil marriage is not about religious tradition. Straight people can marry with no involvement from an organized religion, and many religious denominations and individual congregations and groups fully support same-sex marriage equality and would marry gay couples if they could.

    Civil marriage is not about religious liberty or preventing religious discrimination. Roman Catholics are not required to solemnize the remarriage of divorced straight Catholics. Rabbis are not required to solemnize the marriage of mixed-religion straight couples. No minister or congregation is required to perform a wedding for a straight couple who are not part of their religious tradition. The protection of religious groups from being forced to perform weddings they don’t approve of is long-settled established law, and nothing about civil marriage for gay couples changes that.

    Civil marriage is not about social approval and support of specific beneficial “lifestyles.” The US Supreme Court has affirmed the rights of convicted murderers to marry, and the rights of documented child-support deadbeats. Drunks, drug addicts, adulterers, spouse abusers, and just about every other distasteful or socially damaging “lifestyle” – no problem if you are straight. And no matter how upright and moral you are, and no matter what you contribute to society, if you are gay, it’s off limits.

    Civil marriage is no longer “something that has always been, in every society in human history” a purely heterosexual thing. More and more countries allow it, and more and more US states. Denying that there actually are, and have been, couples in same sex legal marriages is now, purely and simply, a flat out lie.

    Civil marriage equality does not materially increase the cost to society. If Adam marries Eve, and Amy marries Steve, society happily adjusts to any costs or financial benefits, but if the same four people group differently and Adam marries Steve and Amy marries Eve, the exact same costs are somehow insupportable?

    Marriage has changed, and changed dramatically, throughout history. The idea that it has always been “one man and one woman” is simply untrue. Even the Bible itself is documented evidence that it isn’t true. And recent changes like allowing women to own property and earn money, the shift from arranged marriage to a focus on love and support, and the legal changes about illegitimacy are all huge shifts.

    The biggest absurdity about “redefining marriage” of course, is that allowing same-sex couples to marry doesn’t change the tiniest detail about any straight marriage or about the process of straight people marrying. No benefits change, no eligibility changes, there is no change to the mechanism, or the consequences to straight people for marrying. Once same-sex couples marry, not a single thing about straight marriage changes.

    Saying that something that doesn’t in any way even affect straight people is a “redefinition” of marriage is as ludicrous as my claiming that if my neighbor paints their living room blue it constitutes a demolition of my home.

    And, of course, any claim that same-sex marriage equality “devalues” marriage or makes straight couples less likely to want to marry is so bigoted on the face of it that it hardly needs to be discussed.

    So, I’ll repeat your question back to you: How can people who claim not to be haters, bigots, or ignorant support even a single one of these transparently untrue arguments? As a result, the question becomes, “ARE there any honorable opponents of marriage equality?”

    In all honesty, I’ve never met a single person with an honorable argument against it. I have never met someone who doesn’t rely on at least one of these untruths as a central point to their argument, and has no answer whatsoever when they are called on it. If one’s entire side of the “debate” is based on known lies and untruths, how can they claim to be an honorable opponent?

    Can YOU name an advocate of retaining the the traditional definition of marriage who isn’t basing some or all of their argument on these untruths? And how can someone who is be called a “decent advocate”?

  • This made me spit my coffee out laughing! Thanks for getting my day off to a great start full of smiles. I wonder if John ever heard anything from Andrew at all, or if he has wandered off to more easy conversations and donations.

  • Lymis

    I’d say a better example of tone over truth would be people who, watching a father beat his 12-year old with a tire iron while calling her “whore” demand that he stop using such harsh language – while doing nothing whatsoever to stop the beating.

    These are the kind of people who would “be deeply offended” by such language, and utterly unconcerned about the beating – with the possible exception of tut-tutting that it is rude to beat one’s child in public and that it would be more appropriate in private.

    Allen, like so many others, is distressed that people are impolite about how they discuss his conviction that it is acceptable to treat his fellow citizens like second class citizens, deny our children the protection of law, stand passively by while our youth (and not-so-young) are literally beaten to death, and the laws of the land are written to lock all that down as permanent.

    The tone we’re using IS civil and respectful. You don’t want to hear the tone that sort of crap really deserves.

  • Mindy

    Allen, he doesn’t have to read your mind. We DO know your inner motivations – because the only motivation for “not redefining marriage” at this point in history is to exclude LGBT people from it. Which, then, tells us that you don’t consider them worthy of the loving bonds of marriage, or, as Kelven stated, you consider them less than the rest of us.

    Now, if that is not correct, please do share your inner motivations with us so that we are clear and can engage in that respectful dialogue you want. Oh, and no, I can’t name a single decent advocate for retaining the current definition of marriage who is not doing so because they are homophobic and willing to discriminate against LGBT citizens. If you can, please share.

  • Mindy

    Allen, comparing a non-veteran to a veteran is utterly ridiculous. Until you put yourself in the line of fire – literally – you should just hush. You’re not denied these benefits. It’s not that you don’t qualify, it’s that you DID NOT EARN them. I love my country and I am currently uninsured because of lack of full-time employment. And I would not, for one second, say that I should qualify for the same benefits as my young nephew will when his tour is over. He’s at risk every moment, he’s already been through more real anguish than anyone should in a lifetime, and he’s 21 years old.

    Being a veteran comes after one makes a CHOICE, and the benefits accorded are EARNED after one serves and survives. Being straight makes me no better (0r w0rse) than my being white or female does. I didn’t choose it and I didn’t “earn” being married, I could just do it.

    Your comparison is bizarre, and honestly, shows how little you understand the issues at hand.

  • Mindy

    LOVE! I agree, David – my parents have been married for almost 55 years, my sister for almost 30, my brother for 25. They are all phenomenal examples of traditional marriage, and I don’t believe for a nanosecond that recognizing YOUR marriage as equal to theirs will, in ANY way, harm or denigrate theirs.

    If we, the supporters of equal rights, didn’t consider traditional marriage a very good institution, why would we want equal rights to it for all?

  • Mindy

    YES! Thank you, Lymis. I have been trying, recently, to be brave and speak out more often on this topic in venues that are not welcoming, where *I* am the “lone, dissenting voice,” as Allen likes to fancy himself.

    I am polite, but I am to the point. I am respectful but blunt and clear about what is right and what is wrong – and every time, EVERY time, it is my tone that those who disagree with me ultimately use as the reason they will no longer discuss it with me. Not my beliefs, not my rationale. My tone. Because obviously I am angry, and there is no place in polite conversation for anger.

    Right. Which is why maybe this is not a topic for polite conversation, but for protest.

  • DR

    Even better!

  • Mindy

    Lymis, I am copying and saving your post on my computer. As always, you spell it out beautifully. I can think of several people who need to hear this.

    You have the patience of a saint, and a wonderful way with words. Thank you.

  • Mindy

    Bwaaahahahahaa! Just yesterday, someone posted on FB a series of photos that to restore faith in humanity. Very sweet, moving photos. One of them was a bunch of people at a gay pride parade with signs saying they were sorry for how the church had treated them – I loved it, thinking maybe it was CanyonWalkers, then I saw Andrew Marin the photo and felt sort of sick. Because I knew he didn’t really mean it.

  • RJ

    I think the problem is the term “redefining marriage”.

    No one is trying to redefine marriage, so much as EXTEND the definition. That’s completely different, as no one who is currently allowed to marry will be forfeiting anything by extending the same rights to those currently excluded . I think that’s the Right’s strategy in choosing that term—for it’s negative subconscious implications. Same with their other pet terms “Pro-Marriage” and “Pro-Family” instead of the more accurate “Anti-Gay Marriage” and “Anti-Gay Family”. Using “Pro” is silently giving the impression that the opposition is “against” which couldn’t not be more false. Gays want the option of marriage and family too, which would make them “Pro-Marriage” and “Pro-Family” also.

  • Methinks this is the endgame Exodus etc is shooting for:

    “Mixed Orientation Marriages” etc. I’m not sure how to respond. My gut is live & let live. But I have a feeling that’s not their aim. I’m afraid they’re more on the path of “look at the Weeds. That is how to be a moral fag; the rest of you are unrepentant sinners deserving of social rejection.” Same foolishness, different package.

  • Lymis

    True, but it has also recently come out that he’s not the unicorn he claims to be. Apparently, he runs a reparative therapy practice, which moves him from the, “Oh, by the way, this is what works for us” to the “Let’s inflict this on other people as a universal moral standard” camp.

  • Lymis

    I don’t disagree with your point, but I wouldn’t phrase it that way. This isn’t really an extension of the definition of marriage, but rather an application of the existing definition to a new group of people.

    I think of “extending” to be something like including drive-throughs in the definition of “restaurant,” or the internet in the definition of “journalism.”

    This is more like giving the vote to women and people of color – it only changes the definition of “voter” if you start with the belief that “voter” means “a white man who participates in an election.” It doesn’t change what “voting” means – just who can do it.

    Since marriage equality for same sex couples doesn’t change any aspect of marriage for straight people, I think it’s disingenuous to speak in terms of any changes at all to “the definition.” Which is, of course, why the anti-gay folks use that as their primary choice of phrasing. Let’s not buy into it.

  • Duck

    So, you are all for stripping people of their civil equality, and you are all for the arguments supporting that, as long as people are NICE about doing so? That is what you want, a nice polite conversation equating me with all of the things that the right wing equates me with?

    How exactly does one be polite about advocating that I be rounded up and put behind an electric fence? How does one be polite when advocating for beating and breaking the wrists of 4 year olds? How does one be polite when advocating that the government should execute me out of hand for having sex with my boyfriend? More importantly, how would you suggest that I be polite in response to these ideas? Were I advocating feeding the entire Southern Baptist Convention to the lions to the entire nation, would you respond politely? Would you go on some rant about how the conversation (advocating DEATH for a significant number of people) wasn’t being held politely enough for your delicate sensibilities, or would you respond with some heat?

  • I’m a hair splitter, Lymis. Reparative therapy is specific type of therapy & I don’t think he runs reparative therapy; I think he’s trying to guide people into his lifestyle: openly gay but married to a woman. Or, put the teachings of the church ahead of one’s sexuality. He appears closer to WT than to NARTH.

    It seems that this is where a lot of these organizations seem to be heading. I’m conflicted about this direction because it is infinitely better approach toward gay folk than outright rejection. Also, it’s better to make peace with your sexuality one way or another. According to his testimonial his life is only possible because his parents did not reject him when he came out to them. & I would much rather some dead kids I knew to have been accepted by their parents as gay even if their parents still expected them to put their denominational rules ahead of their sexuality. At least then they wouldn’t of ended up out on the streets.

    But I’m disturbed by people inhabiting denominational rules like this. If the church turns out to be wrong or changes their mind about gay folks where will that leave them?

    Also, the comments section in his testimonial is not promising. It looks like a great many are already making the jump to the false universal moral standard.

  • Although it just occurred to me how unique Weed’s situation is. I doubt this approach would’ve spared any of the kids I knew. Their parents weren’t exactly good at seeing the subtleties required in such a situation. They were defiantly binary in their mindsets. This really is the same crap in different packaging.

  • Melody

    I have a feeling I know where he got that analogy. Several years ago, when I still believed homosexuality to be unequivocally wrong, I was struggling with how to “witness” to people who were either gay or allies of gay rights. I found and ordered a book for that purpose, called “The Gay Gospel,” written by an “ex-gay” who used to go to MCC in LA. There was a whole chapter dedicated to the history of the gay rights movement, except it didn’t start out that way. It began by using overweight people, and repeated using “homosexuals.” I admit that at the time, I thought it was a good idea, like comparing LGBT people to alcoholics and drug addicts, because in my mind, these people were attracted to the same sex because they had been abused, misguided, neglected–all reasons why people abuse drugs and alcohol, and why they think they’re gay, amen? Anyway, I think that’s what’s going on in Allen’s head. Not to mention his deplorable disdain for anyone who isn’t skinny. That’s a real abomination, not being gay.

  • Thank you, Lymis for your eloquence, knowledge and clarity. I’ve been reading your comments for some time and you are a clear thinker. Indeed, you are a THINKER!

    I’d like to add to something you wrote. *****Civil marriage is no longer “something that has always been, in every society in human history” a purely heterosexual thing. ……. Denying that there actually are, and have been, couples in same sex legal marriages is now, purely and simply, a flat out lie.******

    In fact, even in early Christianity religiously and socially sanctioned same-sex “unions” were not unheard of, perhaps not even uncommon, tho it might seem so after the early Roman Catholic Church wrote them AND women almost totally successfully out of religious history. But some of it remains and was found in, of all places, the Vatican archives by Yale history professor John Boswell (now deceased) and is well documented in his book SAME-SEX UNIONS IN PRE-MODERN EUROPE.

    “Same-sex unions in pre-modern Europe list in great detail some same gender ceremonies found in ancient church liturgical documents…….Records of Christian same sex unions have been discovered in such diverse archives as those in the Vatican, in St. Petersburg, in Paris, in Istanbul and in the Sinai, covering a thousand-years from the 8th to the 18th century.”

    “For the Church to ignore the evidence in its own archives would be cowardly and deceptive. The evidence convincingly shows that what the modern church claims has always been its unchanging attitude towards homosexuality is, in fact, nothing of the sort.”

  • Yeah, funny thing … I don’t recall God saying that He hates “fags,” either.

    I guess I make the mistake of reading my Bible instead of letting hateful people on the street corner tell me what the Bible says.

  • C

    Oh dear Lord… I just re-read my post from last night and realized that I probably shouldn’t post late at night! Just to be clear- I don’t have an issue with people who struggle with weight – AT ALL! My reaction was due to my shock of reading about Fat and Gay as if the two situations are similar. The bottom line: Fat is a medical condition. Gay is NOT. As far as this sentence is concerned: “The #1 thing that urks me with this argument is that fat and gay run in similar circles… ” um. yeah. exactly why I shouldn’t post late at night!

  • David S

    Lymis – Here, Here! I agree entirely. My husband and I stood up in front of our family and friends, we pledged ourselves to each other, and we received the minister’s blessing of our covenant. That was our wedding. It was not our gay wedding. We have a wonderful marriage. We do not have a gay marriage.

  • W

    Lymis, your comment is an example of the eloquence I sorely lack. I posted the link to this thread on my FB page and included your comment, since it’s awesome.

  • W

    Hahahaha…love it!!!

  • Daniel

    One may justifiably be denied the rights of a veteran if one is not , in fact, a veteran.

    What, then, is the reasoning for denying someone their human rights?

  • Naomi


    I had a hard time, when I was coming out to myself, because I knew it was wrong. I mean “knew,” not had ideas about. But luckily I also knew it was me, and right. As Mark Twain put it “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

    So Allen, if you’re straight (as you might be) or mostly straight with a touch of bi (as you probably are, since most are), what you know is conflicting with other things your’e coming to know. And that’s hard. And it’s especially hard because no one will really entertain the discussion. That’s because once you’re on the side of equality, the idea of even entertaining the idea that treating people as if they were not equal is abhorent. And when you’re still on the side of fear of the unknown, it’s too scary to talk about. And a couple of people, of which I hope you are one, are trying to make up their minds and can’t find anyone to talk to. And that’s hard, and I’m sorry.

    Keep reading, keep thinking. Eventually, you will meet someone. Perhaps a couple moving in next door. Perhaps your daughter. Perhaps, who knows, yourself. And then please, have compassion for that person, and treat them as an equal.

  • Ric Alba

    The group of persons who want to do the thing that you call, “retaining the the traditional definition of marriage (hyperbole)” is loaded with good-hearted, intelligent, loving and honorable people, but each and every one of them use the same arguments used by ill-hearted, stupid, hateful and dishonorable people, and the arguments themselves always boil down to ill-will, hatred, fear, judgementalism, etc etc etc. Sure, there are wonderful people using these hateful, dishonorable arguments. So what are we supposed to do?

  • “Your resident lone dissenting voice.”

    Oh, puh-lease!

    Your self-pity is stunning.

    And, no, it is not possible to be an honorable person and denigrate millions of people as less than human. There were no honorable defenders of slavery. There were no honorable defenders of segregation.

    Your sympathy for oppressors is … ummm … something. But it’s not following the model of Christ. Christ stood up to oppressors and called them out for what they were — self-righteous abusers of power.

    So, no, I don’t think that it’s appropriate to play cutesy little games with people who think that hatred is a Christian virtue. Pick a side, Allen. Love or hate.

    If you choose to like hatred, then that’s your choice.

  • Mindy

    Yes. Hear, hear is right!! Lymis, can I just walk around quoting you?

  • Frank

    [hateful “Christian” trash deleted]

  • Lymis,

    I want to stand up and cheer at this response. I wholeheartedly agree. Though, lately, I talked to my pastor (who I do love) that said something to me about exercising his right as a citizen to vote with his conscience. It’s too late now, but what the hell should I have said?

  • Valerie

    There is no love in telling people they are sinners and are going to hell. The best and only witness is to act as Christ and love and encourage your fellow travelers on this journey. Get thee behind me Satan.

  • Scott Amundsen

    All I can say is “AMEN.”

  • Welcome back, Troll. I wondered how long it would take you to get here. You do realize that Allen can’t hear you.

    If you have something to say to him, I suggest calling him or contacting him directly. You are always good for a good laugh and smile, Troll. Better head back to KS. I hear that Phelps has another protest scheduled for your church. 🙂


  • Succinctly said. Thank you, Daniel.

  • Valerie

    I have several corsets myself! But I am a Renni… 🙂

  • Lynn

    Wow…you clearly miss the mark in your opinions. Way to twist words that Mr. Chambers said to fit your own desire to paint Exodus in a negative light. You’re not biased at all now are you? What’s wrong with people choosing to live their lives the way they see fit? There are those who do believe embracing a gay identity is incongruent with their faith. Should they be refused the support to make their OWN decision to live by their beliefs? Based on Mr. Chambers’ letter I don’t see any disguise of God hating anyone in his statements. This is just a classic example of putting words in someone’s mouth that you disagree with.

  • W

    How can someone miss the mark with their own opinions? And what is wrong with John being biased? We here all are when it comes to believing that gay and lesbian people deserve the same rights as straight people.

    If someone’s “religion” keeps them from accepting gay people, they’re free to live in their own little bubble, but they are not free to deny others their equal rights.

  • Melody

    I’m guessing you’re a different Lynn than the one who usually posts here. Because the Lynn I’m thinking of sees through the bullshit of ex-gay ministries like Exodus. The fact that you only see it as a disagreement tells me that you don’t see the danger of these brainwashing, life-ruining institutions. Your straight privilege is showing, and you need to get off the fence and start fighting the likes of Exodus and Alan Chambers. This is not a simple matter of disagreement. This is a matter of life and death for LGBT people everywhere.

  • W

    Amen, Melody!

  • DR

    Lynn, how about you actually take a look at the massive amount of evidence against these organizations instead of maintaining our right to not ever be offended?

    Those who are desperately seeking to belong with you and the other Christians who insist that someone be straight in order to be loved by God are KILLING THEMSELVES when this doesn’t work. And it never works, there are zero patterns of someone being “cured” from being gay. You’re destroying people with the insistence that there is something wrong with them that needs to change if they just pray enough or get in the wrong spiritual program. That you only want to focus on being offended that someone would dare tell you and Alan Chambers the truth is your rather massive blind spot.

    You’re hurting people and we’re saying so. Care about that or continue not to. It’s your choice. But frankly, those of you who are so indignant with those who care enough about the people you’re hurting to try and get you to stop are so deeply self-absorbed that it’s actually frightening to read your comments.

  • DR

    Your right. Not “our” right.

  • Lymis

    As long as you don’t trip over anything and hurt yourself, sure.

  • Lymis

    Well, depending on what level of nuclear tactic you were willing to use on your pastor, you could consider that one of the only times that Bible records Jesus as saying that someone was going to hell was in his parable of the sheep and the goats.

    And that if your pastor is willing to stand before Jesus and explain that the way he felt it appropriate to treat “the least of his brothers” was to vote to deny them the basic civil rights that he himself values, to undercut their families, to deny them insurance, to add huge financial burdens to their lives, and to make it clear that he holds no christian charity toward them, then is he prepared with his answer when Jesus looks at him and says, “That was me, and that’s how you treated me when you had the chance to do otherwise.”

    Or you could just say, “Well, you do that, and so will I, but I need to let you know, I’m very disappointed in you.” That’s less satisfying, but less likely to leave things in smoldering ruins.

  • Lymis

    Thanks for bringing that up. I was aware of it, and own the book and agree, it’s an amazing document and blows the lid off what a lot of people think they know about that aspect of the early Church.

    A lot of people also don’t seem to know that the Church not only hasn’t had a consistent opinion about marriage, but actively refused to have anything to do with solemnizing weddings for centuries, and then for a long time, refused to conduct them inside the church building even after they claimed jurisdiction, generally holding the wedding ceremony on the church steps. People who claim that “marriage has always been a sacrament, and only later did civil authorities get involved”, have it exactly backwards.

    But since for most of these people, “ancient history” started around 1935, I didn’t think that going into that added materially to my argument.

  • People make that choice because of a massive amount of social pressure – of hearing their whole lives from religious authorities, teachers, family, friends, rolemodels that their natural desries are incompatible with their God – when it isn’t true, when there are as many credible versions of their religion that accept those desires as healthy. People do not make that choice because, all other things being equal, they want to be celibate or in a passionless marriage.

    And forcing celibacy on oneself, by working to deny and suppress normal desires, is in itself quite harmful.

  • I mean, weight obsession and body image issues ARE major problems in society – mainly for women, it is sexist. Such obsessions are harmful – eating disorders, despression, suicides. But there are, of course, real harms in, say, simply accepting obsesity as an inevitability one is born with – also leading to decreased quality of life and premature death.

    When accepting one’s sexual oriention and its expression becomes as inherently harmful as obesity, then we can compare Exodus to Jenny Craig. But, here in reality, acceptance is healthy and non-acceptance is even more harmful than body image issues and eating disorders. Which mean sExodus is just adding to the misery, despression and suicides for… absolutely nothing. Hmmm…

    Allen, did you make this comparison specifically because you do view homosexuality as inherently harmful? Because there would be no other reason to think it relevant.

  • So, since I’m not willing to go on a diet, I shouldn’t be loved as I am? Ouch…

  • Okay, based on your second comment, that may have been a little harsh. However, this is personal for me, so let me explain.

    I don’t “struggle” with my weight, nor do I appreciate the blithe advice to “go on a diet” (as though I haven’t done that time after time and realized that it was making me not only tired, cranky, and obsessive, but also fatter) or “go for a run” when I’m already pretty active. Not to mention that there has never been a study, ever, showing any dieters keeping weight off after 5 years. The weight comes back for somewhere in the 90-95% range. (I can post links to studies if you’re interested.) Telling me to go on a diet is telling me to put an enormous amount of time and effort in to gamble with my mental and physical well-being. I literally have better odds at the blackjack table.

    It bothers me that it’s not socially okay for me to have the body that I have, and that it’s considered my job to make that body acceptable to other people. It’s considered perfectly socially acceptable for people to make judgmental comments, or assumptions about my life, my health habits, my worth as a person, or my emotional state, based on my size 22 jeans.

    I don’t want to play oppression olympics or say fat people have it worse than LGBT people, because we don’t. And I understand that Allen made an analogy that you don’t like, and that you find frustrating and hurtful. But I hope you appreciate that I find it hurtful when you make unkind (and ill-informed) comments about fat people.

  • I have one too.

  • n.

    Yeah i don’t think she meant it (or understands), but feeling the same from here, too, at nearly the same size…

    Fat MAY often or usually be genetic/hereditary although of course each person has different complex factors… Gay IS genetic in the sense of wiring.

    There is a bit of similarity.

    The guy making the analogy was assuming that fat acceptance is an awful thing… But there are lots of us attempting to be fit and fat instead of giving up entirely, or trying to be thin when that’s unrealistic… hating ourselves would just make things worse (again a bit of similarity although not completely).

  • The @ symbol is for email addresses not web URLs. Your actual blog address is Correct this in your profile and/or the next time you leave a comment and people will stop getting warnings whenever they attempt to check out your blog.

  • Thank you, Kelly.

    I think what we can all agree on is that Allen made an absolutely terrible analogy. Both because the issues are not comparable, and because it was completely insensitive regarding body types.

    Maybe it’s telling that even with his analogy, Exodus only comes out as good on the LBGT issue as a for-profit dieting company does on weight issues.

  • otter

    What’s wrong with being brainwashed into thinking you are a defective sub-human sinner? Gee Lynn, I dunno. Can’t imagine who wouldn’t jump at the chance to live their life under that boot heel.

  • Yep. I didn’t bother making the argument upthread, because people are calling him on his sanctimonious b.s. left, right, and center, and I’m not going to have any better luck convincing him that fat people are people than the rest of the group is in convincing him that gay people are people.

    There are similarities, but it’s one of those complicated, nuanced things that’s easy to get horribly wrong.

    As far as the fit and fat thing goes, have you checked out Ragen Chastain’s blog ( She’s an amazing dancer and blogger and kind of my hero.

  • n.

    oh i was not aware of her, thanks for the tip!

  • mike moore

    @Lynn. You the kind of fucking idiot who really pisses me off. Your kind of ignorance HARMS people.

    Do your homework before declaring that these wingnuts provide “support” while they are actually driving people into deep depression and suicide. Their own founders, leaders, and members, time and again, renounce these groups, Exodus in particular.

    Spend some time on Google. It’s an internet search engine, not hard to find. Should take no more than 30 minutes.

    Start with “George Alan Rekers” and then work your through Exodus leaders and members.

    Mr. Chambers is an evil person who knows these FACTS better than anyone. No excuses for him.

  • vj

    Your ‘old’ ideas sound very similar to my ‘old’ ideas…. so glad we have both found some new ideas! Good to know I’m not completely alone 🙂

  • vj

    Me too! I HEART Lymis!

  • Scott Amundsen

    I don’t know how we got onto the subject of weight [Scott’s referring to a comment from a man named Allen, which I deleted.–John.] which has nothing whatever to do with sexual orientation, but I do feel I must point out that it isn’t always 100% the result of personal choices. I have suffered from Bipolar Disorder for many years and the medications that I must take to stabilize my mood swings have added a substantial amount of unwanted weight to a body that was slender my whole life until I got sick. I follow a strict diet and while I am not a gym bunny I try to get a reasonable amount of exercise, but my doctors are aware that as long as I am on these meds the best I can hope for is good blood work results when they test my cholesterol, lipids, glucose, and such. It is unlikely that I will ever be able to drop the weight unless they come up with a psychiatric medication that isn’t a weight gainer (and right now they practically all are to one degree or another).

    At any rate, whatever you might THINK when you see someone overweight or even obese, keep in mind that you don’t know them and hold your tongue.

    Sometimes I think we have never grown out of the politics of the schoolyard.

  • Diana A.

    Love what you wrote! Thank you.

    As for how we got on the subject of weight gain…somebody thought it appropriate to compare homosexuality to obesity, Exodus to Jenny Craig and John Shore’s blog to the National Associationfor the Acceptance of Fat People. And so it goes ….

  • n.

    it’s not even only the mental medications, either… i want to say anything where you are made to take steroids, which includes asthma… also i think some of the meds for epilepsy? there’s so many.

    not to even mention illnesses or movement disorders that people might have where they are not able or not advised to move around a lot.

    trying to remember what i was told by friends who are in those situations…

  • n.

    although they had a point. (sort of!)

    ending fat-hatred CAN save lives, too.

    there’s at least one person who died because their doctor told them “don’t come back until you lose 50lb”, they couldn’t, they died of an untreated condition. true story related on a fat-acceptance blog. probably similar things happened to a lot more than one person.

  • n.

    that one is Lyn with one N

  • Scott Amundsen

    Lynn, your remarks prove once and for all something that I have been saying for years: While it is always nice to have straight people who are allies, and we thank God for all of them, the fact remains that no straight person can EVER understand what it is like to be gay. Anymore than any White person can EVER understand what it is like to be Black, Latino, Asian, or any group that is outside what I call the Circle of Privilege.

  • n.

    i’m just reading the linked post (the therapy is actually sort of mentioned there) and … i really wonder if he’s being sincere throughout. but he sounds for real.

    how can he have a great sex life with his wife if he’s ONLY attracted to guys? that means not even to her?!

    i guess i want to still keep up the categories of straight, bi, or gay… and he says he’s not bi, but completely GAY. maybe this defies categories?

    my husband is my only partner ever, so these may be stupid questions…

  • Melody

    Ah, just like my middle name. Gotcha.

  • Scott Amundsen

    “how can he have a great sex life with his wife if he’s ONLY attracted to guys?”

    I confess I cannot answer that one (which is obviously the 64,000 dollar question), but I can tell you this: I saw him and his wife on an Oprah Winfrey Network program about “ex-gay” ministries and in the interview it was revealed that their two kids are adopted.

    Things that make you go “hmmm.”

  • n.

    that’s what i would expect.

    but to see what i mean you have to read that paragraph in the blog post, it’s really … perplexing.

    but i don’t want to say that what they experience isn’t real. because people could tell me and my husband that two autistics couldn’t have intimate feelings (etc!!) and be that close to each other in those ways, and be married for 7yrs, but we are…

  • n.

    i want to just think that he was just enough Bi so that he could fall in love with ONE woman that was THAT special… and he happened to find her. that would make it fit what i think i understand about sexual orientation. but what if i don’t understand it well enough?

  • Scott Amundsen

    Well of course no one can ever really know what is in another person’s mind and heart. Not even one’s own spouse, though sometimes my husband and I do have a spooky way of thinking with one mind.

    As far as Chambers is concerned, however, his body language and choice of words in that interview I mentioned raised a whole bunch of red flags for me. Perhaps I was deliberately reading something into his remarks from my own mind (which is entirely possible), but the whole subject of his marriage seems to make both him and his wife…well, edgy; uncomfortable.

    And then when you add the unquestioned fact that Chambers’s position is Gay = bad, straight = good, the whole thing gets to be at least a tad bit questionable if not downright suspicious.

  • C

    Thank you for your insite. You are correct that I responded out of an immediate reaction to Allen’s comparison. I do believe that all human beings are beautiful exactly the way they are. I am TRULY sorry for my hurtful statements. Not cool. Thank you for correcting me.

  • C

    Thank you n., for extending grace. You are correct, I reacted out of an immediate reaction to the comparison above. Not cool and not o.k. I apologize for my insensitive comment.

  • It’s either that, which makes him mistakenly think it’s good or possible for any gay person who thinks they want that because they have no other choice, or he and his wife just don’t have sex, but a relationship more of close friends than of those in love, which makes him mistakenly think that a life free of romance and passion is good or possible for any gay person who thinks they want that because they have no other choice. We don’t need to know how it works for him to know that his view on the matter is mistaken.

    What we need to do is say that the full range if options is available to anyone, gay or straight, without religious conflict, so everyone can chose what is best and healthy for them with the best information available.

  • His point was actually that accepting fat people was bad, just like not liking Exodus was bad. Massive logic fail.

  • C

    Hi Scott, I take full responsibility for making an insensitive comment below. Unfortunately, I responded (without thinking through my comment) out of an immediate reaction to a comparison in the comments below. If I could delete my comment, I would. In fact, I’d love delete several things that I have said in my lifetime. I stand corrected by those who have shared their stories and anyone whom my comment hurts. What I said was NOT cool AT ALL. Thank you for posting and holding me accountable. I apologize for my hurtful comment. I am TRULY TRULY sorry. I do believe that all people are beautiful exactly the way they are.

  • C

    Just to be clear, I was very very wrong to say what I said. I am sincerely sorry.

  • Diana A.

    Hey C.,

    What you said was mild in comparison to the remark to which you were responding. Moreover, you’ve already apologized several times for your remark. This fat person has forgiven you. Time for you to forgive yourself.

  • Lymis

    This is actually a surprisingly good example – but not for what you think it is.

    Because you are right, people should get equal rights and benefits and equal treatment for equally meeting the conditions to receive them.

    And getting veteran’s benefits is the result of having honorably served in the military. If you are a veteran, you should get those benefits. If you aren’t, you didn’t earn them, so you shouldn’t get them.

    But do you know what the US Supreme Court, in Loving v. Virginia has said that the requirement for being able to marry the partner of your choice is?

    Being human.

    The Supreme Court declared that the right to marry is a fundamental right of all people, and that the government does not have the right to abridge that. If you are a consenting adult not married to someone else, the government does not get to tell you that you can’t marry the person of your choice, if they agree to marry you. States are lawfully able to make exceptions in the case of close family blood ties.

    So, yeah, this is a great example. Because it pretty much shows the view of the people who think we “haven’t earned” the right to have our relationships recognized and haven’t met the minimum standard necessary to deserve it.

    They don’t think we’re people.

    ” I think dialogue just proceeds better from this starting point.”

    I don’t.

  • For whatever it’s worth, I know Allen personally–or used to, years ago. He’s rather recently undergone a significant weight loss. He used to be pretty darn really quite extremely overweight. But … now he’s not! Anyway, I’m guessing maybe fat/weight issues are just sort of naturally on his mind.

  • Mindy

    You are SO right, Scott. I had a little spat over on HuffPo a few days back with a moron who INSISTED he had never experienced “white privilege” a single day in his many years of live in the US as a white male. Never-ever-never. He insisted that “privilege” means “wealth,” and since he wasn’t wealthy, he was tired of people trying to tell him he was privileged. People like him not only live in bubbles, their bubbles are made out of such thick gunk that they can’t see an inch outside of them. And gay bashers who have never had a single meaningful interaction with a gay person live in the exact same bubbles.

  • Mindy

    Oh, hell, I do that, anyway. Graceful, I’m not. 🙂

  • n.

    Yeah, same from here.

  • n.

    Yeah i was kind of being sarcastic; which i think may have backfired into confusing. sorry about that.

  • n.

    Oh that makes a whole different kind of sense now. Thanks for explaining.

  • n.

    I meant Josh Weed, not Alan Chambers.

  • n.

    The blog post says that they’ve had 3 bio daughters and apparently have a sex life that you could describe with every positive adjective there is. seriously, you have to read the article to see how hard it is to imagine how that could be actually true. Also i am curious what people are reading in their faces in the photos there… My face reading is unreliable.

  • n.

    Telling people that they don’t think so-and-so are human is necessary, but difficult. Because people don’t like to think that deep down we think some other group of people aren’t humans. so they may shut down in horror at the suggestion, and either think about it later and figure it out… Or NOT. It’s hard. I like to think that i’m slowly realizing and rooting out those things in my own subconscious(?), but it’s a process…

  • Yeah, I mixed up who you were talking about, too.

  • That does offer some explanation, but now it sounds like he made the comparison because he thinks people can change their orientation if they try hard enough, and who are we to tell them they shouldn’t want to. Mybe he’s thinking that if it was great for him escaping all the problems of being overweight, then who wouldn’t want to escape the stigma of being gay?….. (And we’ll just entirely overlook in this comparison where that stigma comes from…)

  • Lymis

    It’s probably worth pointing out that the implicit assumption is that being “the lone dissenting voice” is inherently a good thing, a sign of moral character, courage, and integrity.

    But that really depends on exactly what one is the lone dissenting voice about, doesn’t it?

    Because, being the lone dissenting voice about human rights violations or corporate injustice is one thing, but being the lone dissenting voice about how aliens live in your refrigerator and steal your beer is something else.

    Some lone voices are knights in shining armor. Others are idiots in tinfoil hats.

  • Diana A.

    “Some lone voices are knights in shining armor. Others are idiots in tinfoil hats.”

    Cool! We now have the “Quote of the Day”!

  • Kristyn

    “We believe that in Christ we have been given completely new hearts and the ability to have power over the sin that remains confined to our earthly flesh.” He’s twisting the Bible verse and making the assumption that homosexual love= old, sinful heart, and heterosexual love=new, good heart. Clearly, a biased statement. I’ve recently come to realize what a straight -white- male -patriarch culture we’re coming out of. This IS EXACTLY why we NEED more women and LGBT people in the ministry. We need more variety in our theological perspectives, so this type of dogma isn’t the dominant one.

  • Lyn

    It’s short for Lynette, so, yeah, one ‘n’.

  • Bmac

    Thank you for writing this John. I have a very dear friend who for years went to Exodus and other “ex-gay” ministries. He went to church and battled his sexuality everyday for years. Then, he met someone. They had a great relationship and it was extremely difficult for him to reconcile his newfound happiness and his faith but he didn’t give up on the relationship. Being in that relationship (which I believe was totally God given) he became a whole new, happy, energetic person instead of the battered and exhausted ex-gay person he was. He really did gain a new heart, peace of mind and a stronger relationship with God. All the while being in a same sex, committed and loving relationship. This is why I know, without a doubt, that Exodus is flat wrong!

  • Oh, wow. Good stuff, Bmac. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Scott Amundsen

    Bmac: Wonderful story; thanks for sharing. Self-acceptance is what really sets the spirit free.

  • I forgive you, too. I’ve totally said crap I wish I could take back too. Everybody does, and being mad and hurt makes it really easy to do that.

  • I love how people willfully misunderstand “privilege” to mean “you’re filthy rich, everyone is nice to you, and you have a pony that poops rainbows” so that they can deny its existence.

  • Scott Amundsen

    Please, don’t worry about it. I should be the one apologizing; a second look at what I posted showed me that I came across as offended when I really wasn’t; I just felt that the conversation had gone off topic and Diana A very kindly pointed out the reference to Jenny Craig, etc, which I had not seen.

    No apology necessary.


  • Scott Amundsen

    Anyone who thinks that white males don’t still hold the advantage in this country (unless of course someone finds out they’re gay) is just being willfully blind, deaf, and stupid.

  • That would make sense. If sexuality is on a continuum, there could be all sorts of variations. (Apparently the terms “heteroflexible” and “homoflexible” are kind of middle points used to describe someone who’s primarily attracted to one gender, but occasionally the other.) He talks about sex as more of an emotional intimacy thing, so maybe in the same way that people who are asexual can still have a romantic orientation, it’s possible for someone to be homosexual (or heterosexual) but biromantic, if that’s a word.

    Which is not to assign him to a category that he doesn’t identify as, of course. How anybody chooses to identify themselves is their call. But regardless of label, it’s not a good thing to assume that what’s true for you is true for other people in similar situations.

  • Scott Amundsen

    For me, the jury is still out on the continuum theory, but I am neither a psychologist nor a scientist; such things are just a bit out of my league. Anecdotally speaking I have seen little evidence of it; most of the people I have encountered who are not heterosexual fall into one of the categories of LGBTI; Q suggests to me a temporary condition.

    That being said, whether I am correct or not in these observations, I still consider Chambers to be compromised, because his stance on the whole thing is basically, “It’s okay to BE gay so long as you don’t ACT gay.” Putting himself on some imaginary pedestal because he has what he has convinced himself is the “right” kind of sex is to my mind an act of the utmost arrogance. For one thing I don’t think God really cares very much what we do with what’s below the belt so long as the parties involved are consenting and no one is getting hurt; for another, I have been a Christian for forty-four years and to lift six “clobber verses” out of the Bible and use them as the sum total of how God supposedly expects us to live our sexual lives is idiotic and extremely bad scholarship. You cannot pull a sentence or two out of ANY work of literature and use it as a guideline without examining and discussing the context in which it was written. Moreover, the issue of translation needs to be addressed, because there are literally millions of English Bibles out there that use the word “homosexual,” which did not even exist until the 1880s, to translate words that on a closer look do not mean anything of the kind.

  • Diana Avery via Facebook

    Call me a fool, but I consider this to be a step in the correct direction: A small step it’s true, but a step. I especially like this: “Chambers has cleared books endorsing ex-gay therapy from the Exodus online bookstore in recent months. He said he’s also worked to stop member ministries from espousing it.” On the other hand, I do know where Wayne Beson is coming from on this and agree with him: “‘We appreciate any step toward open, transparent honesty that will do less harm to people,’ said Wayne Besen, a Vermont-based activist who has worked to discredit ex-gay therapy. ‘But the underlying belief is still that homosexuals are sexually broken, that something underlying is broken and needs to be fixed. That’s incredibly harmful, it scars people.'” And so the battle continues.

  • Allie

    Yep. I can tell you that as a teen model, I ate much more junk food than I do as an adult fat lady. I haven’t lost willpower; I’ve gained it over the years. I didn’t make good choices to be thin and I didn’t make bad choices to be fat. It does have something to do with choices, but not much.

    Your meds are an extreme example, but I ran into an example myself: Claritin allergy meds. I was allergic to my Christmas tree so I started taking Claritin while it was in the house. Overnight I went from a regular half-pound every 2 days weight loss (I was on a strict diet and exercise regimen then) to doing exactly the same workout, eating exactly the same number of calories, and losing no weight. Christmas ended, tossed the tree, went off Claritin, and instantly started losing half a pound every 2 days again. Online reading found many Claritin users have had the same experience.

  • Scott Amundsen

    “The group’s president, Alan Chambers, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the conference would highlight his efforts to dissociate the group from the controversial practice usually called ex-gay, reparative or conversion therapy.”

    Talk is cheap, Alan. You say one thing for public consumption but your whole life contradicts your statement.

    “The lady doth protest too much,” or perhaps it should be “Chambers speak with forked tongue.”

  • Bmac, you have just described my partner to a tee. She battled against this bad theology for years, from a very young age, bouncing in and out of the church over her being gay.

    Before we fell in love, she had been single and intentionally celibate in one church community for 10 years. She was used by her church as an example – proof that one could overcome being gay. When we fell in love, she kept saying that she was “shattered,” and that she also had this deep sense that what had happened, what was moving in her heart, was good and right.

    Over the years, it’s become clear what has been shattered: a deathly hold on her soul, on her very being. Folks who knew her before (those who will still talk to her anyways; sadly, many have cut her out of their lives) have commented on the remarkable change they see in her – she is much more relaxed, happier, hopeful. She herself describes a feeling of freedom that she has never before felt, even on the best days of her “obedience” to the theology that condemned her very person.

    What fruit does Exodus think it is producing? I grieve terribly those who are pretending to see the Emperor’s new clothes because they are afraid of going to hell… In my best (rare) moments, I believe that Alan Chambers is simply one of the afraid. No more, no less. He is harming himself immeasurably too. It’s hard for me to stay in that gentle place though, when I know so well the horrific wounds he and his organization are *carving* into others to keep their own fear at bay.

  • Scott Amundsen

    Mindy, I think you just summed up the whole thing in one single sentence: the Emperor has no clothes on but no one has the guts to say it.

  • Diana A.

    Your instincts on this are probably better than mine. Still, I am naive enough to hope that Mr. Chambers is changing –if ever so slowly.

  • my thoughts

    I myself haven’t seen news that science can now say that people are born that way based on…. something as indisputable as, say, testing to find out if you have jewish ethnic background or the testing the sex of babies in the womb.(and I do believe it would be the lead story on the 6pm news if this were true ). You can’t test in the same way for ‘gayness’ so, then, there is room for disagreement. Unless you can, you can assert things about it, but they don’t have firm enough scientific foundation. That means that those who disagree with you have a legitimate basis of disagreement. And the rhetoric ought to be civil. But I find a lot of ‘snark’ in the article.

  • Well, despite the inadequacies of your 6pm news, there is quite a bit of evidence, such that it is now the consensus view of the scientific community. You can’t “test” for it in terms of specific genes yet, but they know genetics plays a large role (with in utero environment – before birth – doing the rest) based on twin studies, which are used for measuring genetic influence for a wide variety of things.

  • TheIntellectualGerbil

    err … it is one thing to say “we are not 100% sure how/why people are gay” but a completely different story to say “you can unlearn your sexual orientation”.

    science knows by now that genes do play an important role and that being gay is not caused by a single gene but that the situation is a LOT more complex. it also knows that it is not a learned behaviour.

    as for praying away the gay: the track record of exodus international and all the other nut-jobs is the perfect ground to prove that you can not unlearn being gay.

    other than getting some people to surpress their actual nature for some time, in order to be more “acceptable” for their conservative environment, exodus internationals program has no effect at all. this surpression however leads to gay men and women entering heterosexual partnerships in an attempt to live a lie. in most cases this “construct” falls apart after a few years with the gay partner finally coming out (again) as he/she can no longer take it.

    so cheers for exodus international: not only do they instill self-loathing in their victims, causing all kinds of psycological proglems from depression to substance abuse, they multiply the number of ruined lives by causing fake marriages too … how very loving and truly christian …

  • That’s a knowing answer to a difficult qutesion

  • charles

    there is a Winston Churchill quote which may be applicable here…. “Americans always do the right thing, after they have tried everything else”.

    this is a replay of the Black Civil Rights movement-

  • Scott Amundsen

    I like the Churchill quote: it appeals to the cynic in me. With regard to the parallel between the fight for LGBT equality and the Black Civil Rights movement; I would suggest that at bottom all struggles for equality share certain similar characteristics, but there are differences to consider as well. And probably the biggest difference the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s and the current struggle over LGBT rights is that the opposition is constantly trying to shoehorn the concept of *choice* into the argument. Only an idiot would suggest that there is something sinful or immoral about being born Black, but the idea that being LGBT is a *choice,* and a sinful one at that, is one of those annoying memes that keep popping up from time to time just to stink up the place and we are forced once again to get out the Lysol.

  • Elizabeth

    Appreciate the internal link for background, John! Although not so much I’d give up my year of blissful ignorance.

  • Lissy

    Well, I think of it like this: if being gay is a choice, then sexual preference is a choice. And I don’t remember CHOOSING to be a heterosexual. I didn’t wake up one day and say, “Hmm, I think I’ll be hetero.” Do you remember making such a choice?

  • Tim W

    When I first saw the news I was hopeful too, but after digging further and reading John’s other post, “An Open Letter…” he pretty much summed it up well with this quote,

    “Then, as far as I can tell, the only thing that you can be actually saying is that you regret not what Exodus was, but only how Exodus went about being what it was.

    And if that’s the case, then of course you’re not really apologizing at all. Then you’re no different from the guy saying, “I apologize for being the leader of a group of white-hooded KKK guys who burned a cross on your lawn. That was wrong. You niggers still need to go, of course. But we’re gonna stop with the hoods and the cross burnings. People just don’t get behind that the way they used to. So we’re gonna regroup, lose the name ‘KKK,’ and come up with a more acceptable way of promoting what we believe. Isn’t that great?!”