An open letter to Exodus International’s super-remorseful Alan Chambers

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Dear Mr. Chambers:

I am writing in regard to your apology yesterday for all the devastating things that your “ex-gay” organization, Exodus International, has done to LGBTQ people and their families over the past thirty-seven years. It’s so heartening when a person apologizes for how wrong they’ve been.

And congratulations on all the press coverage your apology is receiving! First you issued your I Am Sorry statement, right after that you announced, during your opening address at last night’s 38th Annual Exodus Freedom Conference, that Exodus was shutting down—and then, the very next day, you starred in a massively promoted tear-jerker of a TV show being broadcast on the Oprah Winfrey Network!

Why, it’s almost like you’ve been strategically planning your heartfelt apology for months! I’m sure you haven’t, of course: nobody is so low that they would turn a moment of piercing remorse brought on by the realization of how destructively wrong they’ve been into a manifestly self-serving, blatantly opportunistic, emotionally manipulative media event.

But the timing of it all sure worked out well for you, didn’t it? Yesterday you were the head of a once powerful organization that had become utterly discredited, maligned, and irrelevant, because it was founded upon the life-ruining lie that God is righteously angered by any gay person who does not pray away their gay. And now, with all lights turned toward you, you’re launching Reduced Fear, the brand-new organization run by you and all your friends at Exodus International!

How great for you is all that? Way to go!

I have just a couple of quick questions, though. And since I know that you want to be as open and transparent as possible about everything you and Exodus are doing, I thought I’d go ahead and ask them.

Amongst the many conciliatory-sounding things you wrote in your apology are buried these words:

I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex …

and also these:

I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage.

Now, my guess is that, with everything going on, you got so busy that you simply forgot to edit out of your apology those two statements. I figure that must be the case; otherwise, one is forced to conclude that you haven’t in the slightest changed your belief that gay people can and should pray away their gay. And if you still believe that the Bible proscribes, denounces, and condemns homosexuality, then  … well, then what exactly are you apologizing for? About what are you feeling remorseful that matters?

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?!”

So … isn’t that message pretty wholly the opposite of reducing fear? I think it is.

Assuming that you had only made an editing mistake or two in your I Am Sorry, I next listened very carefully to your speech opening the Exodus conference, in which you announced the closing of Exodus International and the opening of Reduced Fear (the website for which, btw—and contrary to what you indicate in your talk—is not, as of this writing, up). To the members of your audience, most if not all of whom still believe that if they only become strong enough Christians they can stop being gay, you said:

[The shutting down of Exodus] doesn’t mean I believe anything differently than I did a decade ago, when my message was different from it is today. … I’m not saying that we abandon what we believe.

So may I ask: Would you please take another look at my questions above?

You concluded your speech with these words:

My board and leadership and I want to see reconciliation and restoration in the church. And we believe the time is now for the church to open its door, and allow the marginalized in … so that they, along with us, can experience mutual transformation.

During times of crises, like natural disasters, we don’t stop and ask people who need help whether they’re gay or straight, or anything else. We see someone in need, and we help them. And it’s time for the church to get back into the business of serving and loving people in need. …

In the midst of this message tonight, and in the midst of this scary reality of what in the world do we do about this community [of Exodus International members]: Christ died to give you peace. The King is on the throne. And you can trust Him. …

We [the members of Exodus International/Reduced Fear] are to serve as missionaries in this culture. … We must be a beacon of hope. …

While [the closing of Exodus] is a painful thing … something better is coming. There is more. This doesn’t negate our stories. It doesn’t negate what God is calling you to do. It’s just simply a new time. [Alan: it was awesome the way, right after you said that, you froze in place, and for a full eight and one-half seconds I (I timed it!) silently stared directly into the camera you'd been ignoring for the whole previous hour! Boy. Way to use your super-handsomeness to drive home the point that you and Exodus are like a phoenix on the rise!]

My prayer for us this week is that we have an amazing last Exodus conference …  that we celebrate the amazing things that have happened over the last thirty-eight conferences and thirty-seven years. …

We are the church. Amen? And we have good news to share. And it’s time that we share the good news of Jesus Christ.

So, as I say, I’m just a tad confused. Not once in your speech—which I’ll be the first to say was veritably jammed with talk about God and forgiveness and healing and welcoming and redemption and reconciliation and peace and love and joy and salvation—did I hear you express regret for you and Exodus having spent over three decades helping to destroy the lives of gay people and their families through your peddling and capitalizing upon the message that God’s greatest desire for every gay person is that they cease to be gay.

I heard you say that you regret the way in which Exodus communicated that message. I heard you say that you regret the way in which people now think of Exodus. I heard you say how proud you are of Exodus. And I definitely heard you repeatedly say that it’s high time for the church to start welcoming gay people, and all others who are marginalized and “in need.”

But (as opposed to them being “in need”) I never heard you say that it’s okay for people to be gay. You didn’t come close to saying anything like it. What you said—though one must resolutely gaze into the haze of the great many other things you said before this critical message of yours clearly emerges—is that your new house, Reducing Fear, will be built upon the same dark foundation upon which the ruins of Exodus now sit.

Throughout your talk, you were definitely feeling unabashedly enthused and proud about Reducing Fear becoming, as you put it any number of times, the “father” of the church. (“[Exodus] is the older brother [of the church]. And it’s time we became the father.”)

I assume you’re aware of this, but just in case: acute remorse usually engenders a sense of profound humility. A lot of people find heart-wrenching regret incompatible with pride and ambition. I must admit that I am one such person. When I feel the full weight of something egregiously immoral that I have done, the last thing I want to do is go wading amongst the very people whom I’ve damaged, and start telling them about all my new plans for championing their best interests. But maybe that’s just me.

You, Mr. Chambers, are a master communicator. So I am certain that in short order you will make clear that you do, in fact, feel truly remorseful, and that the closing of Exodus International, and the launching in its place of Reducing Fear, is something more than what just now I’m afraid it can only appear to be, which is an appallingly arrogant, cruelly exploitative, and shamelessly self-serving expression of a cynicism so absolute it borders on the sublime.

 

Not altogether unrelated: As Alan “Pray Away the Gay” Chambers ties his tongue in a knot and  What today’s evangelicals are telling gay people.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • Tim Northrup

    Exactly what I expected of you, John. Incisive writing after a bit of digging into the actual rhetoric. They still believe that “love the sinner hate the sin” trope–and that is the problem.

  • Michelle P.

    Thank you! I’ve, of course, seen the stuff on the end of Exodus International, but don’t know enough to evaluate what is going on there. And I hadn’t really seen anything that the president had said, other than articles that said he apologized. But nothing was really said about what the apology was about or what this ‘reducing fear’ thing was going to do or what the involved belief structure was consisting of.

    The holes you’ve pointed out in Chambers’ words and actions are enough to tell me that I won’t be expecting any substantive change from him or his organization.

  • Hall

    You are one amazing and beautiful writer. Wonderful analysis and – I’m sure – spot on. Thank you Mr Shore.

  • Amelia

    excellent article!

  • Peet

    I saw the big giant mea semi-culpa yesterday and was trying to make sense of it. What exactly was he doing? Why now? After so many years of holding to the wrong end of a stick, what kernel of information finally pierced through? Turns out to be not much of a change at all. More like a rebranding effort. Same mission, new font styles. I just didn’t have the courage to look that deeply into it. I didn’t want to see the cynicism. So thanks John for helping me look at this dark little corner of the world with a lot more clarity.

  • http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/russellsaunders Russell Saunders

    Oh, thank God I’m not the only person not falling all over himself to accept this apology at first blush.

  • http://Www.cindymurphythinkingoutloud.blogspot.com Cindy

    Thank you John Shore for stating (in your usual entertaining way) what seems to me obvious but what most people seem to be missing or just afraid to say. I’m tired of people praising Alan Chambers “apology” and the closing of Exodus International as though it is anything more than the typical rebranding that we are seeing again and again as people try to sell the same crap in a shiny new package.

  • Mark

    I believe PJ O’Rourke once said upon hearing that Robert McNamara had somewhat apologized for McNamara’s part in the Vietnam War, that the apology should had been attached to a suicide note.

    • Lymis

      That’s a bit harsh. I could, though, welcome an announcement through his PR rep that he’s chosen to leave public life forever for a life of monastic seclusion and prayers for God’s forgiveness, rather than “Nobody is sending us money any more, so we’ve decided to try to refresh the brand under a new name.”

      • n.

        i misread that as “masochistic seclusion”

        • Elizabeth

          Nothing wrong with a little self-flagellation.

  • Janet

    John, A+++.

  • Blake

    Chambers knows his audience. Have you seen the Q&A w/ Jeff Chu up on the Atlantic? It is certainly aimed at a different set of folks…

    http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/06/lets-do-something-different-the-end-of-the-worlds-leading-ex-gay-ministry/277039/

    Overall I’m excited. Whether all of this is purely mercenary… well… I’m not sure that really matters.

    • Jill

      Yet Mr. Chambers is quoted here to say, “…I realize there will be people who won’t forgive.” The context of his statement may attempt to be conciliatory, but it is no one else’s decision what another person’s forgiveness path is or isn’t. The onus is NOT on the victims of this horrid group, the responsibility to earn forgiveness is on him and his group’s every action from this moment on.

      This does not get to be his moment of martyrdom because, ‘gee, I said I was sorry… even though “my belief of sexual expression remains the same”.’

      Mr. Chambers has held the public eye for his beliefs for far too long– it doesn’t simply turn on a dime, and he needs to experience the consequences of his actions against people he now claims to love and respect. The simple fact that he actually refers in this article to his now potentially uncertain “income” tells me exactly what he’s concerned about.

      If he opens a fully public blog or chat space that allows every unheard voice, every justified, angry victim of bigotry and ‘ex-gay’ bullshit, and concedes to every single one, genuinely, remorsefully, only then might he have something worth listening to. But not a moment sooner. Yawn… he’s become boring again.

      • Tim Northrup

        Remember that this is a man who still “struggles” with this himself. If he ever gets over his self-loathing and realizes what damage he’s done to himself, his wife and family by insisting on living a life that can’t truly make him happy, maybe he’ll change. I won’t believe he has changed until I see a divorce, as bad as that might seem.

        However, I guess I view forgiveness differently. I’m way over this group (and others) harms to me personally. What I will continue to hold a grudge against are these types of continuing charades–there is no way to forgive an ongoing action on this scale.

        • Jill

          It sounds like you describe actions speaking louder than words. That is what I think about too. I’ve had to make amends in my life before, and it made me understand how words are important, how they have power to wound and to heal, but what I do in conjunction with my words are what show my true character.

  • http://www.susanirenefox.com Susan Irene Fox

    John, I’m not in a position to judge…and I can’t begin to know the hurt and destruction the organization caused. However, as a follower of Jesus, I must keep an open heart. As I read through Alan Chambers’ apology, what I saw was the following statement: “For the rest of my life I will proclaim nothing but the whole truth of the Gospel, one of grace, mercy and open invitation to all to enter into an inseverable relationship with almighty God.” This speaks to me of inclusion, not exclusion. And whatever his opinion of marriage and sex, it tells me he knows that Jesus has the same love for every equally.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Susan: You are in a position to judge. Anyone capable of critical thought is automatically, by default, in a position to judge. And if you judge that what someone is doing is, or is going to, cause someone else harm, then you are morally obliged to do what you can to stop that harm from occurring. And claiming to be keeping “an open mind” doesn’t alleviate you of that responsibility.

    • Lymis

      It’s probably because you haven’t been on the receiving end of this sort of Christian “love” for your entire life, but those of us who have are very, very sensitized to what people like this don’t say.

      What he didn’t say is that his form of “inclusion” involves welcoming gay people to celebrate our lives and our loves and our relationships, to share with us and our families the ups and downs of life and helping us to enter into an inseverable relationship with God that includes treating our sexual orientation as something that happens to be true about us rather than as a sin to be repented or a burden to be lifted.

      It’s so common for Christians to want gay people to come to their church to be “freed” of homosexuality – and of all people, Chambers, who led one of the first and one of the largest organizations to proclaim that, simply can NOT be unaware of that – that unless it is explicitly stated that being gay is completely spiritually neutral, we have every reason to believe that that is precisely their intention.

      For Chambers, in an apology for the damage his organization has done to people not to explicitly say that this utterly fundamental view has changed can only reasonably be interpreted as meaning that it hasn’t. That’s what John is reacting to.

      If the leader of an organization that had been vehemently anti-woman, led political movements to bar women from employment, paint women as sexually irresponsible and damaging to society, fought women’s inclusion in higher education and employment, and constantly told men to keep women barefoot and pregnant came out with an apology for hurting women’s feelings and gosh, from now on women are welcome to come to lunch, wouldn’t you think something was missing?

      It’s impossible to read this as anything other than “We’ve decided to stop claiming you can be cured, but we intend to keep calling you sinners.”

      Thanks, I’ll pass.

      • http://www.susanirenefox.com Susan Irene Fox

        John and Lymis: Thanks for your replies.

        John, I said I was keeping an open heart. Whatever Alan has done, and whatever is in his heart, he will answer for, and God will be his judge.

        Lymis, thank you for the analogy. You’ve added to my understanding.

        The way I choose to follow Jesus is to keep my heart open for the possibility that people may, in fact, change; may, in fact, be truly repentant. My job is to love and forgive, and continue to allow the Spirit to work in me and through me. I will not accomplish walking with the Lord through anger, resentment, entitlement, or hate.

        I have had my own share of discrimination, albeit small compared to yours; I have chosen to do my best, with God’s help, to walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Sometimes I succeed; sometimes I fail. This is my aim, and it’s the only way I know how to build His kingdom.

        • Soulmentor

          Susan Irene Fox. I think you missed a name somewhere in there. Pollyanna. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pollyanna

          Even Jesus reacted with anger at times and he obviously held disdain toward religious leaders who’s religious philosophies were essentially lies. He called them “hypocrites” and “whited sepulchres” . Those are NOT loving words.

          You sound like the kind of Christian for whom a little indignant outrage would be healthy medicine.

          • DR

            While I understand the cynicism, I find myself pretty unsettled this evening that there isn’t room here on this blog for some to have hope in this slight movement toward the light (if only for their sake), and the ability for them to express that without being called “pollyanna”. I get it – I do – but perhaps the fact that it’s not sitting well is something I need to pay attention to.

          • Jill

            DR, I think there is room for all of it– cynicism, anger, hope, possibility. But it remains that what Alan Chambers said are simply words. Genuine words of contrition are a step in the right direction, but they are only a step.

            And words can be false, words can hide other meanings and intentions too, obviously. I’m not attempting to convince you of anything, nor do my doubtful comments make me right, but all of this publicity and spotlight are only on his words, not his actions.

            Is the now-defunct organization going to refund money to the families they have wounded or broken? Mr. Chambers claims Exodus saved him, and others too. But what about the ones they hurried toward an early grave? An apology just isn’t enough IMO.

          • Lymis

            I think that we need to make the distinction between hope and expectation, and the distinction between the general and the specific.

            I’m both hopeful and confident that things are improving for LGBT people both in the church and the broader society. I hope that Chambers is sincere and either simply inapt with his phrasing, or has made a genuine but only partial move toward the transformation he appears to be claiming. At the same time, while I’m willing to withhold final judgement, I’d feel both naive and that I was betraying everyone he and everyone like him has hurt if I simply took him at his word and said, “Oh, well, that’s okay then” or if I gave any impression that he can overcome decades of consciously and deliberately destroying people’s lives by simply apologizing.

            And, I can have the absolute conviction that the general arc is moving toward tolerance, inclusion, and genuine acceptance of LGBT people without having to knee-jerk a belief that every specific individual can be trusted to be telling the truth.

            I’d frankly have more trust in this apology if it weren’t for the timing and circumstances. Exodus has been hemorrhaging money and members, and has been under increasing attack by the anti-gay people since it started moderating its message. This apology comes at the same time as the announcement of a new organization. Given that the single most important fundamental issue of his previous organization was not caring who it hurt or what people’s actual truth was, it’s hard not to be skeptical of a new organization that happens to align completely with current trends.

            If he had done this 5 or 10 years ago, I doubt I’d question it. If he made the apology, worked as a private person for a year and then started a new organization – think of Mel White and Soulforce – I’d be more prepared to believe that the new organization was a result of the transformation and the driving need to make reparations for the damage he did.

            I will be thrilled to find that in this case, my skepticism turned out to be wrong. I would love for him to become a shining beacon for LGBT inclusion in the Church and in society. But even if he does, I don’t think the skepticism is unjustified.

            After as many lives as he has, in some cases literally, destroyed, the burden of proof lies with him, not with us.

  • Jill

    John, as for me I could feel the energy of this piece like gale force winds past my face. Ever vigilant, ever courageous to say what needs to be said– this is what I come here for.

    I’ll continue to wait for Mr. Chambers’ prostrate sackcloth-and-ashes capitulation before what he has to say holds any interest to me and of course, removes his obvious vested commercial interest from trying to play people like fiddles. But I won’t be holding my breath.

  • Judy Volkar

    He has not changed his opinion of rejection, just wrapped it in pretty paper.

    • Jill

      Maybe if the guy realized this is not his area of expertise finally and instead pursues a new career in, say, welding or carpet cleaning or frozen yogurt vending, I might be inclined to believe there’s something of sincerity in it.

      You don’t get to now make your money on attempting to fix what you yourself broke. Failed.

  • Mackenzie

    I presume it’s a change from “you can turn straight” to “well you can’t turn straight, but you can be celibate,” which at least isn’t a lie.

  • http://www.godofevolution.com Tyler Francke

    Great post, John. Incisive and funny, as always. After I saw Alan Chambers’ missive yesterday, my thought was that, if he were really that remorseful, he would shut Exodus down. When you have a history like Exodus’, even the most heartfelt apologies are going to do more harm than good by reopening old wounds.

    Of course, “disbanding” Exodus to grab headlines and immediately rebranding it as a largely identical organization with the same team in place isn’t exactly what I had in mind.

  • Mindy

    Outstanding. I was so pleased to hear Exodus was dissolving . . . but really, it’s not. Just being renamed, to try to spread the hate and fear self-loathing as far as the eye can see!! Ooooh, goody.

  • Ryan

    I agree that much of his words ring hollow, that he still doesn’t fully get the impact of his work, and that his new organization will not suddenly become a bastion of progressive Christian thought. Nonetheless, it is remarkable.

    Regardless of what his new organization becomes, the old one is dead. He has literally renounced the destructive idea that you can “pray the gay away.” In the Atlantic interview, he said:

    “What I renounce: the whole gay-to-straight process. That the goal is changing your sexual orientation, which we realized isn’t something that happens. That that’s what makes you acceptable to God. And that gay people couldn’t ever be acceptable to God. ”

    Does that mean he’s suddenly LGBT-affirming and a political ally? No. But it is a drastic shift, and it is one that could potentially save lives. The idea of mandating celibacy is a bummer, but it’s a helluva lot different than saying, “If you just believe hard enough, you won’t like dudes anymore!” That’s the kind of teaching that drove so many people to suicide. Mandating celibacy isn’t doing LGBT believers any favors exactly, but at least it’s not deceitful on such an insidious and deeply traumatic level.

    We haven’t yet entered a world of sunshine and rainbows for LGBT Christians, but this change is one less burden to bear.

    • Paul

      Ryan – did you read the article? The point is he HASN’T renounced anything, despite what he says. He’s repackaged it.

      • Ryan

        He hasn’t renounced his theology, and he hasn’t renounced position on marriage, but he has quite clearly renounced gay-to-straight therapy and admitted it doesn’t work. That certainly doesn’t make up for his previous actions or make him suddenly trustworthy, but it is an important milestone nonetheless.

        • Elizabeth

          He’s renounced poverty and obsolescence. Period.

          • Hanna

            exactly.

        • guytryingtounderstand

          There is an organization called the Gay Christian Network and they have done a lot of work to bring hope and peace and Christian community to the lose who have struggled to find it elsewhere. Within this group there is a subgroup who believe that sexuality is innate but that homosexuality is a sin. They are referred to as side b. I want to be clear that this is not a position I ascribe to or believe should be advocated. This side B position is basically what Alan Chambers is now taking. Now as long as that conviction remains a personal conviction and is not tried to be forced on others as his interview with Jeff Chu in the Atlantic seems to imply, I ask is there not room for those that disagree with us n our faith? Are we going to be as cold and callous as those who have pushed the ex-gay position on us for so long, refusing to recognize someone trying to do better? Are we going to reject someone completely because they do not believe 100% with us about sexuality? Where is the grace and how will someone ever change if we do not help them along? I find the actions of Exodus and Alan completely deplorable, but I believe if we want to see real change we must show grace as grace has been shown to us.

          • Elizabeth

            Disagreeing is what we do best around here. ;) And who agrees with anyone 100% (except, hopefully, your mate) on sexuality? There’s room for him and every other self-promoting faith healer in Christianity’s tent. As to his media manipulation abilities, the proof is in the pudding. I’d never heard of him until today. Quite the coincidence.

          • n.

            well this whole thing only happened after he met with GCN last year, so…

          • http://Fordswords.net David S.

            I agree that we need to be gracious. If this were a guy who had a personal belief and applied it only to himself (and his family with their informed consent), then I would fully agree with you. He’s not that. He’s now the former leader of an infamous organization “ministering” to Christians who are gay.

            I personally have qualms with GCN and their endorsement of so-called side b theology. I can appreciate that Justin Lee wants to provide a safe space for all gay Christians, but I believe he gives moral cover to churches who hold to the devistatingly toxic conservative sexual ethic.

            I would not reject Alan; but I can never endorse or condone any public effort he is involved in as long as he would tell any gay kid that s/he is deeply flawed and therefore unworthy of romantic love.

          • Gus

            I just have the feeling he just told gays and lesbians he will no longer call for their beheading, now only life imprisonment.

            How beneficent!

          • Susan

            It is a step in the evolution that is worth celebrating. He did stay when others just left and oversaw the closing of the Exodus ideology organization. If indeed he is now side B, then staying to create dialogue for his Exodus folks about side A, Side B coexistence and respect, then maybe this is strategically sound to help those ready for evolution to evolve with him and avoid them replacing him and carrying on without him. Give them a home and a new small step that is possible, rather than abandoned. Gay Christian Network A/B conversations helped me love my anti-gay family as openhearted as possible and still lay out the question that might incubate and cause self analysis. Being openly me, and openly hurt, and openly questioning has created evolution, and this event will hopefully take it up a notch. Live and Let Live is a notch up from all out war, and I welcome him if he earns trust with action. I will watch and see.

          • Susan

            This is the nonviolent, noncompliance of Gandhi. Nonviolence means we watch and stay connected and holding accountable each side (including us) to individual freedom and mutual respect. Soul Force has great stuff on this. They also gave me strength and perspective to engage but stay centered in Love. In the end, with evolution and action to create the evolved new world, they are us, all is one.

        • http://Fordswords.net David S.

          Ryan,

          He renounced reparative therapy a year and a half ago. What he fails to renounce is the idea that people who are gay are unworthy of romantic love (unless they enter into a mixed orientation marriage like his). Hate and ignorance don’t need Exodus to survive.

          If the church is truly sorry and wants to love people who are gay better, it must change its theology. It must believe differently. That includes Alan Chambers.

    • DR

      I agree with you and I think this absolute position many are taking on being certain about anything regarding Alan Chambers is kind of arrogant. We have no clue what motivated this guy and if people want to celebrate a partial win in this? More power to them and to you. I am choosing to celebrate what you see in all this, I see it too.

      Christians like Alan have earned the skepticism John and others are expressing. It makes a lot of sense they feel this way, the narcissism and manipulation of Christian morality activists is so entrenched in Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christianity that it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see this level of skepticism. That some are taking a hard line is expected and appreciated, high standards of complete and total repentance – including repair to the GLBT community – including a change in theology – are required. I guess I’m aware of my own ridiculously long learning curve with all of this and as a result, I’m hopeful that Alan is on the right path.

  • Susan

    Trust is earned. When anti-gay gay folks evolve, gay folks look for action consistent with the evolution. Heartfelt consistent action to make amends and work to create the new evolved world earns trust over time. Time will tell, and every small step forward makes progress. Now is the time to hold the spotlight on the evolution, which may not be but a baby step away from where they’ve been.(just re-branding survival)

    Thanks for doing that John.

  • https://www.facebook.com/nathanmichaelblack Nathan Black

    I won’t rejoice that Exodus is shutting down. I won’t rejoice until every organization that Exodus inspired shuts down. I won’t rejoice until every church that used Exodus’ teachings to justify the abuse and victimization of their LGBT children publicly repent and reject those teachings. I won’t rejoice until all the governments and societies around the world who were emboldened by Exodus’ existence and activism and created laws that criminalize and demonize LGBT people dismantle those laws and start protecting all of their citizens. Exodus may be dead, but its perverse, abusive and deadly “babies” live on. And make no mistake, Alan Chambers is just re-branding the organization to be a kinder, gentler anti-gay machine.

  • http://fordswords.net David S

    There’s a guy named Mark Yarhouse whose research on sexual orientation change efforts undergirds the “you can change” fallacy (footnoted in Family Research Council “myths” pamphlet #1-3). He also devised a whole new way of shaming and judging people who are gay with his book “Homosexuality and the Christian”. In that book he writes that orientation change is unlikely (not impossible); even so, *identifying* as gay is a rebellious, unholy, sinful choice. He says that openly gay people are making their sexuality their identity rather than making their identity in Christ (a problem, it seems, reserved for those with homosexual orientations). Yarhouse is the architect of the framework John called out in this post:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2013/04/16/what-todays-evangelicals-are-really-telling-gay-people/

    Alan Chambers has been parroting Mark Yarhouse for the last couple of years when he says things like “The opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality, it’s holiness”.

    THIS GUY HAS DONE A TON OF HARM.

    Yarhouse is suddenly now oh-so concerned about the shame felt by Christians who are gay and the deleterious effects thereof. His latest efforts are aimed at reducing the effects of shame. HOW MESSED UP IS THAT?! What an outrageous and maddening proposition!! That’s like saying “I know I just doused you with kerosene and lit the match, but I’ll salve your burns because I love you and I hate to see you hurting.”

    I just can’t comprehend the faith of people like Chambers and Yarhouse (and others) who publicly recognize the immense harm that has been wrought by this toxic theology to which they cleave. How do they justify to themselves actively perpetuating this hurt and harm? It just doesn’t jibe with God as I understand Him.

    AAARRRRGGGGG!!!!

    • Inwoodista

      These guys are twisted, opportunistic sociopaths who are all about advancing their own hateful careers. They are truly acting in sin, separating themselves from God.

      • Matt

        “I know I just doused you with kerosene and lit the match, but I’ll salve your burns because I love you and I hate to see you hurting.”

        Wow, that made me flinch. But only because it’s so deeply and viscerally true.

        • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

          Agreed. Wow.

    • Jill

      Yup.

      Oh, and “that salve I brought to heal the burns I caused, the bill for that’s in the mail. Address your payment to my new corporate headquarters.”

      I’d like to talk a little more about what real repentance looks like first, which includes amends-making. Actions will speak louder than words, and this individual has a lot to say. But what’s he gonna do?

      • Gus

        Oh, and “that salve I brought to heal the burns I caused, the bill for that’s in the mail. Address your payment to my new corporate headquarters.”

        …and send $20.00 today!

  • Elizabeth

    Wa-a-ay down on this guy’s list of faults is the mockery he’s made of market positioning. “Reduce fear” is to branding what throwing a used piece of gum at a dartboard is to archery. Any PR consultant over age twelve would laugh it off the table. If you are truly motivated to reduce fear, you avoid plastering the word on your letterhead. Pretty much.

    Now, empire-of-evil Philip Morris into the beneficent-sounding Altria: that’s rebranding.

    • Jill

      !!!

      Right here.

    • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

      Good point! How about Increase Love?!

  • Inwoodista

    From all the evil that Alan Chambers has done over the past 37 years, and from this twisty, manipulative, two-faced, opportunistic “re-branding” of his hate organization, I am pretty much convinced that he is a sociopath.

    To spread this message of hate in a more veiled and manipulative manner, is arguably even more evil that straight out saying “God hates gay people.” (Who was it that said that Satan has subtle and persuasive tongue?)

    Chambers hasn’t changed his beliefs and the only remorse he has expressed is remorse that the way he was communicating his message wasn’t working. And he definitely has not expressed repentance.

    Thank you for your acute listening ear, and your clear-headed analysis.

  • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

    As I’ve posted elsewhere, this is a game changer. The last rational fig leaf the anti-gay advocates had was the “science” of reparative therapy, and now that’s gone.

    I recognize & understand there are still a lot of people upset w/Exodus Int’l and Alan Chambers, but this is a major victory in the struggle against bigotry.

    • Elizabeth

      “[W]e believe the time is now for the church to open its door, and allow the marginalized in … so that they, along with us, can experience mutual transformation.” Translation: gays still need to change. That’s a big fig leaf. Sorry, I’ll take my bigotry unvarnished, thanks.

      • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

        I don’t see his future organization having much to do w/gay Christians; they may not bear him any individual enmity but they know a guy who’s been wrong about them 30+ years can’t be trusted to be right moving forward.

        If his future organization continues, it will be as an outreach to churches and individuals who were opposed to gay acceptance & now realize they have to come to terms with it. In that community he’s an outlier.

        • Elizabeth

          Hi buzz! I’ve read the letter several times in its entirety. I’m, um, not about to waste an hour and fourteen minutes watching the opening ceremony for a dead organization. And, since the website is still not up, I’m can’t appraise the future entity’s mission statement. All I know is my social media is wall-to-wall Chambers. If he is indeed an outlier, I hope he uses it for good instead of evil.

          • DR

            I don’t get the need to diminish the hope and joy some people are experiencing with this, can you help me understand? Sure, it’s an untested experience and a woefully inadequate statement. Still, a commitment to shutting down a horribly destructive thing is a small step in the right direction and for people who’ve been hurt is a great thing for them. Is there any room in this scenario to celebrate that while remaining vigilant to the fact that “Reducing Fear” might be bullshit and remaining strong in the commitment to shut down bigotry at the root?

          • http://Fordswords.net David S.

            Hi DR.

            I can only speak for myself. I think that accepting this apology at face value is a hopeful panacea not grounded in the facts as I understand them. The judging and shaming will continue regardless of our understanding of the immutability of sexual orientation. The gay kid in the front pew is still being emotionally abused so long as the “gay sex is sinful” chorus is still being sung. Alan Chambers, by his own admission, is still a tenor in that choir. The same toxic theology that informed his TEN YEARS at Exodus will also inform any future endeavor. As long as he insists on being a Christian leader with a ministry or congregation, he will continue to do harm. If he were truly repentant, I think he would be humble, quiet, and out of the public eye for a time while he tried to figure it all out.

          • DR

            Then fine. Have your opinion. Have your experience. I’ve said nothing that disagrees with this comment. The Civil Rights movement was gained in a million, tiny little victories. Exodus shutting down is a victory to people and they want to share that here. They get to do that, perhaps we could consider not minimizing that *for them*.

          • Elizabeth

            Shutting down Exodus would be a step in the right direction. Giving the same team a new imprimatur? Less positive. Simultaneously celebrating its legacy? Really no. Heck, even being the man at the helm who ran Exodus into the ground is a step in the right direction. Many well-regarded organizations deepening the dialogue on sexuality and Christianity already exist. He should intern at one of them.

            In the 24 hours I’ve been aware of his presence–a mixed blessing at best–everything I’ve read and heard seems like a feeble attempt to regain the spotlight. If his prodigal son statement comforts those he’s wronged, good. I can’t help but think I was right the first time around: ignore people like Alan Chambers and they’ll go away.

          • DR

            Well that’s your opinion and your experience, it doesn’t have to be collective since none of us really have a clue about what’s going to happen next. This interview has been planned for months – why do you think Alan Chambers decides when it airs? He doesn’t have any control of that for goodness sake, the network does. You “just hearing about it now” isn’t a coincidence, it was planned by the next work. because he’s got a board of people who needed to take some steps that took a lot of time because an organization isn’t just something people can dismantle in 24 hours, particularly with donations attached to it, I’m not sure why peoples’ expectations are that the entire thing disappear from the internet overnight.

            Some people are choosing to remain hopeful that this one step is a start of a larger, more substantial momentum and they are playing a “wait and see” game with bated breath, just like all of us. If *they* choose to be hopeful and believe that it’s going to happen, then they are entitled to that experience. Perhaps we could consider letting them have it.

          • Elizabeth

            I’m for hope. I don’t share it, in this instance, but if people need Chambers to have seen the error of his ways for their own healing, grab the opportunity. Don’t let go.

            The dismantling of Exodus is simpler. Much bigger companies scaled down or disappeared in less time than the months the interview and conference have been in the works. It can be yanked off the Internet in a matter of hours. As a member of Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Exodus returns the donations. Standard 7 Giver Expectations and Intent reads in part, “Statements made about the use of gifts by an organization in its charitable gift appeals must be honored. A giver’s intent relates both to what was communicated in the appeal and to any instructions accompanying the gift, if accepted by the organization.” (https://exodusinternational.org/support-exodus/give-now/)

            Different statement, different intent, different fund-raising. Christians return the money. Funny how that web page still works. Peace, DR. You know I have nothing but respect for you.

          • DR

            I frankly don’t care if you share it or not,nor do I care if anyone has respect for me. It has nothing to do with me. I’m so bothered by others shitting on other peoples’ hope, it goes against everything this blog has ever stood for, at least for me.

            People who’ve been looking for a little hope and saw it got smashed over the head, it was way more than just a “different opinion”. There seemed to be an almost active pull to diminish their experience.

            , I’ve worked in non-profits for over 20 years and the two tiniest non-profits I worked for took 6 months to dissolve.

            So sure, go ahead and pay attention to the things that will keep your cynicism intact like the donation website. It seems like everyone here has figured out exactly what is going on in the mind, heart and intention of Alan Chambers so I’ll leave you all to it.

          • Jill

            So, those of us who thinks it’s crap that Exodus is still accepting money should keep our disgust to ourselves? That’s not what this blog space has been about for me.

            I’m not clear where the disconnect is. I’ve read so many of your comments here that actions speak louder than words, that saying you’re an ally is one thing, but doing something about it is quite another. Am I misunderstanding you?

            Your comments have been pivotal for me to catalyze my outrage that straight, Christian privilege has at minimum, done nothing to help and at worst, been complicit and disinterested in the suffering it has caused gay people. Mr. Chambers hasn’t proven himself yet, and he’s got more work to do to earn the public trust.

            That’s not pissing on people’s hope, to me it’s just reality.

          • DR

            Jill, please point to any comment I’ve made where I’ve said that you need to “keep it to yourselves”. I’ll wait for it but you won’t find it because I’ve done just the opposite. If you want to remain cynical that Exodus is not shutting down or that’s certainly an opinion you can hold. Many are finding hope in what occurred and those here want to shame them for that, then go for it.

            A commitment to an action was taken and that it is being called into this almost ruthless speculation without even giving it a chance to breathe is – I don’t even know what it is. But if it serves you then go for it, I don’t want any part of it.

  • Elizabeth

    This article made me sad.

    Because for me, his apology brought healing. His apology was the first step in a long journey. It brought hope.

    I haven’t gotten around to hearing his speech at the conference though I was planning on doing it after I checked this blog. It was literally next on my to-do list.

    And now I can’t do it. Not yet.

    As I was reading the article I was in shock at the verocity of the cynacism and then horror because it is justified.

    I know so many people for whom that apology began to bring peace and hope and healing. And to find it false is … I don’t have the words.

    There is still time for him to come to full revelation. Perhaps he is hiding behind his fear of full acknowledgement. Perhaps he is a sociopath or Narcissistic. I don’t know. But when I read his apology, even with those two lines in it, I was hoping for a Saul-to-Paul situation, where the oppressor becomes the one fighting for freedom.

    I am left now feeling more than a little disheartened. And actually a little bit lost

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Why lost? Alan Chambers hardly speaks for God.

      • n.

        like closure? like actually thinking you got an apology from the actual person that hurt you and actually accepting it, and then realizing they maybe probably didn’t mean it.

        • DR

          Just because some people here doubt the sincerity of Alan doesn’t mean we know what is in his mind and heart. If people – you – had a moment of healing – take it!!! It was meant for you. We are deeply, deeply flawed human beings, transformation happens SO slowly. Don’t let anyone rob you of your joy. I think skepticism is wise but it’s perfectly and profoundly ok to let this move you in the ways you want and need it to. I think it’s perfectly fine to believe him if that’s what your heart is leading you to do.

    • DR

      With all due respect, there are lots of different ways to react to this kind of apology. While im cynical of it as well, its been greay for people I know. There’s not a person here who’s expressed cynicism who wouldn’t be thrilled that someone found peace and healing from the apology. Perhaps you’re too dependent upon this blog it’s just one person’s reaction to it. It doesn’t have to exclusively inform everyone else’s experiences. John isn’t the Holy Spirit.

      • DR

        (and I suspect you have a very loving, tender heart that sees the good in so many that are struggling to be just that. That’s a gift, Elizabeth. Stay focused on what the Lord meant for you to experience in this moment, if it’s healing, if it helps you hope in a world that is repenting one gross reparation organization at a time? Take it. Much love to you).

      • Roger you know

        Wait? John isn’t the Holy Spirit? Will the title ‘prophet’ suffice?

    • Lymis

      Think of a physical wound like getting a huge thorn stuck in your foot.

      The first step is to remove the thorn. Until that happens, nothing else you do is going to make any significant difference.

      Only then can you start to clean the wound, which, if it’s a longstanding wound, may involve letting pus drain out, removing leftover little bits of thorn or dirt, or even cutting away flesh that was so damaged that it has to be removed so new flesh can grow.

      And then, it may take quite a while during the healing for the inflammation to go down. The body did what it did to protect itself, and there is recovery time. The area may be understandably tender for a long time. And there may always be a scar, or if the injury was bad enough, a permanent effect on things like feeling and mobility.

      What Chambers did may well have been, by his lights, genuine. Time will tell. But even if it is, all he’s done is yank out the thorn. That’s just removing the cause of the injury, healing hasn’t even started, and it’s neither fair nor realistic to expect it to be.

      If you felt that his apology was something good, that’s fine (as long as you aren’t consciously being naive about it, and willing to watch to see if it really is genuine.)

      But especially for those who were hurt deeply, this is only a start, and may never be enough. People lost children, siblings and friends to these assholes, people who killed themselves because they or the people around them bought into this idea of a cure. People lost huge periods of their lives fighting something that never needed to be fought, and they will never get that back, nor fully recover from the psychological damage done to them because of it.

      And whatever else may have been true, whatever else his motivations may have been, Chambers made his living off of it.

      Even the most heartfelt “Oops” isn’t going to cause instant healing, if healing is even possible.

      • DR

        I don’t disagree with that which I’ve said several times. Skepticism is warranted in this scenario and it’x not my place to say what is enough for any one person or community.

        However, there are people here who came here with an initial feeling of being elated – perhaps even encouraged by something that was indeed, huge-and they were shut down by with all due respect, what can only be offered as speculation (we have no idea what is going on with Alan Chambers). It’s unsettling to me how they were reacted to and spoken to in the comments.

        • Lymis

          “It’s unsettling to me how they were reacted to and spoken to in the comments.”

          When things like this come up – and he is not the first homophobe to make an apology, the unalloyed celebration from people who haven’t been their direct targets for decades can sometimes come across with overtones of “Oh, good, now you gay people can all get over feeling angry! How cool for you!” – and with undertones of “and if this isn’t enough for you, then YOU’RE the one with the problem, because looky, the nice man said he was SORRY.”

          Not being able to define someone else’s healing moment cuts both ways.

          • DR

            Yes, you’re right it cuts both ways. I don’t see anyone here who came to say “wow, I was so encouraged by this” demanding some kind of collective wave of optimism. All I see are people who are understandably skeptical (as I’ve mentioned a thousand times now) almost shaming them for their experience.

            Alright, I’ve had enough. I’ll leave you to whatever it is you think is being accomplished by doing that.

          • DR

            PS – it was more than an apology. He is taking action by shutting down a massive symbol of bigotry. That some of you are skeptical of it, don’t believe it’s going to happen, aren’t satisfied with the speed of which it’s happening, etc.? That’s fine, you’re entitled to your opinion. Time will tell. But this was more than an apology and even you in a separate comment acknowledged that.

      • DR

        (Neither you or myself can say what is a ‘healing ‘ moment for someone else).

    • Anakin McFly

      same. I saw so much joy amongst my friends about this. and then here… that joy I brought with me died.

  • robert schwartz

    Apology not accepted. Spend the rest of your life donating ever dollar you make to services for LGBT youth.

  • http://missmusicnerd.com Linda K.

    Thank you, John, for expressing so well what I’ve been thinking all day.

    This is the part of the apology I found particularly troubling:

    “More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection. I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives.”

    That’s a non-apology apology, shifting responsibility to victims for how they “interpreted” abusive and toxic teachings. And “some have chosen to end their lives,” as if it would have been just as easy or likely for them to “choose” to go on living in agony, which would have made things so much easier and nicer for everybody else!

    Evidently, he will continue to advocate either celibacy or opposite-sex marriage for gay people. No dice, buddy. You can put frosting on a cow patty, but that doesn’t turn it into a cake.

    • Annie

      Well said Linda! That is one of the most toxic things (out of the many) that Alan said – shifting the responsibility to the victims of his hate crimes for how they interpreted his hate. Horrible, just horrible. And he shakes his head sadly that ‘some have chosen to end their lives’ – but no true acknowledgement of his fault in this! I see no apology in his statement. I see no true regret, remorse, or recognition of what he and his organisation have actually done to people over the years. I agree with John – this is a self-serving, vile piece of cynical manipulation.

      • Lymis

        Amen. It would have been completely different if he had said something along the lines of “More than anything, I am sorry that this religious rejection by Christians was presented as God’s rejection. I am profoundly sorry that because of what I said and did, many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives.”

  • DR

    I don’t care if his intention was to gain notoriety, Alan Chambers is not the priority, at least to me. i dont really even card if he was sincere, for me its all about the impact and this is a massive victory for sanity. I like that Lisa Ling demanded he apologize to a group of people he hurt or she’d not do the follow up he requested so he could apologize. If the impact is positive, if he repairs some damage, then it was a good thing. I still think his beliefs are gross and dangerous and its a drop in 50 million oveans of destruction. He seems to have some massive issues and while i hope he is really finding some sanity and healing, hes not there. will he get there? great if he does but i dont care. I am skeptical of his tramsformation and its crazy to expect gay men and women to believe it. Time will tell. A I care about is this horrifying, abusive Exodus International thing is shutting down. Time will tell if they’re still abusive. I’m hoping for the best but most of all, I hope it helped hose who’ve been devastated by him.

    • DR

      iPhone fails abound.

    • Lymis

      I agree with you that the public and visible shutting down of something like Exodus is huge.

      • Mike

        Indeed.

        Sure, it was bullshit, and says nothing good about the man himself or his organization. But the fact that he had to do it says very good things about the larger society.

  • http://franiel32.blogspot.com Daniel Francis

    Well said.

  • SuzySnowflake

    “…your new house, Reducing Fear, will be built upon the same dark foundation upon which the ruins of Exodus now sit.” Wow. That just summed up this transition from the old to the new, illustrating that no real changes are likely. Brilliant analysis and great questions with this letter. Shall I wait with baited breath for the answer to come to you?

  • http://singingwithcrows.blogspot.com Marian L Shatto

    I’ll put this in the same category with the transformation of the School of the Americas into the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, and the renaming of Blackwater into Xi into whatever it is they call themselves now. Same hatefulness, same capacity for massive damage ~ there’s just a new name on the letterhead.

    • ser

      Yes! The SOA -> WHINSEC ‘transformation’ is the first thing I thought of as I read Chambers’ apology! “Oh, we don’t teach anybody to torture, that was the SOA (which we have to admit because you found us out based on verifiable documentation, and we have no leg to stand on in our denials any longer). WHINSEC is a completely different organization and we don’t do that stuff anymore.” Yeah, right. Whatever Chambers does next is going to be soooo totally different.

      John, you have done an amazing job of addressing each point that disturbed me about what Chambers said, and the skepticism I felt. It’s so easy for me to give people links to this post instead of having to type it out myself. :)

  • harrisco

    John is right. There is a something nearly sublime in the grandeur of this non-apology apology. I almost want to believe he is sincere. However, the taint of the words that are not there remains–and the empty web page of actual actions could not be more appropriate.

    True remorse is not just a passing feeling of error: It is a feeling of absolute brokenness about your own actions, equal to the weight of them, a feeling of profound heartbreak about the nature and consequences of what you have done. Read the deep grief in Psalm 51, where the psalmist suddenly sees who he really is. He is naked in his guilt, with absolutely no excuse or defense. No words will cover his crimes. They are too great–and he is crushed by the thought of them. All he can hope is that a God of judgment will show mercy. ‘A broken spirit is my sacrifice, God.’ (Ps. 51:17).

    Abject, penitent, humbled, broken, the psalmist goes to the only restorer equal to the task–a loving and merciful God–and he utterly surrenders. The meeting place is a place of surrender, yes, but of new life too, of deliverance. The confession is freeing, restorative, ultimately joyful. ‘Create for me a clean heart, God.’ (v. 10). The psalmist is not asking for a new brand but a new heart.

    Some of the words are right in this apology, and the tone is close to convincing. However, the writer still apparently thinks of gayness as something you have to touch with a stick or approach only with rubber gloves and a facemask. It is still something to be cured, or, in this 2.0 version, tolerated with love until it goes away or the poor leper stops scratching so much. This is not so much an apology as a promise to pretend not to notice how much your rotting flesh stinks and makes us really uncomfortable–but we will hold our nose because we all stink to a certain degree, don’t we? [Unsaid behind smile: But you reek off the charts, man, and my face hurts from smiling and trying not to let you know how much...]

    Again, John, you nailed it. Thanks for keeping me from almost buying it.

    • vj

      Exactly.

    • Jill

      “absolute brokenness about your own actions, equal to the weight of them, a feeling of profound heartbreak about the nature and consequences of what you have done.” — beautiful, harrisco.

  • n.

    i thought the “father” and “older brother” were to the gay christians. not to the church (??)

    but hey i also thought he was evolving, so what do i know?!

    also his nephew(?) or some relative that disagrees with him about gay christians and gay marriage, etc….. posted on fb that new good things are to come. so… hmmm. i wonder. (it was on mathew vines’ page).

  • Sandbur

    A snake after it sheds its skin is still a snake until proven otherwise.

  • Shaun

    Alan Chambers is and always has been full of enough bull shit to keep the fertilizer industry going for the next 10 years. He should be lauded for providing American jobs.

  • mike moore

    You’re a good man. Thank you for seeing right through these guys.

  • robert

    Thanks John…

    So basically, he is a pig putting a ton of lipstick on.

  • vj

    You’re on fire in this piece John – love it!

    Some commenters have mentioned the miserable ‘re-branding’ into ‘Reducing Fear’. Aside from the fact that we don’t yet seem to have to clarity as to what this ‘new’ organization is about [and what it is that they 'fear'], what leaps out to me is the utter peculiarity of the name!! Their objective is to ‘reduce’ fear? So, a little bit of fear is OK? How much of a reduction are they aiming for? Yet Scripture tells us that “God is Love” and “perfect love CASTS OUT ALL fear”.

    What is the point of a ‘Christian’ ministry that has such a low objective they can’t even call themselves ‘End Fear Now’ or ‘No More Fear’ or ‘Fear Not For God Is With You? #epicfail

  • yo yo

    You are entitled to your opinions; however I do believe you should research this issue more thoroughly. You are incorrect on a few points. I am not posting this to embarrass you. You might to double check, just to make sure you are right. I do understand that anytime anyone apoligizes there is a possibility it is insincere. Equally there is a possibility that it is sincere. Have a wonderful day.

    • http://nomoremythology.wordpress.com No More Mythology

      Insincere doesn’t begin to describe this wretched escuse for an apology. I submit it is you who should be embarrassed for sticking up for such a cretin.

    • Jill

      Please provide example(s) of incorrect points.

  • Tommy

    So, to all these fake Christians I say, I commit to trash your religion,your beliefs, and you at least 10x a day, publicly. You want a fight? I’m ready. And don’t give me any of your whiny BS that you’re so good at. You know, all that “You hate Christians” crap. No. Just you Mr. Chambers. You and your ilk. I’m here to declare war on your pathetic wretched ass and everybody like you. More people need to grow some kohones and do the same.

  • DavidKCMO

    I read your apology before watching the show on OWN and had the same thought after you read it, not in its entirety.

    Dear Alan:

    You’re a horrible man. You’ve created a cult to lead so you can lead them to a pain that you hope will supersede yours. You’re an enabler of other’s pain. In the attempt to appear interested in making someone’s outward existence conform, what you really doing is turning your ok lowers in on themselves with a vengeance. You’re making people their own worst enemy to justify what you’ve done to your own life: hate yourself. Alan, you’re actively punishing others because you have filled yourself with so much hate, shame and disdain for being gay. So the best way for you to deal with this, according to your ego and conscience, is punish others who have a chance at not doing what you’ve done to yourself. They have a chance at a normal, healthy and fulfilling life with a person of the same sex whom they love with all their heart. How smart is the man who devotes his life to making sure others don’t get what they need because the man himself doesn’t have it?

    Alan, for all the pain, including suicides you’re unaware of, that you’ve caused and promoted in others just because they’re gay like you is all the more reason you deserve to consciously experience the most horrid, cruel, disgusting, inhumane lasting physical pain to reach a small fraction of what you’ve nurtured and inflicted upon others.

    You said on the show that you’re more than aware of the damage you’ve caused. The admittance of premeditated callousness in your apology is……malice. You’re a sociopath because you search for a person’s weakness, tell them what they want to hear to gain their trust. That’s when you strike. All you want are admirers. Groupies who H A N G on your every word.

    I pity your poor family. They’ve swallowed you ruse, whole. Hook, line and sinker.

    Alan, you deserve jail time for crimes against humanity. I hope that days comes soon. The plus will be more lives saved with someone like you away from the public, preying on the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of other homosexuals. Then, and only then, will you come to a different appreciation of what it feels like to be taken advantage of.

    • Anakin McFly

      Given that so much of Chamber’s work emerged from his self-hate to begin with, I fail to see how hating him further will improve the situation in any way, other than to provide catharsis and the satisfaction of revenge. Eye for an eye and all that.

      But I thought we’re supposed to be Christians here.

  • Mike Haas

    Well done, John. You’re always at your best when dealing with the worst. Perhaps he might be interested in public discourse. Maybe an invitation to have dinner at Dan Savage’s house might be a good first start. Not sure I could stomach a meal with this guy at the table, however.

  • Rick Hitchings

    Ok, all of this banter about how convincing he is, or how whether or not he is telling the truth and is truly sorry about anything he or his ilk “might” have contributed to over the last 30 or so years of bashing(which it most certainly has been)the LGBT community with a bible is all nice and cuddly and stuff…….but enough.

    Regardless of how you feel, for or against him and his ilk, the FACT remains. Him and his ilk have not only taken people’s money and time out of false pretense, they have also taken more than one life from this earth by convincing them and the people that supposedly love and support them that “gay bad, god good” and guilting said people into countless attempts at suicide, years of therapy……..actual therapy, and countless successes at suicide.

    Whether it is suicide or beheading, they are still doing what most organized religions that think it is supposed to be “their way or the highway” to god have done for centuries or longer……….they are killing people for not believing the way they do.

    When are we as a society going to stop allowing people like this to keep committing murder and getting paid for it. At least the Mafia or the KKK, were more upfront about what they were doing. They let you know this would be your fate, instead of baiting people into life everlasting change for the good, only to find them dead, hanging on a rope in the closet.

    It is my opinion and I have said this from the beginning, way before this mans latest PR push……which we all know is exactly what this is……Him and people like him or “his ilk” should all be brought up on murder charges for all of the people that went to them willingly or unwillingly for what they were told or ordered to believe was going to somehow take the pain of “the gay” away.

    And trust us when we tell you, there is pain. But life is full of pain, people need help in learning how to deal with the pain, not help in taking the pain away.

    They should get life sentences in some dank nasty prison, for each of the lives they have destroyed to the point that the person committed suicide. Death penalty would be too good and easy for any of them. They need to know what being gang raped repeatedly is like, because in a way, mentally at least, this is exactly what they have been doing to young people for over 30 years.

    But, alas, we the people have put up with religions gang raping young people, physically for centuries also and we all know how far behind the times mental harm is compared to physical harm in the scheme of things.

    Bottom line, they all deserve to be charged and brought to justice. And if found guilty of said crimes, be convicted and given appropriate punishment for murder charges. For that is exactly what everyone of the deaths related to this heinous organization and all like it is guilty of.

    • Anakin McFly

      “They need to know what being gang raped repeatedly is like”

      dude.

      Too far.

  • Matt

    I saw the announcement of the closing down yesterday and was elated. But digging deeper, you’re right, John. It’s nothing but pretty emptiness. I have a lot of experience with empty apologies. The person certainly means it in the moment, and so will you with your acceptance, especially if you have a relationship with them. But it will become clear eventually that it ultimately means little to them.

    Alan Chambers needs to have a deep, heart-wrenching talk with his wife and children, shut down Reducing Fear (and all of his public life), and go spend the rest of his life in repentance. Visiting every single family of every single person who has killed themselves as a result of his “work” would be a good start.

    • Matt

      I am not even sorry I got the name of his second sham organization wrong. It’s actually an improvement.

      • Jill

        And I wonder if Mr. Chamber’s new organization will actually be a GLTBQIA- representative group, if that’s who he is now dedicated to help? If he’s got something real to say, this is the way to say it.

  • Charles

    What an unintelligent subhuman you seem to be. Nothing will ever be good enough for you, will it? Someone apologizes and you can’t even accept it; you need to remain suspicious and suspect everything and can’t accept anything at face value. Grow up.

    This was a heartfelt apology by someone who for years has tried to provide a safe place for those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction, and has realized that we’re in a different culture now with different needs and that his organization has ceased to be a safe place for said strugglers. He has already said that reparative therapy is not his direction and that it is harmful and has apologized to those whom his organization may have hurt. But his organization has indeed helped people, and if you can’t see the merit in that then the only pig with lipstick on here is you, and everyone who agrees with you.

    For myself, I have struggled with homosexuality for years and am now happily married since 2005. Of course I still struggle, but I am deeply in love with my wife, and I am grateful for our union. I am confident that I will struggle until the day I die, that much is clear. But in the midst of that, I have found a relationship that sustains me, that nurtures me, that fulfills me, that completes me, that encourages me, that assures me of masculinity fulfilled and affirmed in the context of a traditional marriage. I truly never thought it was possible, but seeing it come to fruition has revealed to me that I have always been predominantly heterosexual, just with some homosexual tendencies.

    And that is MY story. Whatever yours is, have respect for those with different stories; you don’t need to bash people over the head with your opinionated fluff and consecrate yourself as Captain-All-Things-Expert-Guy with your prima donna approach to apology rejection.

    The people he spoke to in his ministry, WERE touched. They DO care. They ARE moved. They are grateful for what he has done, and that is their story. Your story, and its accompanying bias, does not trump or negate theirs. Good luck growing up and learning to be objective. I’m sure my pro-objectivity comment will be removed or censored in some way. :-)

    • Gordon

      What a sad, angry little man you are.

      When I first read Alan Chambers’ apology, I thought it was sincere as well. Last night, after reading John’s post, I read it again. John did a very good job of peeling back the layers of this so-called “apology” and quite frankly exposed the inconsistencies. That’s our John: Frank.

      I got married to a lovely girl when we were 19 years old. I tried for years before that and for many years after to convince God to take away my same-sex attractions. Of course He didn’t, and he never will. Not for me, not for you, not for Alan Chambers. That’s why I find your snarky post here so sad. You’re PLANNING on struggling with your sexuality till the day you die. That’s no way to live, man.

      • Charles

        Actually my wife is quite thrilling and happy, Gordon, because I don’t wrap up my essence in my sexuality; I am much more. You resort to name-calling because your identity apparently IS all about your sexuality and just because another person chooses to live a certain way counter to ONE element that they find uncomfortable about themselves does not make that person sad or doomed to failure. My story is my own; yours is your own, I’m sorry your marriage didn’t work out; and I’m grateful that you’ve chosen your own way to go and can own that. That’s beautiful. My story is about being married to the woman of my dreams and I’m living a truly satisfied life, have been since 2002 when we met and 2005 when we got married and raising two great kids. No need to name-call because your own story is different, let’s grow up, shall we?

        • Bluffcr

          ‘You resort to name-calling’

          ‘No need to name-call because your own story is different, let’s grow up, shall we?’

          Isnt it a bit hypocritical to call him out on name calling when your original post included ‘What an unintelligent subhuman you seem to be’ as your opening line?

        • Gordon

          Maybe you are one of the “B’s” in LGTB. I’ve never actually encountered one, but I do believe they exist. 

          As I have ruminated on this discussion this morning, it occurs to me that it is perfectly normal to be in a monogamous, committed relationship with another human being and to also have sexual attractions to others, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. As a married man yourself, you know that the key is not to act on those attractions. It’s certainly true for me. My husband and I have been married for almost 22 years now and we solemnized that union legally in California in 2008. I can’t speak for my man, but I would expect we both allow our imaginations to wander from time to time. We recently saw “Man of Steel” and…well…trust me.

          Anyway, I think maybe what threw me in your post is your use of the word “struggle”. From a million miles away and not knowing anything about you other than what you’ve shared here, there just seemed something sad about being married to a woman and struggling with other sexual attractions. I’m thrilled to read that your wife is completely aware of all that you are and that you have a great relationship and family. That is very cool. My first marriage did not work out, true, but not because there was no love there. There was and remains a huge amount of love between us. She’s my very best friend. But, I’m not a “B”. And I’m not straight. I’m a “G”. A perfect Kinsey Six. Denying that because of the despicable lies that my church told me about me and about God nearly cost me my life.

          Finally, dear Charles, you set the tone for this in your opening salvo. So don’t get all troll-y with your outrage about name-calling and growing up. I’ve posted some things on here myself that brought some anger and snarkyness right back at me, and I completely deserved it. You can just go away if you want, but I for one hope you don’t.

          Now, go and be a big old “B” and prosper!

          • Jill

            :)

          • Lynette

            Hi Gordon, I’m Lynette. You have now met a true bisexual. :)

          • Gordon

            I’m honored to meet you!

          • http://haddayr.com Haddayr Copley-Woods

            Hi, Gordon! I’m a “B,” as well. Now you’ve met two. And gosh am I tired of hearing about how I don’t exist! Wish you hadn’t buried that stupid tired old chestnut in the middle of an otherwise excellent response.

          • Gordon

            I know they exist. I was trying to be ironic and, yet again, had a fail. Charles obviously doesn’t embrace his sexuality, whatever that is. He seems tortured by it, which is sad. One of my very, very best friends is bi and she is married to a great guy who is one of my husband’s business partners. So…interesting and elaborate webs we weave, right?

          • Gordon

            Sorry, I should have said “I know YOU exist!” I’m just gonna keep sticking my size ten in my mouth on this one, aren’t I? Ugh.

        • John (not McCain)

          Speaking of name-calling, you don’t ever slip and accidentally call your “wife” Joe or Mark or Jimmy once the viagra kicks in, do you?

        • MagratGarlick

          Why is it that you define your religious experience with the repression of your sexuality?

          Personally, and I bet you all can tell by now, I think it’s low class religious asceticism.

        • John

          You are an overblown Buffoon…nothing more.

    • The Howling Fantods

      :(

      I am so very sorry for your wife. That poor woman. I assume she knows about your ‘struggles’, because otherwise, wow.

      I am also very sorry for you. How terrible it must be to be told your whole life that one of your defining characteristics is wrong, and sending you to hell. And now, you’re actually defending the worst offenders, the very people that made you feel that way. I can’t even imagine what this is really like. :(

      • Charles

        You are making erroneous assumptions skewed by your own errant philosophies. Of course my wife knows. And I was never told that this defining characteristic was wrong nor was I bashed over the head with it by Bible-thumpers, nor was I told that it was sending me to hell. It’s obvious that YOU were told all this and so naturally you assume everyone was told the same. How very sad for you.

        • The Howling Fantods

          Then why would you struggle with homosexuality, if not for religious reasons? It must be wrong in some sense if you would ‘struggle’ with it.

          And what do you mean I was told all of this? Or do you deny that people say such things about gay people for, once again, religious reasons? I’m not really sure what you’re getting at here.

          Anyway, no need to feel sorry for me. I’ve never ‘struggled’ with homosexuality, and am not living a lie. We can’t help how we feel, though, poor guy.

          • Anakin McFly

            I’d just like to point out that lots of people struggle with homosexuality for non-religious reasons.

        • http://kingmaalbert@hotmail.com Al

          What an ungenerous person you are, Charles. When I first read your post I pitied you because you were so obviously someone who was in denial about his real self. I see now that you’re really just a blowhard who believes that if he talks loud enough and forcefully enough everyone else will just yield to your will. Instead of presenting rational arguments to support your truly weird understanding of Alan Chambers’ “apology”, you’ve consistently chosen to attack John Shore and the rest of us for calling you out.

          You’re not yet ready for an adult conversation about what it means to be a human being. Come back if you ever grow up.

    • Lymis

      I wonder how your life might have turned out if anyone had ever told you that it’s possible to be bisexual, and that being bisexual is okay.

      If in fact you have “always been predominantly heterosexual, just with some homosexual tendencies,” it means you are and always have been bisexual. You were told a lot of untruths by a lot of people about what that meant, and you threaded the needle in a way that appears to have worked. For you.

      “The people he spoke to in his ministry, WERE touched. They DO care. They ARE moved. They are grateful for what he has done, and that is their story.”

      No. That may be the story of some of the people in his ministry. The story of far more is that they bought into a lie, hated themselves for years, and barely managed to get free of it and find their truth another way. The story of more than a few is that they were crushed under the weight of it and killed themselves. The story of many, many more is that they tried to cure themselves by dragging someone else into a marriage that they were never going to succeed at, in the process causing deep pain and anguish to people (including themselves) who never deserved it.

      Even if there are a few glowing success stories, those successes don’t excuse the pain and destruction. And they most definitely don’t justify him continuing the organization even one single minute past the point where he knew he was doing it under false pretenses.

      • Charles

        “Even if there are a few glowing success stories, those successes don’t excuse the pain and destruction.” Thanks for paying attention. That’s exactly what Chambers said, so no need to build a podium adopting that as your own diatribe: this is one of the precise reasons why Chambers decided to fold, and I applaud him for it.

        I was not “crushed under the weight of it.” I did not kill myself. I’m very healthy and grateful and of sound mind, thanks. :-)

        • Lymis

          So as long as you came through it okay, the dead ones don’t matter?

          Classy.

          • MagratGarlick

            Lymis, you hit the nail on the head here.

            Note how Charles said Alan provided a safe space? What about the people whose families disown them? Don’t talk to them, hate them? What about people who hurt themselves, or hurt others, or killed themselves?

            Silence, from Charles. And there’s a reason, which you summed up.

            As long as they feel that they came through okay, the dead one’s don’t matter, the consequences of their actions or movement’s don’t matter. Not at all.

            They. Don’t. Care.

            And they call it “love”. ;)

          • Anakin McFly

            I might be playing devil’s advocate here, but where in Charles’ post did he imply that “the dead ones don’t matter”?

            He basically agreed with Lymis that the few successes did not excuse the pain it caused so many more. I’m not sure how you’re getting from there to concluding he doesn’t care about the ones for whom things went horrible.

    • Tommy

      Charles. My first response to this is, you’re kidding, right? I feel sorry for you, your wife, and any children you might have. Ultimately, all your lives will be irreparably damaged. I’ll give you about 10 years for your wife to dump you. You look at your sexuality as something to “struggle” with instead of to embrace? Pathetic.

      • Charles

        Sure they will. Yes, I’m sure my wife and I and my children (already have two, thanks) will be irreparably damaged. I’ll get back to you in 2015 then and let you know that we’re still doing strong. :-) And as a human being, I have all kinds of struggles, as do you. It’s time to start recognizing that what one person considers a struggle does not make that person pathetic: you’re projecting your own worldview upon me. If it’s something that I’m re uncomfortable with and it’s ongoing, then it’s a struggle, and it just is what it is. I believe what I believe; you believe what you believe. And there we are.

        • Drew

          Congratulations on your happy marriage. Now please get some self-awareness and realize that not everyone has the option of marrying a person of the opposite sex that they’re attracted to.

          • spinning2heads

            I actually have a theory. I think that all (or maybe only almost all, but probably all) homophobes are in fact afraid of the bit of the bi that they have inside themselves. They pushed it down and instead acted on their straight urges, which were more strong anyway, and found love. And that makes them think that we can too.

            Charles – in case you’re still listening: I’m going to go ahead and believe you when you say that you’ve found love. It’s hard to believe you, because you say it’s a struggle, and in my personal experience not acting on crushes isn’t a struggle but not being my full self is. But not everyone’s experience is the same as mine, and so I believe you. And now I ask you to have the same belief that I do, that no one is the same as anyone else and that no one’s experiences are the same. People are actually different from one another.

    • Charles

      PS, I’m done replying here and based on the spiteful, vengeful, and angry replies I’ve already received, it’s pointless to argue with any and all of you. Say what you will and make all the assumptions you want; but God is greater than my sexuality, and my sexuality is not all that I am; I chose to live a certain way and it has brought me nothing but joy and fulfillment. Do I still have some homosexual tendencies and desires? Sure. But that is not all that I am. I have always known that I am attracted to women as well, and I am deeply attracted to my wife. The fruit of that attraction is a successful and loving near-decade marriage with offspring. That doesn’t invalidate me and render me deluded or “wrong” because I’ve chosen NOT to embrace homosexuality. I chose a certain path; you did too. To each his own. Take care all.

      • Tim Northrup

        It isn’t we who are being hateful–we perceive that if everything you are saying is true that you either don’t get the pain caused by attempts to repair something that isn’t broken or that you are ignoring your own pain. At some level, we can’t understand your apology for Chambers–so many of us know from firsthand experience what he is deliberately leaving unsaid but understood–and it is those things that are so painful for us.

      • Summer

        What about the guys who have never been “attracted to women as well”? Because that is what a homosexual is… You’re bisexual if you have been attracted to women AND men your whole life.

        There is a difference <.<

        • Lynette

          Exactly, Summer. I am bisexual. I was married to a man for 18 years, but after we divorced, I fell in love with a woman and have been with her for 13 years. I’m happier with women, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t find men attractive too. It’s too bad I denied my bisexuality for so long.

          • MagratGarlick

            Note how the mixed-oriented “married” do that? They argue on one hand that their gay, and insist on the other they are attracted in a physical and intimate way to their spouses.

            Either you are gay, and repressing yourself, or you aren’t.

            When they try and engage us and have such basic misunderstandings, glaringly public one’s when they write about it, of their own sexuality then how can we possible every dialogue with them??

            Kid doesn’t even know what the hell he is.

      • Justin

        “I’m done replying here and based on the spiteful, vengeful, and angry replies”

        “What an unintelligent subhuman you seem to be.”

        “let’s grow up, shall we?”

        “How very sad for you.”

        Again with the complete lack of self-awareness.

        • MagratGarlick

          Clearly, he’s an angry, irate person, out to argue against the homosexuals he hates, as a way of working out his own repression, shame, and self-hate.

          You just met a truly deranged individual. ;)

    • Jill

      Subhuman? A person that has healthy boundaries and expects actions to back up someone’s words is subhuman? Really?

    • Blake

      I think I understand, Charles. I thank God every day for my husband; you thank God every day for your wife. We’re not so different. Of course your journey took you to a spouse of the opposite sex and mine to one of the same-sex; but the gender of our spouse really says very little about us as people and only comprises a tiny part of our lives. I just hope you don’t think that your journey makes you better than me or that I am on the same roller-coaster of life as you. I, unlike others here, can see that human sexuality is a complex and individual issue. That the categories that society creates are wholly inadequate to explain or contain the full expressions of human sexuality. I do not doubt the authenticity of your journey nor do I think that you have made a mistake. I know that my life nor any GLBT individual life is not a universal exemplar for all same-sex attracted folks and I hope that you do not think that yours is either. If so I have great hope for the future and for our religion. If not then we’re just repeating the same mistakes via a distinction without the difference.

    • Jewell

      I recognize my own struggles in your comments, Charles. I’m glad for you, as an individual with your own set of ideals, thoughts, hopes, and dreams that you have found a good woman, despite being attracted to men.

      I have wondered if I could ever go back to men because I was so miserably unsuccessful as a heterosexual. That’s because at my core, I am not heterosexual. I envy those people who are able to subjugate their true nature to some other incarnation of themselves & thus make their lives easier in some way. Make themselves more acceptable, in the eyes of those they want to emulate (for whatever reasons) and/or their god.

      I just can’t do it myself. I was miserable as a “faking it” hetero child & teen. I dislike men in that way. I can look at them & say “He’s attractive,” or “He’s hot,” but the mere thought of having to lay next to a man as his wife or girlfriend is something I cannot stomach. I’m sure this has been a source of disappointment for my parents, who still to this day, more than 35 years after openly acknowledging my orientation, wish I’d just bring home a nice man.

      Despite being single, I can’t bring myself to attract a man into my life out of loneliness. It wouldn’t be right or fair to him or me. It would be a lie of the most heinous sort to perpetrate on another human. And ultimately it’s disrespectful to me. I know what kind of person I am. I can’t do the one-night stand thing, nor the hetero thing. There are times when I am lonely, but I won’t allow it to dictate how I conduct myself sexually. Socially, I prefer being among my own kind -in spite of all the issues our community faces.

      I left my Catholic religion because as a woman, I found its male-only hierarchy to be out of step with reality. I found it to be demeaning & condescending to women. If there is a god, and I’m not sure there is, he/she would not create gay people then tell them to NOT be who they really are. That just seems….pointless, and wholly a human characteristic to tell another to subjugate their true selves to some societal norm. I can’t do it and moreover -I won’t.

      We all have our own battles to fight. Some we choose, others are foisted upon us by circumstances, but we mostly make choices which lead us on our life journeys. Some of us find common ground with others, but no two stories are perfectly alike. And no “other side of the fence” comes complete with absolute bliss. Know why? The human condition.

      I wish you luck in your life choices. For myself and others in the gay community, I wish for us to find peace in a world where the true meaning of “spiritual violence” is defined each time any of us are told we are not right, unwanted, unacceptable, aberrations of nature, sick, disgusting, perverts, are beaten down physically, emotionally, spiritually.

      I know who we are. We are the downtrodden, but we are NOT meek. We are reviled by some, but NOT all. WE have persevered through ALL the negativity that’s thrown at us from every direction. WE are a community whom others should seek to emulate because WE have survived all the slings & arrows thrown at us by the ignorant & bigotted haters.

    • Jon

      tho after reading all of your posts i do find that many do seem to be grasping at straws for reasons to attack you. more about your family life than an argument you made… which i have little respect for…

      i would agree with some on how easily you have accepted this apology, and yes i would find it insulting that you would infer that people posting here will be less than happy no matter what the resolve… this to me would be a small step to take after all the years of hate and abuse taken in gods name… anyone should find that upsetting… and to the familys that will still teach there children that they can be cured, reminds me of how it 20 years ago was treated as a mental illness in hospitals where people were put to death… just for the affections they feel for another person….

      i would expect that when you open’d up and posted so truthfully about your own journey that you wouldnt have been met with such hate, and tho i do feel bad that some statments were made… at some point i would want you to reflect on how hard it was for you to find a strong partner who would support your pains, without society hating on you from every side…. and know that for most people who didnt take your path back to a god fearing life still suffer with ignorance in alot of ways just as unaccepting as what you have been given here… and as we can tell by your last post, it didnt feel to nice to have people who have no right to judge you, deciding your worth as a human… no one deserves the striping of respect that some felt you deserved… i would wish all of this would be different…

      however it should be understood that groups like this one… actually teach and continue the cycle of disrespect that as a society already is lacking… when people choose to build a person or there lifestyle up by putting another under it the cycle continues… being taught that being gay is wrong… because the bible says it… (no matter where your from) is understood as one of the main staples clung to by those who know no true faith…. and have truthfully never read or understood a passage in the bible… which could be because they are reading an opinion of what the bible should be translated into… did you know there are over 1500 different forms of the bible … all of which taken… re wretten… and passed on again… from a version that was loosely translated at best… something to consider…. but i digress

      i would assume we are all open to opinions that reinforse our own…. i guess the true measure of a persons worth in the eyes of society or the gods… doesnt get decided by the loudest screaming voice preaching self hate or intolerance, but rather the person who can speak a whisper and truthfully be understood in his own eyes and those that choose to listen…

    • Justin

      “Pro-objectivity?” Are you completely lacking in self-awareness? There was nothing that was “pro-0bjectivity” in your post. All you did was call for subjectivity and moral relativism.

      Post-modernists nauseate me.

      • Elizabeth

        I’m not getting into the middle of this one. I am honor-bound to state, for the record, that postmodernists rule. Carry on.

      • Gordon

        Post-modernists. Those are the houses with the arched windows, right? I don’t like them either.

    • Jaychi

      I am pretty sure you’re accusing him of being a pig in lipstick and a prima Donna–aka gendered and anti-feminine insults–is merely a coincidence.

      Maybe you should take your marriage-affirmed-clearly-assured “masculinity” and go stuff it.

    • MagratGarlick

      Charles, I find it sad that you hated yourself so much, and were ingrained with so much self shame, that you had to cheat out a woman into entering into a mixed-orientation “marriage”. No matter what you tell me I’m never going to believe that what you are experiencing is the same, comparable, or similar to, a natural heterosexual relationship.

      It’s not. It’s you forcing yourself to sexually perform with someone that, for all intents and purposes, you have no natural attraction to. It’s an intentional family unit, not a “marriage” or a loving natural relationship.

      That difference aside, I take serious offense at your comment that Alan provided a safe place for those who are incapable of dealing and accepting their sexuality. He provided a space that by and large condemned, and taught people like yourself that men like I are defining themselves solely by their sexuality. That belief has destroyed families, caused deaths, and has undoubtedly caused more harm than it ever did good.

      Dream on and pretend your at peace. I’m going to go about living my life guilt free, shame free, in actual loving relationships not founded on fear or insecurity, and I won’t stop my activism until the self-hating gay celibate, or fake married, christians no longer exist.

      We ain’t stopping until this hateful antigay/antihuman dignity belief is no more.

      • Anakin McFly

        Seriously, did almost everybody on this thread miss the part where he effectively said he was bisexual with a preference for women?

        • Matt

          I personally have no problem with Charles’s wife, his kids, or his sexuality (whatever form it may take). What I take issue with is his smug self-righteousness, his lack of self-awareness, and his outright cruelty. I mean, really? “Subhuman”? In what universe is it ever okay to refer to another person like that?

    • Gus

      I don’t know where you fit on the slippery slope of the Kinsey Scale. What is troubling and bigoted is selling stictley heterosexual sex as the path to heaven. I wish you well, but yes, you are not cured or completely healed as straight.

  • Blake

    Whatever else this is this is also the first resounding death knell of the anti-gay-Christian movement. Just look at the coverage this is getting in all sorts of press. The last time Exodus was in the news this much was that Newsweek Cover with the Paulks.

    Now someone could still come and revive that beast; but even if it is revived or continues it will be less destructive as it is this much more discredited. Will all Christian inspired the anti-gay rhetoric and thought end tomorrow? No. Would it if Alan Chambers personally gave relief to all of the folks he’s harmed? No. But at least he’s actually trying to strive toward a Christianity that is beautiful and uniting rather than petty and dividing.

    John, you’ve spoken, here, about the Mountaintop and how beautiful Christianity can be &, at the very least, Alan Chambers is finally starting up that trail. Isn’t that something worth celebrating? That he has his eye on the Mountaintop now rather than on his fellow sinners? At least that is how I am interpreting his shift from what I’ve read. Of course time will tell but if he is actually going forth in love than love will transform him. And he will get there; as long as Love is his guide. This is my faith.

    • DR

      Yes it is. And it’s my faith too. You get to believe that it’s a positive step. That gets to be your experience and mine as well, and if people are choosing skepticism to the degree that they are dismissing Alan Chambers – and everything he’s said – outright? That’s their choice. But it’s not mine .

      If this works like traditional TV, Alan Chambers has no choice when this interview airs, the Oprah Network controls that.

      • http://fordswords.net David S

        Hi DR – I pray you’re right and I’m not. I would like that a lot.

        • DR

          There seems to be quite a bit of collective “Let’s make sure that we pay attention to the parts of this experience that prove this is all just bullshit” and that’s not good for my heart, mind or spirit personally. So I’ll leave you all to it if that’s serving you. I’m in Alan’s corner, as one who had to face my own bigotry and homophobia, it was a journey of a thousand moments of clarity. I’m choosing to celebrate this one and it’s such a disappointment that I can’t do that safely here with people I’ve been in conversation with for years. I’m shocked by it.

          • http://fordswords.net David S

            I hear you. I’ve been in that position too. This wonderful community (you and me included) is sometimes a little…um…passionate…when it comes to minority opinions. Sorry if I’ve piled on here – not my intention.

          • DR

            I’m officially out of this conversation, I want nothing to do with it anymore. Good luck.

          • Jill

            And I’m sorry that you feel excluded, DR. I really do.

          • DR

            I could give a crap about me. It’s not about me, it’s about the thousands of people who potentially came to this site in despair, damaged by groups like Exodus, who had found a tiny sliver of hope in this action taken and were not given the space and the graciousness that says, “You know what, it really wasn’t enough for me but I’m so glad it did something positive for you”. What a loss for them. I guess they’ll have to wait for the next positive step a fundamentalist Christian makes who’s exclusively known for his institutionalized bigotry. Maybe that will happen in another 100 years.

          • Jill

            Well I do care about you.

          • Jill

            I’m sorry if you feel this is an us-v.-them debate between friends. I’m happy to agree to disagree with you on this point, but I’m not trying to exclude your hope for real change. I don’t believe others that have the same doubts I do are choosing to exclude hope. Of course I only speak for me.

            You and I seemed to have shared a background in once believing wrongly about homosexuality. I’m guessing there are a few others out here who’ve had to change their view as well. Starting over is very human, and forgiving ourselves had to be part of it.

            While hope is a great thing, proof is important. How is this public display of Mr. Chamber’s remorse any different from the seemingly heart-felt proclamations from an abusive spouse that “I’ll never do it again, I’ve changed” ? Ok, if you’ve changed, prove it. Not short-term apologies, not band-aids on the wounds, but for the long haul. Forgiveness of Mr. Chambers’ mistakes are between himself and God, but amends cannot be overlooked.

          • DR

            Jill, proof typically takes more than 48 hours to materialize. But it seems like most of you have already decided that it’s more than likely not coming. I’m going to talk about this particular topic with people who’ve made a different choice and are excited about what this could mean and does mean instead of what seems to be an almost exclusive focus in finding what keeps your cynicism intact. But we all choose what we see in the end because it serves us and if that serves those of you here, that’s your call.

          • Lynette

            DR, have you actually watched the video of the speech he made to the Exodus convention on Wednesday night? If not, then you should. I saw little of the so-called remorse that you saw in his apology letter to the gay community. Instead I saw someone who was still justifying his organization’s position but telling his audience that because we now live in a more culturally diverse society that no longer accepts their message, they’re going to have to package it differently. In other words, the central message hasn’t changed. It may be all right for you to be gay, and God isn’t going to send you to hell for it, but it’s still not God’s best for you, and you need to change in order to be fully restored to a relationship with God. I’m sorry, but I see no change whatsoever.

          • Anakin McFly

            It’s still a huge improvement.

          • Jill

            You’re right, it takes more than 2 days to prove, so it takes me more than 2 days to believe in it. Please don’t misunderstand me– when Mr. Chambers’ organization provides that proof the public needs to see that his contrition is sincere, then I will be overjoyed. For today, it’s just words.

          • Anakin McFly

            this.

  • Lynette

    I listened his speech given at the Exodus convention the night before he “shut it down”. It was like listening to Heinrich Himmler standing before a group of SS, telling them that he’s proud of their organization but they’ve got to change their methods and stop gassing Jews because the rest of the world found out about it and they’re getting a lot of bad press. Seriously.

    • Mel

      Well said.

  • Lucinda

    This letter is spot on! Thank you, John, for articulating all this so very well. The analogy of the KKK is an absolutely inspired. I too would think that if one really realized the pain created by an organization, he would respond much differently.

    For those who are applauding Alan’s “baby steps”, I have to say that is just plain hogwash. He hasn’t moved closer to changing his mind. He has simply realized that Exodus is in trouble and he doesn’t want to sink with it.

  • Stephen

    Excellent piece. Very well put.

    (oh oh. Fascist Grammar Police alert: you write ‘pedaling’ but that’s just auto-correct for ‘peddling’, right? Carry on.)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      oh, gosh. good catch. thank you!

  • http://wordpress.com/mattytron Matthew Zaradich

    THANK YOU so much for writing what so many of us were thinking. Bless.

  • C.J.

    BRAVO! I love that the Exodus website still has this active link: “The work ahead is enormous, and we need your committed partnership to accomplish these vital goals. Will you help us to bring a message of Christ-like compassion to those with same-sex attractions? Click here to give safely and securely online.”

    Alan Chambers is pathetic.

    • Jill

      Bingo. This is it. It’s defunct but still ready and able to accept generous donations. You know, just in case…

      The donation page still reads: “…Homosexuality is no greater or less a sin than any other and is not the determining factor for a relationship with Jesus Christ.” So… there’s that. What a way to start fresh.

  • http://www.religiousrefuse.com Doreen A Mannion

    Thank you so much for writing this. I am sick and tired of people telling me to “give him a chance with his new organization.”

    • Lynette

      Alan Chambers has stated in his so-called “apology”, that he will not apologize for his convictions on what is “Biblical sexuality”. Really? So now he’s saying it’s okay to be gay, just don’t ACT gay. I agree with you, Doreen. I see no change. All I see is a duck trying to hide his beak and webbed feet. If it walk like a duck and quack like a duck, it’s still a duck.

      • Jill

        Naw, ducks are way cooler.

      • http://www.facebook.com/LostInSpaceMan SteveCampsOut

        Don’t blame the poor ducks. They were out swimming when he came up with this crap!

  • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

    Reducing Fear? Perfect love casts out fear–there is no fear in love. But he just wants to “reduce” it? It sounds like they’re trying to create a kinder, gentler Exodus International where they are super nice and “accepting” to gay people. As they try to change them to straight, of course.

    • Lymis

      If I understand the plan, they’ve decided to stop trying to cure gays and just support them in remaining loveless, alone, and celibate their entire lives. Party on!

      • DR

        Why did Alan Chambers say he’d attend a same-sex marriage ceremony if he was planning on advocating for gay men and women to remain celibate? He’s making some kind of private decision from what I can tell but from what I’ve read, I’ve not seen any detail on what this Reducing Fear movement will offer in terms of telling gay men and women they must remain celibate. Please provide that. Thanks.

        • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

          You’re right, DR. Time will tell. I know personally it took me quite some time to overcome my hurtful beliefs. God may very well be working transformation in him and in the future, he may become a real advocate.

      • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

        Meh.

  • http://BigSeance.com Patrick

    I thought this was excellent! Chambers (and his wife apparently) needs serious therapy… and not the God kind.

  • Christopher

    I understand why you did it, but I really wish you hadn’t used the “N” word to make your point. It really stopped me in my tracks and pulled me away from the point you were trying to make.

    • Richard La France

      Christopher, he was merely saying what a KKK member would say. He wasn’t using the word derisively against a race. There is a difference and I don’t believe the word should be censored when used like this.

      Trust me, I heard the word so many times daily when I lived in the south that I wanted to pull my hair out. But the author of the letter meant nothing more than to display the speech of a hate group member.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        Richard: Exactly right. Thank you.

      • Christopher

        Yes, I get that. I’m not an idiot. But it was not needed to make his point, and, in fact, distracted from his message. There’s enough ugliness in the world.

        • Christopher

          Let me put it another way. Here’s something a playwright once taught me: in the theater you have to be careful about using nudity, because any time there is a naked person on stage no matter what else is going on that scene becomes a scene about a naked person. Likewise, when a writer trots out the “N” word, no matter what the context, the whole paragraph becomes about that word. I’m not condemning you as a person, I’m just saying that it was a poor and insensitive choice.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Nah. It’s all about context.

          • Matt

            Yes. Context is decisive. For me, while the word did stand out, it was not extremely distracting–it just emphasized the point John was making. In fact, had he tried to censor it in some way, I think it would have added more clutter. The dismissive tone he conveyed was perfect as well. Privileged hate is ugly, and not afraid to be so–that’s what he was trying to get across.

        • Lymis

          If the use of the “n-word” is shocking and disturbing to you, and the blatant homophobia in Chambers’ apology isn’t, then that IS the issue.

    • spinning2heads

      I think that the N word, in all it’s totally unacceptable and shocking hatefulness, portrays the hatred towards LGBT folk that was emanating from the “apology.” So it’s used correctly in this context, as an example of a completely horrifying type of hatred.

  • http://abnthree.blogspot.com BarbN

    Thanks, John, for an intelligent and perceptive reading of the so-called apology. I was so happy when I saw the headline, but then when I actually read it, it seemed clear that the only thing he’s sorry about is that they didn’t hook in LGBTs with talk of love and mercy before they started on the “you’re wrong and you’ve got to change.” In other words, he’s sorry EI has been getting negative press. The one positive I think *might* come of this is that it might open the door for some middle-of-the-road Christians who have been wondering about homosexuality but are unwilling to stray from the group-think conservative Christians have going about non-traditional sexuality. The fact that this guy has at least started a dialog from the conservative side about what they might change is more than any other prominent conservative has been willing to do. He’s still homophobic, but he may have opened the door for others to have a discussion that hasn’t been happening so far. Which isn’t intended to give Chambers a pat on the back (he’s still a slime), but just hope that *some* good might come of it.

    • Richard La France

      This is just an assumption (bad choice, I guess), but I’m wondering if he is joining with the stronger conservatives in the hopes of inviting gay people into the churches only to be confronted with the same attitude I was confronted with when a Southern Baptist invited me to his church in Atlanta to hear his son sing.

      I believe he must have forewarned others that I was coming. When I sat down, people moved away from me. The man who invited me acknowledged my presence with a nod and sat a distance away from me.

      I was polite and remained until his son finished singing but sat red-faced and angry at the cold treatment of people who deigned to call themselves Christians. I certainly didn’t hang around to give compliments when it was over and it was never brought up at work.

      Just a little warning that, should you decide to be lured in by this Mr. Chambers and attend their churches, you might receive this sort of treatment. As for me, I’ll never set foot in a church again. It’s not safe.

      • Elizabeth

        Richard, there are safe churches. I skew Episcopalian; they’ve been the benchmark in valuing both women and gays. Presbyterians, too, often welcome LGBTQ. Lutheran, Methodist, UCC — they’re out there. Be cautious, but don’t paint us all with that brush. And walk out mid-sermon when they disrespect you. It makes an impact.

  • Richard La France

    The idea that gay people will turn to such an organization as Exodus International is a sad commentary on how poorly the LBGT community has stood up for gay people who live in areas that are not gay friendly. We need to understand that many gay people, because of the influence of religion or politics in their locations, are still living with the beliefs of the middle-1900s in the U.S.A. Except for the abundance of pron sites on the internet, I’m not so sure there is a way for them to understand that it’s okay to like or love someone of the same sex.

    Mr. Chambers has done much to damage the existence of the people who joined his organization by filling them with the lies that ultra-conservative so-called religious folks tell about the contents of the religious books. The discrimination extends beyond the Christian misinterpretations into the rest of the world. Although it is religion-based, that basis is on what men, not God, felt about about homosexuality as far back as people have had the ability to judge others. The basis of religion is simple and pure and the tales that come along with it are just that: tales that came from those who passed them down long before the written word; tales rife with superstition and supposition rather than fact.

    We must learn to be stronger than the right wing religious groups and communicate better with those who live in remote areas or in countries that are so violently opposed to homosexuality how to accept themselves and, if necessary, keep silent until they are able to move to a safe area or find someone who will help them do same.

    Action speaks louder than words and we’ve been inactive long enough. Whether the Supreme Court caves in to the bigots out of fear or if they do the right thing, we need to be more supportive of our community and help save others from the pain so many are experience at the hands of bigots.

    • Anakin McFly

      not just in the US, too. Other countries: we exist!

  • Eric R

    Gawd, let the man just apologize already and move on. THIS is why people DON’T apologize, we still crucify them. Thank the man for the apology, be thankful they’re not around anymore and get on with your own life.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Um. Right. Except it wasn’t an apology, see. Hence the article, for those who might not discern the difference between an actual apology and …well, what this was.

    • http://www.patsediting.com Patsy-Anne

      An apology contains 5 elements:

      1. I did something.

      2. I recognize that what I did was bad.

      3. I recognize that my actions hurt you.

      4. I deeply regret my actions and the harm that they have caused.

      5. I promise to never again do that bad thing.

      Does his “apology” qualify? Especially as he gearing up to continue the bad thing in a different guise.

      • ellie

        Actually, yes it does. You should probably read the apology before you accuse someone of not apologizing:

        Recently, I have begun thinking again about how to apologize to the people that have been hurt by Exodus International through an experience or by a message. I have heard many firsthand stories from people called ex-gay survivors. Stories of people who went to Exodus affiliated ministries or ministers for help only to experience more trauma. I have heard stories of shame, sexual misconduct, and false hope. In every case that has been brought to my attention, there has been swift action resulting in the removal of these leaders and/or their organizations. But rarely was there an apology or a public acknowledgement by me.

        And then there is the trauma that I have caused. There were several years that I conveniently omitted my ongoing same-sex attractions. I was afraid to share them as readily and easily as I do today. They brought me tremendous shame and I hid them in the hopes they would go away. Looking back, it seems so odd that I thought I could do something to make them stop. Today, however, I accept these feelings as parts of my life that will likely always be there. The days of feeling shame over being human in that way are long over, and I feel free simply accepting myself as my wife and family does. As my friends do. As God does.

        Never in a million years would I intentionally hurt another person. Yet, here I sit having hurt so many by failing to acknowledge the pain some affiliated with Exodus International caused, and by failing to share the whole truth about my own story. My good intentions matter very little and fail to diminish the pain and hurt others have experienced on my watch. The good that we have done at Exodus is overshadowed by all of this.

        Friends and critics alike have said it’s not enough to simply change our message or website. I agree. I cannot simply move on and pretend that I have always been the friend that I long to be today. I understand why I am distrusted and why Exodus is hated.

        Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.

        More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection. I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives. For the rest of my life I will proclaim nothing but the whole truth of the Gospel, one of grace, mercy and open invitation to all to enter into an inseverable relationship with almighty God.

        I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them. I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek. My beliefs about these things will never again interfere with God’s command to love my neighbor as I love myself.

        You have never been my enemy. I am very sorry that I have been yours. I hope the changes in my own life, as well as the ones we announce tonight regarding Exodus International, will bring resolution, and show that I am serious in both my regret and my offer of friendship. I pledge that future endeavors will be focused on peace and common good.

        You can read the letter in its entirety here.

        • Lymis

          If anything, that’s an apology for running a completely fraudulent “we can cure you if you just try hard enough” operation.

          He explicitly refuses to apologize for believing that being gay is inherently sinful, damaged, and disordered, and that we are not good enough for marriage.

          So, yes, it counts as an apology. Like a bully who says, “I’m sorry that when I repeatedly hit you, it left bruises and you were hurt by it. But I won’t apologize for believing that you are sick, monstrous, and don’t have a place here among us decent people. But we can still be friends, right?”

          Gee, thanks.

      • Anakin McFly

        He gave multiple apologies, for various things, as laid out in the letter that Ellie conveniently-reposted.

        Some of those apologies struck me as sincere: I do believe that he is genuinely sorry about the hurt he caused, and not just because of financial reasons. It took an amount of honest integrity for him to publicly own up to all the hurt he has caused (note, especially, that many of the conservative Christians who will be hearing this message are people convinced that ex-gay therapy works, and for whom all its negative consequences might therefore be new information), as well as admit that his own sexual orientation had not changed.

        It’s true that some of the other apologies were not quite apologies, but that still doesn’t take away from the ones that were. In fact, it makes the former apologies seem all the more honest to me – that he says that there are things that he’s not apologising for (e.g. his belief that homosexuality is a sin), as opposed to pretending otherwise. If this was purely a way to get attention, he wouldn’t have mentioned the things he’s not apologising for, because it would be counterproductive.

        • http://Fordswords.net David S.

          How can you in one moment listen to the harm caused by those pressured into mixed orientation marriages and their spouses and children then in the nextoment advocate mixed orientation marriages as the only Godly alternative to celibacy for people who are gay? How can you apologize to the harm caused to parents (omitting the direct victims) by reparative drive theory, then continue to sell books advancing it in your bookstore?

          The actions of this man belie the sincerity of this apology. It is outrageous. In the end he has once again exploited the people he hurt. When they realize this, if they haven’t already, there’s going to be more hurt not healing.

    • Elizabeth

      I can’t speak to ‘people’. Christians apologize because they mean it. Their actions don’t hinge on social acceptance. Please see: Jesus.

    • Lynette

      First of all, it wasn’t an apology. It was simply an acknowledgement of the fact that they’re no longer winning in the public opinion polls. If you will watch his speech to the Exodus convention that he made the night before he “closed down” the organization, he is abundantly clear that his views haven’t changed at all. In fact, he goes on and on about how proud he is of Exodus and the “good” that they have done, and reiterates that his position regarding “Biblical sexuality” haven’t changed a bit, but that they have lost the “war of public opinion”. In other words, “We’re not going to change the message, but we’re going to have to repackage it to make it look kinder and gentler.” That’s no apology. That’s simply trying to change one’s stripes.

  • Tom

    Not an apology, just more drama from this group of confused gay men.

    I was a victim of one of these ex-Gay ministries in the early 80′s and it messed me up for years about my God and my sexuality. Time has helped but I still feel their cultish power, especially when I see any of these Exodus types .They just creep me out. Luckily, I did escape!

  • gary

    After watching the OWN program with Lisa, I sat there wondering, where exactly was his apology? And If he had just apologized, What was he sorry for? I didn’t feel like he was sorry for these people that were obviously affected by the teachings of his ministry. The thing that struck me the most was at the end when talking about his success in his marriage he said how “fond” he was of his wife, not how much he LOVED her, but how “fond” he was. To me, sounds like he struggles with keeping his “true” self closeted.

    I just find it truly sad that some people “choose”, whether by pressure to do so, or by religious teachings, to live as something they are not. If being Gay is a Sin, I will take that up with God, NO ONE ELSE!

  • MagratGarlick

    I think the big contention that this blog post speaks to is thus: We don”t want him to admit he was wrong to hurt people, we want him to admit that the belief that *causes* all this hurt and harm is wrong, illogical, inconsistent, archaic, and most importantly hurtful.

    I won’t be satisfied until people like Alan, celibate self-hating gay christians, and the mixed-oriented “married” no longer exist.

    • Anakin McFly

      ‘no longer exist’ as in… die?

      Because that’s going too far. Especially given that I know some of those ‘celibate self-hating gay christians’ for whom life is tough enough already without being subjected to more scorn for living through an intensely difficult, lonely struggle because that’s what they perceive God asks of them.

  • Vicki C

    I have taken a good deal of time and read the articles and comments (which were very interesting). First I am old…a nearly 63 year old lesbian who came out in the 70′s so been there done that. I could give you a list of crap that happened to me in my life solely because of my orientation but tired of going over that crap. I have seen advances in our acceptance and steps in the legal arena that I would have deemed fairy tale quality stories years ago. I am a little weary but in a quandry cause I understand.

    No matter what steps we take as a community nobody takes the time to simply rejoice that we inched a little bit farther towards being left alone. That is what this entire battle boils down to in my world. I want to live my life as I must with the people that I am destined to love with all the rights and respect that is allegedly rewarded everyone (we know that that is a bit of a stretch…lots of other folks deal with prejudice and unjustice every day of their lives cause of other stuff) and simply be left alone to do just that. You know that old saying about stopping and smelling the good smelling stuff along the way, well we (again the collective community thingy) don’t seem to do that. We are busy being judgemental (which we feel we have the right to be…haven’t we been wrongly judged for years) and angry that it never seems to be enough or fast enough (which we feel we have the right to be…haven’t we waited FOREVER).

    So I do understand but like I said I’m tired. Sometimes after a battle won (and I know we are still fighting the war) I stay far away from social media and I spend a brief moment alone smiling, sometimes laughing out loud at the feeling I get from seeing the hurdles we keep crossing. I remember when we had NO rights at all and now we have so many and I guess I feel a little sorry for those of you that don’t recognize a good smelling thing when you experience it and stop and enjoy it for just a moment before you start pulling at the pesky weeds again.

    • Elizabeth

      That’s sweet. Thank you. I guess I never forget that the first two stages of grieving are denial and anger. Your story — much further down the line — is inspiring.

      • Lynette

        So tell me, Vicki, how is closing the organization down and reopening it with a new name but with the same basic message, “inching further”? It’s kind of like when Kellogg’s changed the name of one of their cereals from “Sugar Pops” to “Corn Pops”. They change the amount of sugar that was in the cereal. They simply changed the name and the public perception of what was inside the box.

        • MagratGarlick

          Although I still stand firm against the ex-gay cult/religious ‘experience’, this apology does highlight a big shift in the ex-gay cult(ure). It’s the move away from homosexuality is a choice, something you can change, to the belief that it is a biological predetermination, like heterosexuality.

          Even if they aren’t ALL the way there, that’s a part of the walk towards full acceptance. Which is the only thing I’ll settle for.

          • Lynette

            But that’s the thing, Margaret, they haven’t said that at all. All they have said is that they admit that you can’t change people’s orientation, but to still be acceptable to God you have to either be celibate or “resist temptation” and live as a heterosexual. That’s not a change in their message at all. That’s simply relabeling.

          • MagratGarlick

            I agree, completely. But I also think it’s an indicator that they are moving into the status of a minority viewpoint.

            That, to, is big.

          • C e m

            They shouldn’t have to change their message if they don’t want to. There are Christian gays out there that believe its wrong to be gay and therefore have used exodus to help. It may be wrong for many but there are few that find this kind of ministry very helpful for their walk in life. Why is that so horrible for everyone to make a few ppl feel better? As long as they don’t go all westboro on ppl

          • Lynette

            You can’t be serious. An organization whose message is responsible for the emotional and mental destruction of thousands and the suicide of hundreds of others over the past 37 years, and is also responsible for launching a worldwide organization that is responsible for international genocide “shouldn’t have to change their message if they don’t want to?” Wow. Just wow.

          • pastol

            Because that isn’t the case C e m. There are countless young people forced by their families to attend “pray the gay away” types of “therapy” that only harms them. Please, educate yourself on the damage these organizations have done. Also, do some research into long term success these companies have. It is very poor. Most of their clients return to a their normal life of being gay. And to prove to even you that you have blinders on, you state “There are Christian gays out there that believe its wrong to be gay…” Do you really believe that only CHRISTIAN gays come to that conclusion? Do you really think that Christians have the market cornered on guilt and grief set upon them by the Bible thumpers and their ilk? Do you really believe those things? If so, honey, I can’t help you.

          • C E M

            I didnt mean the nessage of force or guilting ir shaming. i dont believe jesus works that way. No I don’t believe Christians have the market cornered but the topic is christians. I don’t agree with forcing anyone to go get straightened out for lack of a better term. I am Christian and I am omni sexual. I know Christian gays and I know christians who were gay and went to exodus on their own accord and have been happy for years. What I was trying to say was if their message is “come here to get help if you are gay and want help to not be bc u do believe the bible really does speak against it”. Anything by force or unwillingness, to me, is kidnapping and cruel. Jesus wasnt that and he certainly wasn’t accusatory or forceful in his gathering of those that wanted to follow him.

            Also the author seems to nullify his entire apology bc he hasn’t changed his personal beliefs not apologized for them. That is idiotic and close minded. Bad analogy –> I can hate you and egg your house. I may feel really bad I let my anger get the better of me and apologize for the egging but I can still hate you. There are many who believe homosexuality is a sin yet they will vote for gay marriage. Does their vote count bc they don’t believe it for themselves? Lol

          • C e m

            I know most stories from there are horrible but I do know three people who chose to go get help from exodus an got the help they wanted. If all k them were positive experiences and not horrible negative ones people would still be fussing bc of the base beliefs :/

        • Vicki C

          “Yesterday you were the head of a once powerful organization that had become utterly discredited, maligned, and irrelevant, because it was founded upon the life-ruining lie that God is righteously angered by any gay person who does not pray away their gay”

          There was a time when an organization such as this could have been stronger, hurt even more people, and gone on forever sanctioned publically by ALL.

          • Lynette

            Their gradual irrelevancy had nothing to do with any change on their part. It had everything to do with a shift in public opinion concerning homosexuality, science, and religion. Exodus International is irrelevant because public opinion has made them irrelevant. They aren’t changing their message. They’re simply rebranding the same old message to make it more palatable for the public. They’re still every bit as dangerous.

          • Vicki C

            “It had everything to do with a shift in public opinion concerning homosexuality, science, and religion”

            I responded to this comment hours ago and it apparently did not go out. You have explained my comments in your comment. As I said I have been out 40-+ years and there was no need for a group like this at that time because “we” were considered mentally ill and so many of us were subjected to institutionalization, mandatory medication and shock therapy. My point when I stated that we have come so far…can you imagine someone in this day having to be subjected to this kind of treatment without any recourse.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

          when I first realized that this was a rebranding effort, I couldn’t help but remember when the Coca Cola tried something similar with their “New Coke.” What a successful marketing campaign that was.

        • Anakin McFly

          Because the news broke all over the globe, and I am certain that that very act deeply affected a lot of people in a positive way; many of whom may be unlikely to search further to learn about the truths that might have motivated the change, or even be aware when the ‘new’ organisation starts up.

          Regardless of how Chambers might not have been entirely honest, I know, at least, that my parents are likely to have seen ‘Ex-gay Christian organisation closes its doors’ on the front page of one of the news sites they visit, and in that moment, come to a greater conviction that their acceptance of me is looked upon with favour by God, regardless of what some of their Christian friends and family may think.

          One of my aunts (and one family friend) actually pointed me to Exodus-related groups, and when I freaked out and passionately refused, my mother said ok, not to do anything I don’t want to, but that I keep an open mind. And to now see that that very group is shutting down and admitting that they were wrong in their beliefs about reparative therapy – that is extremely powerful, and a degree less open that my mind has to be.

  • Kay Carrasco

    What a relief! I’m not the only one who thought this was two-faced, two-messaged, and holding out one hand in “contrition” and b*tch-slapping with the other! So many of my gay and Ally friends are *celebrating* the announcement, quoting from the “apology” and all kinds of happy about it… and all the while, I am utterly appalled. They seem to be taking it at face value and sensing *none* of the stench flowing just beneath the pretty words. Wow. Just wow. *Thank you*, John, for once again calling the BS where you see it.

  • http://www.acuadvantage.com Norah

    John Shore, I adore you for writing this and expressing so eloquently the misgivings I and many others have about Exodus’ rebranding. Thank you.

  • k.s.

    As always, Mr. John Shore, thanks for taking the time to write this. After my initial excitement about the end of Exodus, it put into words some of the “red flags” I saw as I re-read the apology. It doesn’t seem to be the “end” I’d hoped for…

  • RexT

    Our sexuality as human beings, filtered through any religious context created by those claiming their gods have provided this insight, has no value for our species. I accept the apology of Alan Chambers as someone who has never, either by force or choice stepped through the doors of any organization of this nature, while I am someone who’s life has been impacted by his, and other organizations of this nature. Pollutants. And I accept it on a very basic level, for whatever positive ripple effects it may create.

    At the same time, I consider this Letter to Alan Chambers, accurate and 100% appropriate. Well done John!

    The Ripple Effect – of this and like organizations – enormous. In addition to damaging the lives of those who’ve suffered directly, physically present, the untold realities of the harm caused the influence of the organization in general (ripples) will never be fully known.

    As far as I can tell at this point, the apology doesn’t really begin to address the reality of this work and the damage caused. Religion is always a free choice, even in a ‘State’ where it is forced upon it’s citizens as no one can force anyone to ‘believe’ as they do – pretending, in order to survive is something we all know about. Every conversation which expands the understanding of our sexuality as humans through the filter of a religion, lacks authenticity – as it ‘believes’ it owns the truth about who we are. Which is not to say we do not share mutual authentic sexuality through our actual experiences and conversations regardless of religious choices or lack of them.

    If Alan & his wife are happy in their relationship – hats of to them, for whatever reason they’re happy. Creating their lives as a model of what being happy can be for others, with their religious beliefs the key, is more of the same display and example of – this is good, furthering the same negative message – more negative ripples.

    Time will tell, we get to observe and comment. Religion is a major global business, the cash flow is very lucrative for those at the top. I am THRILLED Exodus International has announced very publicly – which alone helps – to Shut Down. I did not like the first episode of Lisa’s program, this one was better, but still did not speak to the range of impact and harm religiosity creates believing it defines all of us.

    I ramble… sorry.

  • Mike

    Your open letter is a histrionic adolescent diatribe. You are just as narrow-minded and bigoted as those you oppose if not more so

    • Elizabeth

      My goal in life, to stoop to their level. Walkin’ the walk. Thanks!

    • Warren H

      Lack of respect for intolerance isn’t bigotry, it’s honesty. Otherwise, BRAVO, what a cogent analysis!

  • Vicki C

    “It had everything to do with a shift in public opinion concerning homosexuality, science, and religion.”

    You just made my point for me. My very simplistic comment did not relate exclusively to the closing of this group but to the fact that we have come to the point in our world that what you just said is a fact. When I came out 40+ years ago we had NO power. We were blatantly fired from jobs, refused housing, and other indignities openly because of our orientation with absolutely no recourse. If an organization such as this had existed back “in the day” the support for it would have been off the charts. There was no need for such a thing….we were documented as mentally ill strictly because we were what we were and so many of us were institutionalized, suffered shock therapy and other extreme indignities with the sanction of the legal, medical, and of course religious communities. Can you imagine that now?

    • Gus

      And laws were made to keep us single, alone and unhappy. Thus fulfilling the prophesy my mother gifted me when I came out in 1974, “You will die alone.”

      In Columbus, OH until the late 1970′s it was legal to deny housing to any same sex tenants who were not at least 1st cousins. It was not enforced in the gay ghettos or the OSU district, but in the “nicer” neighborhoods.

      • Matt

        My God, Gus. That’s just awful. At least my parents sounded civil. They expressed a wish that my love for my partner would “die out, like many first loves do” because I’m so young. Translation: Find a life partner that doesn’t challenge our pre-conceptions so much.

        • Gus

          Do not dispare. In 1985 I found my partner for life who now thinks my mother loved him more than she love me. LOL

          • Matt

            I’m so glad you proved her wrong. And it’s funny how that works out with family you marry into. My in-laws are more my family than my own flesh and blood.

      • Lymis

        Remember, it was as recently as 2003 that it took the Supreme Court to declare that it was no longer legal to criminalize gay sex in the privacy of our own homes – because of a case in Texas where just such an arrest was made.

        It’s still perfectly legal to fire people -even single, celibate people – in 29 US states simply for being gay, and in 33 US states for being transgender. There are NO federal level protections other than some specific policies in some federal agencies that only apply to their employees. This isn’t ancient history, or the “bad old days, when people didn’t know any better.” This is today.

        It’s infinitely better now than it was a generation ago, but we’re nowhere near done.

        • Anakin McFly

          …and this is just in America. Vast swarths of the rest of the world are still way further behind.

  • Shannon

    The Bible does in fact say that homosexual behavior is sinful. There is the matter of where it says it, and what else it says is sinful in those areas. And the idea that historically homosexuality was a behavior not a way to be, not an identity, and people did not commit to their homosexual partners as they did legally to husbands or wives. These things, and numerous other considerations can inform our interpretation of the condemnation of homosexuality in the Bible, but, just as those of us who cannot find it in us to condemn a lifestyle that is scripturally denounced, I can’t hold against those people who, in an attempt to be faithful to scripture, believe that it is wrong and unhealthy. I can fault their judgemental and divisive behaviors. I can hate those behaviors as I hate all evil things, but I can no more change their belief than they can change mine. I can, however, hope that love will prevail, that people will come to care and include each other, understanding that no matter what All people commit sin daily and all people are loved perfectly despite their failings. I can choose to hope that the apologies are sincere. I can answer my call to love, which “hopes all things” and I hope that the positive messages – that homosexual parents are just as good as straight parents, that no one should be degraded or judged as less – I can hope that those are the messages heard. And I can hope that people will accept these steps towards reconciliation. I can hope that we will accept that the apology showed a rather radical change in rhetoric, and I can continue to pray for more radical change, for greater understanding, where the gap between our beliefs closes even more.

    • Richard La France

      Shannon, while I respect all that you’ve said in your paragraph here, I cannot accept that God actually spoke personally to anyone. Supposedly we were given free will by God and that, to me, sounds like a Catch 22 for anyone ever blaming God for anything.

      I like your vision of the future but, as reported today by Rachel Maddow, a very large group of hate groups and individuals have signed a promise that if the Supreme Court grants marriage equality to homosexuals and/or removes DOMA, there will be anarchy and civil war in this country. So, even without Exodus International, or even if it does have the same agenda under its new name, there are enough other groups out there that are ready to fight progress to people who have become the last of the oppressed in the United States.

      Ms. Maddow displayed the document with this threat with the full dialogue and the names of the signators who intend to unite and commit anarchy and promote a Civil War.

      Like you, I’m all for love and forgiveness, but I’m also very angry that there are so many in this wonderful country and around the world who despise our group so severely, all over something God allegedly said and no one will ever be able prove. On the one hand, they say that God is loving and generous and kind; on the other hand they insist He has objections to certain people. Until now, it was a racial thing and the LGBT community. Well, they’ve lived through racial equality and the country is better for it, even if there are plenty who disagree.

      The main issue is that religious groups are trying to take matters into their hands that don’t belong in their hands. The fact that there is so much being done by Tea Party Republicans within our government that is sending our nation into a downward spiral, taking away rights women have fought for and won and continuing to deny the rights the LGBT community is still fighting for. Religion does not belong in the legislative halls of a democracy except to allow it to be practiced privately. The organizations that call themselves Christian but are trying to force political issues based on religion are not Christian at all but are groups of people who cannot and will not accept change and will not give up their desire to be in control of everyone else. That, dear Shannon, is Fascism and cannot be tolerated in America. Thankfully more real Christians – those who are most likely to live according to the Word of Jesus Christ – are coming out against these organizations and the only ones that aren’t coming out against them are in our government, including the President. If they are, they should be public about it instead of letting us believe that they might allow vigilantes to run amok in America.

      • Tim

        Amen

      • Shannon

        I agree that religious groups pushing doctrine on people through government is inappropriate. Christian free will and democracy go well together, IF christians respect the free will of others, understanding that free will was granted because no forced obedience or love can be true, it needs to come from the individual of their own choice. I believe that transformation of heart and mind happens through individuals lovingly influencing others, finding common ground and moving forward. I think it is better to celebrate the steps forward then point out the distance that remains. I hope I didn’t give the impression of blaming God in my post. I know people do, for all sorts of things, but that wasn’t what I was saying. I also am very angry about the hurt that people inflict when they condemn others based on religious beliefs. There are far more passages in the Bible cautioning against judging others than there are about homosexuality. And i have no doubt that there are a number of people who think that threatening anarchy will allow them to bully other Americans into voting their way. I personally think they would be better served trying to buy their way then frighten people into agreeing with them (another problem for another day). What I was trying to say is maybe if we extend grace to those people fumbling towards a less judgemental and bigoted worldview it will influence them further. If we continue to treat them as they have treated others (with negative judgement and censure) we may just be encouraging them to retain their former opinions. Fascism of course, is not Christian. But, I was a good student, and I’ve read “War is the Health of the State” so I know how to recognize the fascist elements in our government, in our culture, and even in myself (my views on eugenics are admittedly a little fascist, but we all have something that drives our politics, be it our religion or our friends, being marginalized because of our race or orientation, or the way we saw broken and abused children while growing up, who would never fully recover from the abuse and neglect of their parents .) The people making up those groups are the same, being driven by something, but neither side is getting anywhere with the other constantly harping about all the ways the other is wrong. Has that ever worked on you? It ususally just pisses me off and makes me cling even more to whatever I was being judged for.

        • Richard La France

          I’ve been commenting on blogs that address what we’re both saying, Shannon. Unfortunately, the comments often fall into name calling and childish behavior that does nothing to bring people closer.

          I’ve tried the interference method, saying that I know people in rural areas are good people because I’ve traveled by car through all but the Northwestern U.S.; while reminding the rural people that there are plenty of good people in the cities. It frustrates the hell out of me that things seem to have gone beyond intellectual discussion as a means to work our problems out and agree to live peacefully together. I even mention that I believe that the politicians are deliberately setting us against one another so that they can pass legislation that is not agreeable to the majority of U.S. citizens.

          Sadly, whatever efforts I make for people to even try to accept one another’s opinions, the name calling and insults continue and there seems to be no hope.

          The “Pledge” that Rachel Maddow exposed is signed by every hate group in America, most of whom hide behind the “old rugged cross” to support their anger and hatred. It is also signed by a politician whose name was not recognizable to me. But most discouraging of all was that it was also signed by the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. I’ve called down African American politicians for their joining the Republican Party and chanting their ridiculous rhetoric about women and homosexuals. I let them know that there were many gay people who supported the fight for freedom his race endured and I feel we deserve the same respect from them. How any African American can support oppression of anyone is just beyond me.

          I even wrote on the wall of the Ugandan Chief who, with the help of American hate groups, composed the Ugandan “Kill the Gays” bill. I reminded him of the atrocities that take place in Africa to this day, with tribes fighting against tribes, with armies raping and murdering parents in front of their children and whisking the children off to brainwash them into the same behavior. I also questioned his Christianity for wanting to murder people who were innocent of anything but loving one another. The date the Kill the Gays Bill was supposed to go into effect was postponed. I have no idea if it was because of what I wrote but I’m hopeful it helped.

          It deeply disturbs me that thugs are running this world and that with all the exposure we all have to atrocities, we have not developed mentally to a state where we know how to solve problems with intellect rather than the slaying of our enemies. So, I don’t want to see our wonderful nation crumble and become like third world countries with tribes of like-minded people against other tribes of like-minded people constantly battling and never forgiving.

          If the haters would just sit still long enough to read the first four books of the New Testament, they’d see that the Man they’re hating in the name of is not the Man they believe he is; the Man they’ve been told he is by power-hungry, money-grubbing false prophets who use their congregations’ contributions to built huge temples for worshiping God instead of displaying the behavior of the Christ they insist we should accept.

          I shall never accept the Christ they are offering in these buildings because I’ve read those four books and Christ rejected no one. Not even a Roman soldier.

          • Gus

            Too many preachers recite John 14:6 and personify it.

          • Jill

            Wow–beautiful.

      • Gordon

        I watched The Rachel Maddow Show from last night today (DVR!) and did not see this segment. It must have been Thursday’s, which I did not record. Why does everything bad happen to me???

        • Richard La France

          Gordon, you can go to the Rachel Maddow Blog on Facebook and catch any episodes you missed, or Rachel Maddow MSNBC on Facebook.

          She’s certainly a breath of fresh air compared to the norm.

          • Gordon

            Found it! Thanks.

    • Barbara Rice

      Shannon, you’re new here, right?

      • steve v c

        Why does anybody believe anything written in the bible? It’s a bunch of nonsense designed to trick illiterate bronze age people into being obeying the orders of the church hierarchy.

        It’s never been about god, because there isn’t one. It’s always been about power. Religion plays on peoples fears and prejudices in order to produce the desired outcome.

        • Barbara Rice

          *Sigh*

          You must have this forum mistaken for the Christian-bashing forum. I’m certain one of our helpful ushers can assist you in finding the correct door.

    • Lymis

      For me, though, Shannon, while I agree in principle with what you say, it’s unrealistic to separate the two ideas, especially in this matter, and especially with this person.

      There are people who look at the Bible and choose to interpret it as condemning the eating of pork products. For the most part, they don’t insist on injecting “Let’s all agree that the Bible says you should die for this” into any discussion about bacon.

      There are not permanent prohibitions on eating pork written into the Constitutions of 34 US states, and laws prohibiting it in most others.

      It’s simply unrealistic to try to separate it out, especially since except in very rare cases, the only time this conversation comes up is when someone DOES use their power to suppress others, advocate changing the laws, or declaring that God disapproves of everyone who is gay. If it were a private conviction, it would be met with sad headshakes. But it isn’t. It’s a public declaration.

      And it’s not even as simple as a disagreement about behavior. It is simply not morally acceptable to debate whether or not I’m allowed to exist. It’s not morally justifiable to say, “There’s room for polite disagreement about whether you are capable of love or whether your family is an abomination.”

      I can and I do hold it against people who have decided, when it is absolutely none of their business, that I am “wrong and unhealthy” for simply existing and going about my life in exactly the same way they go about theirs.

      We can have discussions about the practical value of various approaches of dealing with people who hold these kinds of views. We can talk about whether anger or tolerance is more likely to bring them around. We can talk about their right to be wrong.

      But people who think that some people are inherently inferior because of the color of their skin are WRONG.

      People who think that women are less than men and that their civil participation in society should be restricted because of rigid ideas of gender are WRONG.

      People who think that because they’ve found the “right” religion, it gives them the right to discriminate against people who follow other religious paths and write that discrimination into civil law are WRONG.

      And people who feel that they have the right to condemn, judge, discriminate against LGBT people and write that discrimination into law are simply WRONG. There really isn’t room for debate on that. There isn’t room for “not holding it against them, since they believe it so sincerely.”

      • Anakin McFly

        A question though – why the certainty that no person can be inferior to another by virtue of a social and/or biological trait – sex, race, sexual orientation, etc? I’m a member of multiple minorities so this isn’t an attempt to reinforce my privilege or anything; it’s just that while I’m glad people believe it, because it benefits me, I still don’t know on what basis we consider it objectively true and unchallengeable.

        For instance, many people would (whether or not they’re right is debatable) consider animals to be inferior to humans, even though the animals in question had no say in themselves not being human, and given evolution, if you cast the net wide enough (to at least include human relatives like the Neanderthals) it becomes questionable just how we define ‘human’ anyway.

        • Lymis

          You’re honestly championing the idea that some human beings are inherently inferior to others in the sight of God? Even as a point open to debate?

          • Anakin McFly

            Not in the sight of God – in whose eyes I believe every human is equal. But that’s because I believe God looks at the soul, whereas here I’m wondering more about bodies.

      • Schlukitz

        Say it. Say it. Say it, Lymis.

        Unfortunately, the people who feel that they have the right to condemn judge and discriminate against LGBT people don’t stop there.

        They also feel that they have the right do decide whether we should live…or die. Far too many of these haters have made public declarations that we should be rounded up, declared criminals and made to suffer execution.

        You hit the nail squarely on the head when you said that “There really isn’t room for debate on that. There isn’t room for ‘not holding it agains the, since they believe it so strongly’ .”

        It’s like having a “discussion” with the execution as to whether or not he should chop our head off. We already know what the outcome of that “discussion” will be, thank you very much.

    • http://Fordswords.net David S.

      Can you hope the gay kid in the front pew of that conservative church doesn’t internalize the message that he’s unworthy of love? I’ve said it a thousand times, if the church is serious about loving people who are gay better, it must change its theology. We must believe differently. That demand is neither unreasonable nor unprecedented.

    • Gus

      “people did not commit to their homosexual partners as they did legally to husbands or wives.”

      What total nonsense. Homosexuals have been in committed relationships since the dawn of time. The heterosexual majority just didn’t recognize the relationships “legally” and have tried to dismantle those relationships.

      I have been in a monogamous relationship since 1985. When I explained this to a young man his clueless reaction was, “Wow! That was long before anyone thought about gay marriage.” We have always considered ourselves married in every sense of the word except “legally” and have worn wedding rings. Just as my father’s favorite seminary professor in the 1940′s and his spouse. Just as same sex couples have done everywhere, forever.

      To partner with someone is a basic human, and probably genetic, need. To deny that need is to call us not human.

    • Anakin McFly

      “The Bible does in fact say that homosexual behavior is sinful. ”

      But it doesn’t. Read up into the subject; this is a good start -> http://www.matthewvines.com/transcript

    • Soulmentor

      ******The Bible does in fact say that homosexual behavior is sinful.*******

      NO!! The Bible does NOT say that. Human interpretations, influenced by personal and political agendas say that. Read the pertinent verses with an honest intellectual perspective rather than your preconceived CAREFULLY TAUGHT prejudice and you will begin to understand the GREAT LIE of your first sentence.

      Nothing will change your mind of course, if you actually BELIEVE that God wrote the Bible, or worse, that the Bible is God.

      Try to think rather than be a parrot.

    • Schlukitz

      “The Bible does in fact say that homosexual behavior is sinful. ”

      And the brothers Grimm did in fact say that Little Red Riding Hood existed.

      It’s simply a matter of how many fables one is willing to believe in.

  • Steve Moen

    I have not experienced as much as 0.00001% of the pain that society has imparted upon gay people; and I’m in awe of the courage of 21st-Century Gays who are demanding that we talk about things that “weren’t talked about” when I grew up in the 1950s. Luckily, I’ve re-discovered my Baptismal Coventant that directs me to see the humanity in all people as Children of God. If others who find such “un-humanness” in gay people would get back to the basics of the Christian Gospel (not what the Church and the Holy Roman Empire did with it), we’d all be much better for the experience.

  • Sarah J. Browne

    You hit the nail right on the head.

  • ~Sil in Corea

    Hubris “can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but it can’t fool all the people all the time.” — Abraham Lincoln (paraphrased)

    I fear that we haven’t seen the last of this con-man and present-day Elmer Gantry.

  • Doug Lowry

    Ultimate,as always the truth is about God, rather than any one of us or many of us together…Jesus spent a short lifetime demonstrating the unexpected delivery of a message about just who really is God’s beloved…those who warp and thwart this message need to be called out, objections raised and motivations clarified…many folks do the wrong things for what they believe are the right reasons…the ultimate irony in the world of gays-prayed-straight is that many of them find the love attention and focused spiritual attention God intends for all of us, and many a LGBTQ seeker is attracted by the certainty biblical focus and dilemma rich work of this arena of Christianity …the astounding number of human beings who have been involved in this movement say more about the ongoing failures of progressive churches to provide biblical, nuanced thought rich complexity and an intentional deep community and connection to enspirited LGBTQ seekers than the obviously simplistic gay-made-straight practitioners!

    • Lymis

      Please tell me you are just saying this insanely badly, and that you are saying that these anti-gay churches are providing “biblical, nuanced thought rich complexity and an intentional deep community and connection” on issues and questions other than homosexuality, not that “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” and “We get to sharpen a few out-of-context Bible quotes, ignore most of the rest of it, and use them to bash you with” constitutes anything resembling nuance or community.

      • Soulmentor

        Well, that, and some punctuation would be helpful too, eh?

      • http://Fordswords.net David S.

        The astounding number of people involved in these programs grew up on faith communities that subjected them to the emotionally abusive condemnation and judgement with the ensuing shame and self-loathing. There’s noting very nuanced about that.

        The gay kid on the front pew of a gay affirming or accomodating church probably doesn’t feel the compelling need to be “fixed”. That kid is already loved and accepted for who he is and doesn’t need to seek the approval of those who would wish to abuse him.

        We all fall far short of the mark no matter where our faith falls on the spectrum. It’s patently unfair to cast aspersions about progressive Christians in this case.

    • Brenda in La.

      Doug,

      Could you clarify what you are saying here? I’d very much like to understand better what you meant. I can’t imagine anyone from the LGBTQ community feeling welcome with those people, and yet you can. Please help me see how that could be the case. I’m not getting it.

  • Lee Marshall

    Thanks, John. I’m afraid I was pretty much buying this until I read your critique. Unfortunately, the excerpts I had read didn’t include the ones you have highlighted. I am willing to forgive someone if they sincerely apologize for doing something wrong and try to change so they don’t do it again, and I’ll bet a lot of Christians are too. This is probably more along the lines of a politician who gets caught with his pants down who apologizes and says he’ll never do it again..

    • Lynette

      I think the “smoking gun” for me, was when I watched the video of the speech that Chambers gave to the Exodus conference on Wednesday night. If you’ll go to the Exodus website, I think it’s still up. It’s quite revealing in the fact that the same, humble, contrite spirit that you read in the apology letter isn’t present in his words or demeanor during the speech. He goes on and on about how proud he is of Exodus’ accomplishments over the past 37 years, and says that it’s because of the negative public image that Exodus has garnered that they’re going to “shut down” and reopen with a new name and a “new purpose”. He never makes apologies for the message that they have pushed for 37 years, only for the bad public image that they have created for themselves. This spoke volumes. It said to me, that this was nothing more than a re-branding effort on their part and that nothing has changed at all.

      • http://Fordswords.net David S.

        If you want to see proof that belies the sincerity of the apology, look at the titles available for sale in the online bookstore.

  • Allie

    While I think you’re right about what this “apology” really is, that doesn’t change the fact that most people reading mainstream news are receiving it as “We were wrong, you can’t change people from being gay, we’re sorry and we love gay people now.” I’ve been to several sites, including many unrelated to gay rights such as gaming sites, which made posts to that effect.

    Whether or not they’re wrong about Exodus isn’t necessarily as important as the fact that they THINK Exodus said it’s okay to be gay. Whatever was said, a whole lot of people of all kinds think they just heard “It’s okay to be gay and we’re sorry,” and that’s something to celebrate, even if Alan Chambers is the world’s most cynical cockmonkey.

  • http://www.flowersmademegay.com/ Bodhi Goforth

    Thank you very much John Shore for your open letter, and for this vital conversation!

  • http://www.flowersmademegay.com/ Bodhi Goforth

    I am delighted to see that I am not the only one who smells something very fishy here. ;) I would like to be clear that I am at least as guilty as Alan Chambers (if not more so!) of perpetrating harm upon innocent people during my brief 60 year ride upon this incredible garden we all are blessed to call home. Therefore I strive to remain, to the best of my ability, a messenger of Truth, Love, Mercy, Grace, and Peace as I move forward with this initiative. So if you are reading this, please know I welcome your kind and considerate feedback if you notice I have stumbled. Many, many thanks to all of you for showing up here! You are awesome!!!

    Now here’s my own open letter. I hope y’all have fun reading it! :)

    ***************************************************************

    Anti-LGBTQ “Christian” Organization, Exodus International, to Shut Down After 30 Years of Smug Intolerance

    (An open letter to Exodus International President Alan Chambers, with text taken from the original press release and edited, commentary by President Alan Chambers as quoted in the original release, and my comments. My edits and comments to Alan within the quoted text appear below inside square [brackets].

    *************************************************

    Begin Edited Exodus International Press Release

    *************************************************

    Irvine, Calif. (June 19, 2013) — Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian [sic] ministry [in the World???] dealing with faith and homosexuality [which for over thirty years has perverted the word of God to advance its profoundly misguided campaign of intolerance against the LGBTQ community, announced tonight that it has failed completely and is forming a new and as of today (Jun 22, 2013) website-less ministry at reducefear.org. Stayed tuned for further developments, this promises to be interesting... ;)]

    Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International since 1991, had this to say about the organization [excerpted]:

    “Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism. For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.

    [A good start, except for the "nor biblical" part. Indeed sir, within the context of the abominably perverted contemporary, so-called "Christian", culture it was *entirely* "biblical", and precisely therein, by no fault of your own, lies core of our problem here.]

    “Gay, straight or otherwise, we’re all prodigal sons and daughters. Exodus International is the prodigal’s older brother [sic], trying to impose its will on God’s promises, and make judgments on who’s worthy of His Kingdom.

    [Now I see some difficulty in your words "Exodus International is the prodigal's older brother, trying to impose its will on God’s promises, and make judgments on who’s worthy of His Kingdom." I think you have it entirely backwards. In my view sir, it is the leadership of Exodus International who best represents the Prodigal in this case. You have, like everyone on the planet been freely offered the Mercy and Grace of God along with the great blessing *and responsibility* of great power and authority in the world. Instead of using this blessing wisely, you simply tossed the Mercy and Grace bit, and squandered your power to abuse and ruin the lives of many innocent people. Face it brother, your street cred is shot, and you know it. And moreover, unlike the truly repentant Prodigal, your behavior now has you all too closely resembling that of Judas of Kerioth at the start of his discipleship: arrogant; insanely jealous; obnoxious; and controlling; manifesting the very antithesis of the Holy Nazarene. At this juncture I imagine nothing less than the following statement will be required of you to start repairing the damage your insanity has wrought (if in fact that is your heart-felt intention): "Acting under the auspices of Exodus International, we were in fact arrogant, insanely jealous, obnoxious, and controlling. We were in fact deluded into thinking that we could actually help the people we most condescendingly and incorrectly regarded as damned in the sight of God."]

    [Let's examine another significant challenge here. The crazy parts of your interpretation of the Word of God are in fact widely disputed today, sir (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_and_homosexuality). I tell you now, key pieces of this your interpretation most certainly do NOT comprise the wisdom of a loving all-powerful Creator, nor the Holy Nazarene who speaks Her Truth. Rather, the main of this particularly dark tradition of interpretation arises from a carefully selected few among the words of His Truth which centuries ago were twisted into a hateful, perverse, and sadly now for many, completely accepted message of fear and control. I assert even now it is deployed to the benefit of very wealthy and, alas, diabolically inspired men of mostly Caucasian origin (see note* below) and their largely unwitting human tools; an extremely tragic state of affairs in my view, sir.]

    [*Some say the it is the modern day Bilderberg alliance of New World Order oligarchs, but since the primary leadership behind this shadowy cadre is notoriously challenging to identify, at least for those people who are non-members, incontrovertible proof of this disturbing assertion is rather difficult to come by.]

    “God is calling us to be the Father – to welcome everyone, to love unhindered.”

    [Alan, I pray in Mercy and Grace that your intentions are divinely inspired. I really do. From where I stand here today it sure looks like you have moved from complete intolerance to a most conveniently (for the misguided people who yet appear to pull your strings) guarded acceptance within the yet rather presumptuous self-assigned role of nurturing father. This may well be a positive step for you personally toward the path and work of the Holy Nazarene and his Blessed Mother whom you profess to follow (though in Truth, I smell in this statement a cleverly crafted political feint; shadows of the fallen ones among the Sadducee!). Nevertheless I believe you and *especially* the new organization you purport to represent have yet a very long ways to go toward restoring Peace and Justice in the community of Souls you have so egregiously wounded, your own wounding notwithstanding, sir. I bless your endeavors with Love, Truth, Mercy, Grace and Peace and pray you and whichever organization you support are able to complete your journey out of Darkness and back into the Light.]

    *************************************************

    End Edited Exodus International Press Release

    *************************************************

    For interested readers, the complete original press release is here:

    http://bit.ly/10DFhph

    Alan, I think that’s enough for now. But I’m not yet quite done with you, sir. For my next letter I’d like to carefully explore your public apology. Until then I, to the very best of my ability, strive to remain,

    A humble servant of Love, Truth, Mercy, Grace and Peace,

    Bodhi John Goforth

    Eugene Oregon USA

  • Mitch

    I’m so glad to read this intelligent analysis of a scam artist’s latest. Thank you.

  • http://milesheffernan.com Miles Heffernan

    It is a shame your visceral sarcasm, while maybe clever, misses the point. So what if it was stage managed. This was an international withdrawal like nothing in the history of these nasty ministries. By knocking it, you prevent shameful organisations doing the same as you create a disincentive.

    I have seen the pain these groups have inflicted and the international air time he covets will help destroy this very concept a gay therapy. So put down your smug sarcasm, is my view.

    • http://www.flowersmademegay.com/ Bodhi Goforth

      Respectfully sir, I disagree. I think having an intelligent discussion promotes further intelligent discussion. If I can overcome my anger sufficiently to resist the temptation to name-call; to denigrate and finger-point; and instead use cold reason to simply identify the misguided behavior, then more power to me and to all who likewise follow suit in Grace.

      At the same time I fully appreciate the enormous amount of self-restraint required to resist the temptation to take potshots at a large powerful organization whose perverse, condescending, prideful, presumptuous and now arguably Machiavellian actions have for over 30 years inflicted egregious and long-lasting trauma upon innocent people.

      Yours in Truth, Love, Mercy, Grace, Peace, and Humor

      Bodhi Goforth

      PS. Oligarch funnies #4

      Q. Why are psy-ops the weapon of choice for Black Hat Oligarchs worldwide?

      A. They annihilate the middle class, but leave the servants and real estate intact! ;)

      • Tommy

        I’d rather name call. You cannot reason or engage with a hateful religion crazed righty, so I don’t bother.

        • Mitch

          And the name-calling accomplishes what, exactly, besides making you feel momentarily better?

          I think you’re probably right that you cannot reason or engage with a hateful religious crazed righty, so I’d suggest you instead attempt reasoning or engaging with their audience. If you do so respectfully, you could conceivably do some good. If you stick to name calling, you will be causing your potential listeners to respond the same way you probably would if you found two people shouting insults at one another in the street.

      • steve

        and intelligent discussion is key; sumg sarcasm is not. if we ever are going to be able to have an intelligent conversation it has to be done so without attitude, and humility and a desire to reconcile . you cant fight a person that thinks they are right by being sarcastic and nasty; that is not an intelegent discussion, that is being as one sided and nasty as the person you are opposing.

  • http://exgay.com Marc Adams

    Good News: Exodus “shuts down”. Bad News: It’s just the all too familiar rebranding of a religious group attempting to appear moderate but still holding to that basic tenet that homosexuality is a sin. Good News: HeartStrong and exgay.com remain intact as always. The best thing about beginning with the truth is that it never needs to be rebranded or apologized for. Ever.

  • http://www.flowersmademegay.com/ Bodhi Goforth

    Awesome discussion here. Many thanks again to *everyone* for chiming in.

    In great gratitude,

    Bodhi <3 :)

  • Richard La France

    If, as they say, we are created in God’s image, we being all-inclusive, I presume, then God’s personality covers all human traits – including homosexuality. We are all human and, being created in God’s image, we are all supreme beings. End of argument. Screw anyone who says differently.

    It’s too bad there are those on this good earth who feel they must rule the masses. If God had been really smart He would have made us feral like the animals and we’d still be roaming the wilds hunting our own food and the earth would still be healthy. Above all, we would love anyone we pleased and, like penguins, mate forever if that’s what we wanted. And nobody would say a damned thing because we wouldn’t have cut down the forests to make paper to teach people to read.

    All the blame and shame we place on each other comes mostly from the horrible interpretations of God and nature. Buddha sat under a tree and learned about life through silent observation. He then somehow shared what he learned and the people brought him food for his shared knowledge.

    Now look at the hot messes we have trying to explain religion to us. Holy crap is what it amounts to. Jesus was a simple man with a simple message. His prayer – The Lord’s Prayer – covers everything that needs to be covered and nothing more need be said. Men and women have complicated this simple man and utterly destroyed his beautiful message, to love and care for one another and love your enemy so that you’ll know what he/she is up to. Preachers and priests claim Christ spoke in parables. He did not. He spoke in a tongue his people understood and it seems the Romans and the Greeks and the English had a very hard time interpreting everything into a language the rest of us could understand.

    There are still those who hate the Jews because they don’t believe Christ was the Son of God. That’s their prerogative. I don’t believe it, either, because I just cannot wrap my mind around a virgin birth. Jesus was as radical as we on this blog are and He went against everything the establishment believed in. Some suspect He might have been homosexual and I sort of get that, too, by reading the first four books of the N.T.

    Well, every race on earth has made more out of their particular religions than needed to be made. They’ve used them to judge when they were no different than anyone else. It was and is mainly a way to intimidate the naive and innocent and it works like a charm for those who collect tons of money from it. In reality, and from the scandals within every religion, it is a do as I say, not as I do bit of manipulating the masses and those of us who think for ourselves have learned on our own that those beautiful religions of the past have been turned into the ugliest pile of trash because of the human desire to control others and profit from our blood sweat and tears – usually without much gratitude for us.

    They know we’re onto them and that’s why matters have become so harsh. It’s why they’re working so madly to pass bills to turn back the time for women and to deny rights to LGBT once and for all because the end of their control is near and they know it. They’re frantic and trying to make those who will listen believe that what they’re saying is true and they (the control-talkers and their listeners) are scared shitless of losing their control over us. They’re insisting that Christians are being persecuted and they are not. The liars among them are, but not the true Christians. And, yes, there are many true Christians who are good and caring people and they outnumber these idiots who hide behind the cross and behave as though they’re in command of a grand army out to save the world. The only thing they’re out to save is their asses because they don’t want their churches (I’m referring again to the Christians who aren’t Christians at all) taxed and the Republicans who are far right wing don’t want to lose their free ride with the wealthy if things go their way and the middle and lower class stumble and fall.

    They won’t know what to do without someone to control. I’d rather rather be a wealthy businessman right now than in the shoes of any man, woman or brainwashed child who take it upon themselves to threaten, judge or insist that God has told them things that we all know are absolutely nothing more than piles and piles of hate, lies, deceit and pure bullshit. They think judgment day has come for us and that they are going to bring it on. They are, after all, trying to force the Apocalypse and the Second Coming because they want so badly for it to happen during their lifetime. What they don’t know is that the judgment day is here and they are the ones being judged.

    They’ve come out of the woodwork with their hate speeches and their dehumanizing of women and that, in turn, has brought out the best of us and we are not going to tolerate their crap any longer. Politicians of all parties know it and they know they are going to be forced out but they think that their position will save them because they are in what they suppose are powerful positions and forget that we are the power and they work for us under oaths they took to do so. They’ve broke those oaths time and again and have committing what amounts to treason in anyone’s book. They’ve blatantly ignored what the people of our country, as have the leaders of most other countries that haven’t yet seen the light, want and they are growing more and more frantic and stupid with their actions in every passing day.

    For awhile I was extremely embarrassed that the whole world could see what our politicians have become but, thanks to social media and the exchange student practice, most young people in the world know it’s they and not us who are ridiculous and a menace to our Democracy; and they know that we have a barrel of oafs who refer to themselves as Christian, but even the other faiths know that the behavior betrayed by them is as far from Christian as one can get. Same goes for the zealots of any faith.

    All I have left to ramble about is this: Gay people have managed to survive the hatred and abuse for many, many years. It isn’t necessary to submit ourselves to that. That’s why I left the South many years ago. Except for when I was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1969, I have never denied the fact that I’m gay and I never will. My mates in the Army knew my real status and never reported me and we all got on quite well – even in Vietnam. I only wish they would bring the draft back and make the sons of politicians go and experience it. If Prince Harry could volunteer to go right into the front lines, why shouldn’t the sons of our useless politicians?

    If you’re gay and your parents hate you, leave them and never look back. There are so many decent people out here who will treat you like family and love you as their own that you will forget your parents and not care if you ever see them again. A lot of us are very fortunate that we remained with our parental acceptance, but those of you who don’t, those whose parents want to put you in an organization to change you, report them for abuse and get away from them as quickly as possible. I’m not recruiting boys and men to be gay. I’m telling those who know they’re gay, just as I knew it from a very early age, to never give up. There is nothing at all wrong or sinful about being gay. That’s just a bunch of crap those controlling minds made up so they can mold you into being exactly like them instead of letting you be yourself. And all the gods know we certainly don’t need another truckload of bigots being born every second.

    Be natural, be yourself, never stop learning. If your friends fuck with you and try to control you, don’t let them because it’s just another group of controllers that no one needs in their lives if they want to follow their own paths.

    Love to all and thank you, John Shore, for the best discussion page ever.

    • jack

      Beautifully spoken! Thanks!

    • RexT

      Superbly spoken, thank you Richard. Thank you for sharing you insightful comments, very much appreciated. And Thank You for your service to our country.

    • jamboreee

      I think you do not know the difference between God’s nature/character and sinful human nature/character

      • Gordon

        Maybe, but I do know the difference between a smart and intellectually curious person and a complete idiot. Again, shoo.

  • http://twitter.com/coffeeorsuicide Rob Davis

    For anyone interested, I was interviewed on The Armchair Philosopher podcast yesterday with Greg Horton about this:

    http://www.theaxpx.com/the-axpx-podcast-27-the-re-branding-of-exodus-international/

  • Donna

    Sadly, Mr. Shore, it is you who are wrong.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Oh. Well, that settles it, then.

      • Gretchen

        haha, she done told you, John! ;-P

        • Gretchen

          Um…not.

          Very very good article, John. Shared on FB. My own church community, which is a wonderful group of people but not nearly as open-minded about homosexuality as I’d wish.

          In a recent Bible study, one of the pastors pointed out that Paul spoke out against homosexuality. I countered that, a) we are Christians, not Paulines, and what did Jesus ever say about homosexuality (spoiler alert: nothing); and b) Paul also said that women should not speak up in church and oops, I just did.

          My comments were not well received, sadly.

          • Jill

            But awesome for you for speaking up and saying the thing that needs to be said. Well done!

          • C e m

            Amen! I’m sick of people being a Pauline and not Christian. I stick with what’s written in red for the most part which, IMO, is a different doctrine all together!

          • http://www.patsediting.com Patsy-Anne

            Plus, Paul didn’t speak against homosexuality. There were some reasonable Greek equivalents at that time that would have got that understanding across if that was what Paul intended to say, but he didn’t.

          • Mitch

            I am doing my utmost to be respectful here. Honestly, why does anyone care what Paul may or may not have thought of homosexuality. He thought slaves should obey their masters as they obeyed God. He was a product of the times 2,000 years ago. No one today looks to Paul’s views for guidance on slavery — why need it be different around sexual morality issues?

          • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

            Many people believe that every word of the Bible is direct from God. So despite it being Paul’s letters and his thoughts, they take it to be straight from the mouth of God. So…all of it is law to them.

          • http://www.patsediting.com Patsy-Anne

            I personally don’t care what Paul said on the matter as I am a Christian, not a Paulian, but it is good to have the information ready when you are being attacked by someone who is basing their hatred on a very bad interpretation of the Bible.

          • Mitch

            Thanks. I had not understood (really) that anyone thought Paul’s epistles were the inerrant word of God. I’m not and have never been a Christian of any flavor.

          • Lynette

            What have been misinterpreted as prohibitions against homosexuality on Paul’s part were actually condemnations against idol worship and temple prostitution. Nowhere does Paul condemn loving, committed, same-sex relationships.

          • Elizabeth

            I sort of had the sense, on my last reading of the passage so frequently cited as Paul’s words against homosexuality, that Paul was actually talking about orgies — you know, licentious, unsafe, non-loving sexual excess. They did like their orgies, those Romans did. I even got a sense of… perhaps exasperation is the right word… the same sentiment I get when I tell my kids, for the umpteenth time, that no, it is NOT okay for them to leave candy wrappers all over the living room, given that they did not ask for permission to have candy and indeed have been told repeatedly that food is not to enter the living room. So I have this unscientific and definitely unsupported-by-the-research idea that Paul’s words, in Romans, were written in a frenzy of irritation at people who were doing a lot of wild partying and not enough contemplative relationship-building. And that, much as my pointed phrases to my children about swarms of insects coming to eat them in their beds should they consume food anywhere but the kitchen somewhat exaggerates reality, it seems to me possible that Paul chose… rather stronger language than might otherwise be realistic, just to get the point across. Possibly.

            May not be true, but it sure sounds good. Truthy?

          • http://www.patsediting.com Patsy-Anne

            I love your interpretation!

            So sayeth another Mom.

          • Jill

            I ♥ cool moms!

          • Anakin McFly

            The current view of bible scholars is that Paul was referring to temple sex rituals; it was a common pagan practice then for people to engage in sex with lots of people (including immediate family) in a temple, as a fertility ritual or something. As part of this, men would have sex with the (male) temple priests and deposit their semen in them. Details are fuzzy, but basically: pagan orgy full of incest and with all gender combinations, done to appease the gods, rather than out of any actual love or desire for intimacy.

        • jamboreee

          well since that’s about all the dissent he allows here, what do you expect?

          • Gordon

            Yeah, and I know a f-ing troll when I see one. Shoo.

    • Lynette

      Wrong about what?

  • Amanda

    I am sorry to complain, but as I said in your Facebook comments I am hopeful about this and I believe that kindness and benefit of the doubt are in order.

    Please remember that Chambers is also an ex-gay victim and a human being who has been living in constant state of identity crisis for years. I believe God has been working on him, that much is clear, and that he is so very brainwashed he is struggling against Him. I think that when he says he “can’t” let go of specific beliefs about the Bible and marriage he is being literal: if he does go all the way and finally admits who he is to himself and everyone life as he knows will be over. His wife and kids will be hurt, and I do believe he loves his wife just as much as any gay man loves his best girlfriend.

    I also hope for the best with his timing. This issue is one that people are rapidly changing their minds about. Releasing the letter right before the Our America episode may have even been Lisa Ling’s or the network’s idea: I don’t watch shows like that and the letter was the only reason I knew to tune in. It is unfortunate, ok it just plain sucks that our LGBTQ brothers and sisters have to wait around for others to accept them. By gently reminding those who do believe that a person’s sexuality can be inherently sinful that they need to be consistent in following Christ and to do that they must show kindness and never judge, he just might be doing the movement a solid. Because he did not abandon his beliefs about the Bible and marriage the people who are on the other end of the spectrum from us who need the most work…those people were better able to relate to him and what he had to say. I know it may be naïve, butiI believe with all my heart that God has a hand in all of this. Alan Chambers has a lot to lose and he’s being stubborn, but he’ll come around too, especially if we address him kindly and then simply stand back and let God do His thing:-)

    • Anakin McFly

      This, especially the bit about how those on the other end of the spectrum would be much more willing/able to relate with this stance, as opposed to probably writing him off altogether if he’d gone all the way to outright affirmation of LGBT people. And that does make a difference – if someone whom they see as a conservative ‘Bible-believing’ Christian like them is saying that people can’t change their sexual orientation, they’re a lot more likely to listen, and that’s a lot more kids who aren’t going to be subject to their parents’ angry efforts to ‘fix’ them.

      • Amanda

        Thanks, Anakin. It is difficult to be a good Christian about LGBTQ rights, it becomes easier when I remember that the people I love deserve to have me advocate for them in a more thoughtful, pragmatic manner. We owe them our best efforts, so I try to be kind now, even though it’s hard. It’s not about me. It is about our friends and family who have been hurt by many Christian’s intolerance. If I am speaking on my own behalf that’s one thing. But when we speak on behalf of someone else we must do so politely, or the other side will simply stop listening.

        • Elizabeth

          This is about the sweetest exchange I ever read. I wish the two of you would advocate for yourselves more instead of worrying about how you represent others. The LGBTQ movement is where it is today because a bunch of angry queers rioted for three days after Stonewall. That’s why the parades are in June. Their 50-year tenacity, not their politeness, is why you’re comfortable exchanging ideas freely here in a public forum.

          So-called Christians are the last hold out, and only you can do it. Only you care enough. Here’s what a trans-woman commented on my Facebook page when I shared this post: “[T]he thing is that it doesn’t matter. What most people see is that Exodus said they were sorry and shut down. Do you think we are ever again to hear about their new ministry? What the poor saps in it still think about their good selves as bad selves is micro as of now.” To the mainstream movement, the Christian uproar is micro.

          If you think your energy is best expended essentially converting the converters, fine. Me, I’ll let God handle it, like you said. That generation will die soon anyway. In the meantime, I’ll wear my cross at Friday’s trans march. Your “LGBTQ brothers and sisters” didn’t “wait around for others to accept them.” They’re waiting for us.

          • jamboreee

            so-called Christians aren’t the ‘last’ holdouts, biblical ones are

          • Elizabeth

            And we have a winner! jamboree, where do you want to start (and end): Paul or Leviticus?

          • Amanda

            That’s where I’ve been headed, Elizabeth! I am irritated that I was pushed away from a church community I loved. I’m done shying away, and ready to take back what’s mine. I have to work hard to keep my anger at bay, because it does infuriate me that people would take something so pure and good and make it ugly and mean. On top of that they manage to drag the rest of us down to their level when they inspire such rage that we resort to name calling and swearing and sarcasm.

            I hope you’re right and that this whole deal will seem ridiculous a couple of generations from now. But those small minds are the ones who wind up raising awful children who will often grow up to be just as bigoted as their parents.

            I know these people well. I grew up with them, I’ve known them all my life. They are generally kind to everyone they meet, and then they talk about everyone-best friends even-behind their backs. They looove having something to talk about, and I think I have enough confidence in the intelligence of people at my grandma’s church to try to do a viewing of the Matthew Vines lecture. I’ll have to go through their pastor, I’m sure, but it’s worth a try.

            I’ve always felt the draw to stand up to bullies, but the PETA Foundation was where I learned to be an effective advocate-believe it or not:-)

          • Elizabeth

            I hope I’m right, too. I know those bigoted gossips. My friends list has been non-stop Paula Deen debate like… like there’s something to debate. And their kids are listening to them defend the right to use N-word the same way they hear love the sinner, hate the sin. Over the years I’ve followed and occasionally shared John’s posts, I’ve noticed them soften their positions. It’s a lot different than when I left for New York at 19 and heard countless times, “Watch your back. It’s crawling with gays.” But I don’t think it will ever be normal to them. I’m a little better demonstrating to LGBTQ that Christian doesn’t equal harming and belittling. They’re comfortable in a way they weren’t when I first ‘came out’ as one. Most of them will never completely trust Christianity. They trust me; that’s a start.

            I went through an angry, preachy phase. I don’t think it worked as well as treating everyone the same, blunt with a sense of humor. I like to think I’m not mean. I’m sure I’m wrong sometimes. It would be awesome if you get your grandmother’s church to view the Vines video. Share how it works out. And kudos on PETA. You earned your stripes. :)

          • Amanda

            Treating everyone the same? That’s crazy talk!

          • Jill

            You know I adore you Elizabeth, right? I’m getting all swoony over here…

          • Anakin McFly

            I can’t tell if this post is being sarcastic or not. :/

            But what I do know – while anger may be effective, it comes at a cost.

            I don’t want people to support me just because they want me to stop being angry or are afraid I might hurt them, even if it works. That’s not true support.

            I’d rather they support me because they understand me and want the best for me.

            To that end, I’ll be polite, even when it hurts – and it does often hurt. But I also recall the times when homophobes and transphobes insulted me and I kept my cool, instead of firing back (even when I really wanted to), and in the end, they actually did come around. One went from bigot to ally and thanked me for helping him understand. I strongly doubt that the same would have happened if I’d given in and yelled at them. The call to love our enemies is there for a reason; you can’t end hate with more hate. You can only end it with love.

          • Elizabeth

            Oh no, Anakin! I really meant it’s sweet. You are hopeful for people I gave up on long ago in any but the most abstract sense. Like I said, I’m better at hanging with the gays than the Christians. They’re tougher and funnier and, as John wrote in one of his first viral posts, “the heathen class has just about all the good music.” I do believe it’s up to LGBTQ in conservative churches to make that change happen. I expect to get flak for my cross on Friday. Rightly so. The gay rights movement wrote us off a long ago, too.

          • Anakin McFly

            Gotcha. Thanks! I’ve just too often seen the opposite when people bring up the example of Stonewall, using it as proof that if we want to be treated as equals, we need to go on the offensive and fight, physically or otherwise, rather than keep following the rules and hope the nice straight people will listen to us. >_>

        • Mike

          F*ck being a good Christian.

          From what I know of that Jesus guy, I doubt he’d be one even if it didn’t theoretically involve self-worship.

          Love your neighbor, love God, labels are bullshit.

          • Mitch

            Or, to put it another way, when you think being a good Christian requires you to do things you find abhorrent (like treating as second-class citizens people who do no one any harm whatsoever), it’s time to decide whether being a good person or a good Christian is more important to you. And if you find yourself forced to make such a decision, perhaps your concept of Christianity and God is worth reexamining, as it suggests that you think God doesn’t want you to be a good person.

          • Anakin McFly

            But what if it instead means that one’s definition of ‘good’ is wrong?

          • Mitch

            Well, yes, that’s exactly the issue. If your definition of “good” is in conflict with what you think you are being told by God, whether via her voice directly or by her representative’s writing from several millennia ago, you have a problem to deal with.

            This is not the same as when you “want” to do something but decline to do it because you believe that wiser persons than you have advised against it in ways you don’t understand. That’s not a problem — you just decide whether you want to go with your “want” or with external advice you respect.

            The problem occurs when the external advice conflicts with what you, personally, conceive of as “the good.” For example, perhaps you feel that you should not fly a plane into a building built by the infidels, because you certainly would not want to be killed by someone you’d never met and who’d done you, personally, no harm. What to do when the external advice from mullahs and their interpretation of your religion’s holy books tells you that you must do that, because…, because, uh, because (oh, yes) God insists.

            This same situation probably exists with members of the Westboro Baptist Church, who probably have no wish to be mean to anyone, but who are given external advice that says what appears to them to be mean is, in reality, a deep kindness.

            And this same situation probably exists with others, if you get my drift.

            In short, any God I’d want to worship would demand of me the moral courage to do as I thought was right, not to defer to external advice that strikes me as cruel, outdated, and lacking in insight. Your mileage might vary.

  • Nate

    “I figure that must be the case; otherwise, one is forced to conclude that you haven’t in the slightest changed your belief that gay people can and should pray away their gay. And if you still believe that the Bible proscribes, denounces, and condemns homosexuality, then … well, then what exactly are you apologizing for? About what are you feeling remorseful that matters?”

    Here’s where the distinction needs to be made for people who think that homosexuality is acceptable- there is really NO reason anyone needs to agree with you in order to prove that they’re not going to do horrible things to gays. Apologizing for what Exodus did doesn’t require an apology for the belief about homosexuality.

    Please. Is this not obvious? Or do you really think that anyone who takes ANY moral position on something is destined to wreck people’s lives?

    Whatever else Chambers did, he is ethically able to apologize for “pray the gay away” theology and still hold the belief that homosexuality is sinful. He should be able to renounce any condemnation for homosexuals, any fix-it scheme to change them, any manipulative sanctification hucksterism he engaged in (this is what reparative therapy is, along with zillions of other “inner healing” ministries and sanctification methods), and still believe that the Bible proscribes homosexuality. This is not a hard distinction to make. It’s just that no one seems to believe that sin could possibly still be sin if there’s no way to make it disappear. It’s a blatantly prosperity-gospel worthy belief.

    Give him this ground to stand on, because it’s ethically the only right thing to do. You can’t just go around insisting everyone have the same opinions as you. You can insist on mutual co-existence and reconciliation. As for the intentions behind his new ministry, well, we’ll see.

    • Mitch

      Nate,

      You’re probably aware that for many centuries, left-handedness was considered, on biblical grounds, to be inferior to right-handedness. Jesus was seated at the right hand of god, Satan was portrayed as left-handed, the list goes on. Imagine for a moment that we lived in a culture that still had this moral distinction between the left-handed and the right-handed, and a group had been dedicated to repairing the left-handed.

      Yes, it would be wonderful for a person behind such a group to acknowledge that their repair efforts had failed, and had even done damage (as such efforts most definitely have done).

      But for the person to sigh and acknowledge that they still recognize the biblical injunctions against left-handed people represents an enormous failure of moral courage on their part, especially if they themselves are left-handed. Left-handed people were not waiting to be tolerated, they were waiting to be recognized as the same as right handed people, with the exception of favoring a different hand.

      For me, the personal nature of Christianity, in which God becomes incarnate in a human being, is very problematic precisely because, for many, it freezes God in a representation that must inevitably fall short of God’s true nature (whether or not one believes in God). God as Jesus is inevitably intermixed with the understanding of the period of incarnation; an example of goodness as defined in that period, complete with the prejudices and the ignorance of any time and place.

      This is one reason that Islam, for example, forbids any representation of the divine, and Judaism represents God as a voice from a burning bush.

      I believe reading any spiritual text imposes a responsibility on the reader. Part of that responsibility is applying their own judgment to the text. The Old Testament is filled with scenes of infanticide that must be repugnant to any modern reader — to assert that the Old Testament is proof that God believes in infanticide is to mix up the message of the Old Testament with the particular uncivilized tendencies of the time and place in which it was written. The same applies to the understanding of sexual morality that may (or may not) be presented in the New Testament.

      Both left-handed people and gay people are simply different. The difference takes on weight only depending on what the people of a time and place consider important. Isn’t it curious that in both cases, difference was equated with inferiority? Have you noticed this in other situations? Perhaps by offering nonjudgmental love to people who are different than you, you can gain more personal understanding of their true natures. Ignorance is often the force behind prejudice, and the awful thing about ignorance is it’s hard to realize how truly ignorant we are. I’ve heard one person say this: we see ourselves from the inside, but we only see others from the outside. No wonder we don’t realize we’re the same.

      • Nate

        Mitch, thanks for your reply.

        For the record, I don’t actually personally make a hard and fast rule for the interpretation of the homosexuality texts in the Bible, and they’re few and far between enough for me to say that even a traditional reading can’t make a big deal out of it and remain Biblical.

        My point was that, regardless of Mr. Shore’s disagreement with Chambers on the morality of homosexuality, he ought not to equate the bigotry and reparation therapy of Exodus and conservative Christianity with the belief that homosexuality is a sin.

        This is clear because EVERYONE makes moral judgments, quite frequently really, yet they are not (always) out doing horrible things to those people, or engaging in twisted, disrespectful methods for changing them. (Which, I think is clear in my comment, I find reprehensible.) If you’re going to believe that moral position = ill treatment, feel free to jettison your belief that infanticide is wrong, because you’re afraid of doing an injustice to the baby-killer somewhere down the line.

        It’s just terrible logic, clouded by passion, plain and simple

        This is most certainly true:

        “Isn’t it curious that in both cases, difference was equated with inferiority? Have you noticed this in other situations? Perhaps by offering nonjudgmental love to people who are different than you, you can gain more personal understanding of their true natures.”

        Yet the phrase non-judgmental has never meant “having no notion of what is true.” Rather it means, or ought to mean, that you are not acting as some person’s judge- carrying out a denunciation and passing sentence. It refuses to treat them as inferiors, as you describe it.

        I’m actually very non-judgmental with homosexuals. I have more of a judgment problem with people like Chambers. I just think it’s irresponsible to operate like Shore has operated here: to not to be satisfied with mutual understanding and reconciliation, which Chamber seems to be offering, but to insist that he change his definition of sin altogether. In order to change someone’s view of sin, you have to have a *case* for it, and he doesn’t posit one here. No one on this side of the issue really does other than “people should be able to do what they want.”

        Which is fine, I guess. But it’s no basis for telling everyone else to agree with what they’re doing.

        Plus, it’s not as if Christianity has no history of people who vehemently disagree on things being reconciled (although to look around, you might think not). And it really doesn’t matter how ardently you believe homosexuality is “just different.” You have to allow people to make that decision, based on how they view the text, and their understanding of human nature. You can draw boundaries about how they live out that belief, but it’s manipulative and stupid to try and change people’s beliefs, or insist they change them before you stop heaping on criticism. On this point, as of the writing of Chambers’ apology, it’s Chambers 1, Shore 0.

        • Mitch

          Thanks, Nate, for the thoughtful and eloquent reply.

          I think you are right when you say “in order to change someone’s view of sin, you have to have a *case* for it…” And that’s exactly my difficulty with the religious concept of sin, whether in Christian doctrine or that of other religions.

          I can offer a rational case for why a particular activity is without a victim, and you might accept my case or not. Regardless, a wide variety of people with differing perspectives can rationally discuss the activity and have a chance of persuading one another as to whether it is truly victimless or not, and can persuade one another of whether or not “victimless” status is sufficient for something to be acceptable in a community. In fact, the persuasiveness of my argument may change as new evidence is brought to bear.

          I cannot do the same with someone’s definition of sin, particularly if their definition is purely based on a statement in a religious text. (Nor can they persuade me that they are correct, if I happen not to believe in their religious text.) I can only point out that the text they hold inviolate has statements that they do not in reality accept, and offer them the possibility that they are, regardless of any protestations they might make, actually picking and choosing which fragments they believe and the relative importance they assign to different fragments.

          Isn’t there a religion that, until recently, believed blacks were lesser than whites? In such a belief system, racial intermarriage might well be deemed a sin. If the discussion ends when someone points out textual justification for their racist belief, there is really no way to convince the person, because they can always say that their text is inerrant, and who am I to argue? Yet their behavior is still racist. Yes, there’s a difference between the rabid racism that supports, say, slavery of a race and the genteel racism that simply accepts someone as, sadly, inferior because of their race. But either way, it’s still racism, and still has a terrible impact on people’s lives.

          I believe the same holds with respect to many people’s interpretation of the bible and homosexuality. You are right — there is no way for anyone to convince someone that their beliefs are wrong if their beliefs are 100% grounded in a pre-existing document that they deem inerrant. I see that as a problem with grounding one’s beliefs entirely in a pre-existing document. While some see that as faith and surrender to God, I see that as an abdication of human responsibility. I think part of human responsibility is to recognize the priority of love and compassion, and to investigate for oneself whether something alleged to be “sin” is actually sinful, rather than delegating one’s opinion to authors and editors who lived thousands of years ago.

          • Nate

            You bring up excellent points. It seems to me you’re going about this in the right way.

            I don’t believe I could ever convince anyone that homosexuality is sin. I also think that if someone believes it isn’t sin, it’s not doing them a lot of good to harangue the Christian because of their beliefs in the matter. In fact, it’s probably a huge misallocation of their energy. What people on both sides could be doing (and some are, but not many) is instead of arguing the moral point, asking “how do we then coexist, since we’re not going to agree?” That would actually be mutually beneficial, and I believe that if people actually tried it, there would be a way forward, for some at least.

          • http://Www.patsediting.com Patsy-Anne

            That’s the thing, it isn’t a moral point. Homosexuality is morally neutral. It is a state of being in the same way that being left handed is. You can use your left hand to write abusive comments on the Internet and that would be a sin. Or you could use your left hand to create uplifting pieces of art and that would not be a sin. Sins lie in people’s negative actions.

            Those who claim that it is a question of morality have no understanding what homosexuality is and they do great harm with their words. That is why that opinion must be challenged. It is not a case of let’s just ignore and pretend that we are great friends while all the while we are being stabbed in the back.

          • RexT

            I beg to differ with you Nate, ‘What people on both sides could be doing (and some are, but not many) is instead of arguing the moral point, asking ‘how do we then coexist, since we’re not going to agree?’ That would actually be mutually beneficial, and I believe that if people actually tried it, there would be a way forward, for some at least.

            Who’s arguing the moral point? Not ‘We The Gays’ – we are quite well aware of the fact we are not morally arguable, anymore than heterosexuality is morally arguable. We ‘Get It’ about who we are, we are 100% exactly like everyone else in our shared humanity – from head to toe, across the spectrum. However, humans are diverse in many ways at the same time, and being a living creature, most of us have a natural sexual desire, drive. Part of this includes all of the same emotional bits and pieces of being, as all are diverse in preferring to be partnered and coming home to a person or preferring to live alone, A-Z in what we prefer as individuals with our day to day lives. To the degree we meet others, who we find emotionally attractive, sexually attractive and interact, move forward, with or move on without – we all do this exactly the same way – regardless of orientation. It’s who we all are. When people choose a religious faith, and everyone makes the choice out of whatever experiences they’ve had growing up in their families, it’s their choice and they believe out of their choice. Sexuality has, in many religious choices, a history of limited freedom and a great deal of fear (of god) is very rooted within all of the Abrahamic groups, for those who’ve maintained a strict adherence the latest version of text. Gender Identity, Sexuality as a whole, Sexual Orientation, continue to be ‘challenged’ out of a place of morality by exactly WHO? The religious groups who do not even believe there is such a thing as homosexuality? The religious groups who continue to speak of Gay People who ‘Practice Homosexuality’ ..? The religious groups who continue to condemn others as “An Abomination?” The religious groups who have NO concept of Context – and completely lack the ability to openly discuss the possibility – based on known facts, the words they are reading and believe to be true have for centuries been written and re-written again? Who owns this conversation on Morality? I certainly do not – and I certainly know quite clearly – I am not an immoral person. I generally find it quite easy to Respect all Human Beings as Humans, including their Freedom in the choices they make about the faith they wish to believe in and live out of. Morally, there is no reason to object to this path in life. I do wonder, however, why those who have chosen a path in their religious faith – often condemn the faith of others even within the same basic faith? The ‘in-fighting’ – again, just looking at the who’s who within the Abrahamic group of religious ‘experts’ and leadership – who’s right, who’s wrong, which is the morally correct choice? I have no clue, nor do I care. But I do care about the ongoing battles between and amongst the various groups – especially when it involves violence.

            And, To Get Back To The Moral Agreement or Dis-Agreement about who I am. As a pentecostal fellow I quite like actually, recently said in a general conversation about something to do with ‘gays’ – ‘first of all, there is not even agreement of anyone actually being homosexual.’ (which leads to the ‘Sexual Preference’ label and same sex attraction and morals and – GASP, SIN!) Great. He says this without hesitation (and I’ve probably quoted incorrectly, but about the same thing) to a 60 year old Gay Man. I told him to be sure and ‘let me know’ when the reality of who I am is finally agreed upon, scratch that request – Who cares? ‘Reality’ – isn’t for many others, reality.

            I am not on a ‘Side’ – there is not a Side when you are part of a minority of diverse individuals who have nothing to do with one another in general terms but are ‘grouped’ by others and considered – fill in the blank. When those who have determined out of their position of power – population – etc to impose their beliefs on other human beings, they are imposing their beliefs, and quite often in a harmful way. When it comes to Sexual Beliefs, the evidence of impact is happening every day. We have nothing to ‘prove’ about our morality – sexually, as we are – sexually who we are. Through the ‘Filter’ of any particular religious faith one has chosen, we may in fact be what you believe us to be – but ONLY for you, and that’s quite fine. It’s fine as long as you realize – we do not all live behind the same filter and we all live in a world (here) where civic matters not only require, but demand diversity be on the table at all times. Respecting the lives of others without any filter at all – is not impossible, and to be honest, not even that difficult. Most of us manage to do it all of the time, authenticity of great importance. Coexisting, respectfully, how often is this the conversation from the various ‘Pulpits?’

            The very purposefully created’ RAGE against and about ‘The Gay Agenda’ – the driver of this ‘morality’ conversation, does not have two sides, three sides or more sides. Those who drive this rage, about something which is completely non-existent, consider themselves morally superior to others.

            They – of course, Are Not Superior. In fact they are out right liars.

            As everyone on the Planet with any degree of knowledge working within their skull knows, the reality of our presence, we LGBT citizens of Earth, has changed. It has not changed by taking a ‘Side’ – it has changed because we are changing it by our demanding to not just ‘co-exist’ but to co-exist with exactly the same basic civil rights and protections as any other citizens on the Planet. It has changed because We, ‘The LGBT’ human beings have Stepped Forward, Out and Visible – and while doing so, we have destroyed forever the ‘Filter’ created over centuries of various religions driving the conversation about ‘morality’ – or lack of morality. All of humanity shares responsibility in our social evolution out of how we live our lives, contributing regardless of positive or negative actions.

            I continue to hear the conversation about the conflict – the morality conflict – a self created conflict, out of choice of faith. Those of the relevant faith have many different ways of considering this ‘conflict’ – including no conflict at all, as they’ve resolved it to be as natural as it is natural. And it is natural. Particularly when the filter allows one to sense the humanity of others – without the noise of some pulpit governing the ‘senses.’ Often this includes the element of ‘curing’ someone so they may live in their ‘faith’ – the variations of this are many, this ‘curing of’ – this broken element of this human. When there is nothing to ‘Cure’ – in the first place, the goal of doing so is nothing less than inhumane, but religious freedoms do allow this way of being on the planet.

            More specifically, Religious Freedoms are protected by our government and are free to determine standards of morality out of their beliefs and live by these standards within their religious world. They are not provided with the Freedom to define what is so for those who do not choose to live and believe out of their faith and the Filter it requires for those who believe in it. Unfortunately, many Religious Groups – have no respect for others and continue their agressive action, in this case, against ‘We The Gays.’ Our simple response of standing Firm in the Place of Being – Just as anyone else, is considered an attack on the morality of ‘…fill in the blank again.’

            The reason we are this far down the road of Equality – and it is a road littered with blood and bodies, has everything to do with coexisting and no longer tolerating the condemnation of religions. There is no ‘goal’ of attaining agreement of or from any one of the 1000′s of religious faiths which may or may not be supportive of life on the Planet. And we are Life On The Planet.

            Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are. An Action. Not An Agenda. Visible. Very Present. As all Human Beings Should Be, with Respecting Others Who Are Different a Conversation about Morality which matters as we continue this experiment of improving our social evolution. Which certainly includes Religious Freedom, the vast range of choices including no thanks.

            The only argument over or about ‘Morality’ – is taking place within any number of religious organizations, about how they religiously consider others who are defined out of their beliefs. Morally speaking, it doesn’t matter outside of the organization – unless or until the organization demands it apply to all. As is often the case. The Audacity…. Seriously.

          • Jill

            The Awesomeness of this comment…seriously. I love it so much.

        • Anakin McFly

          I was with you until you said “No one on this side of the issue really does other than “people should be able to do what they want.””

          That is a completely, offensively, condescendingly inaccurate statement and does a gross disservice to the years that many people, including bible scholars, have spent tackling the subject in-depth. If it was, indeed, solely about believing that people should be able to do what they want, a lot of current LGBT-affirming Christians would not be. Please do some basic research on the topic. Here’s a good start: http://www.matthewvines.com/transcript

  • Dallas Jenkins

    John, you keep wanting people to apologize for their beliefs, and you keep wanting to scorn people for their beliefs and can’t accept that it is possible to believe that something is sin while still being loving and accepting. Even if I’m wrong in my belief that it is a sin to have sex outside of a male/female marriage, why does it make me a bad person or a person worthy of your scorn, sarcasm, and disdain? Why does it make me hateful in your eyes if I’m not hateful?

    None of my homosexual friends find me hateful or mean or intolerant whatsoever, just like none of my straight friends who regularly have sex outside of marriage find me hateful because I happen to believe (rightly or wrongly) that it is outside of God’s plan to have sex outside of marriage. They understand that I know that I sin every day as well and find myself no better.

    You are more disdainful and dismissive and sarcastic and caustic towards those of us who happen to disagree with your interpretation of scripture than I’ve ever been in my life towards any homosexual.

    It makes perfect sense for Chambers to apologize for his behavior and attitude but not need to apologize for his beliefs.

    • Lynette

      Because it is that “belief” that is being preached from too many pulpits and lands on the ears of gay teenagers who are struggling with their sexuality. It is that “belief” that drives some of them to kill themselves because they can’t change. It is that “belief” that makes some of them live a lie for their entire lives, and never find the fulfillment that they could find in a loving partnership. It is that “belief” that causes too many parents of gay children to cast those children out of their homes because they can’t accept that their children are gay. It’s that belief that is at the base of all of the hatred and abuse that LGBT persons have always endured. Until that belief is no longer a belief held by people like you, nothing will change.

      • Nate

        This is a complete mischaracterization of belief. The belief that something is sin has never forced anyone to treat people in the way you describe.

        • Lynette

          Excuse me? Then just what is the basis for it? When a preacher pounds on his pulpit and says that homosexuality is a sin and points his finger at the kid on the second pew, and that kid goes out and kills himself, what do you believe was the motivation behind that? It has EVERYTHING to do with why LGBT persons have been persecuted and continue to be persecuted, whether you want to believe it or not.

          • Nate

            Well in the Christian lexicon, it’s sin. Sin is what causes preachers to condemn homosexuals.

            Are people who believe racism is wrong guilty of provoking racists to commit suicide? Provoking someone to self-condemnation is an act of hatred. Believing something is sin is what EVERYONE does ALL THE TIME

          • Lynette

            And it is preachers condemning kids for being as they were born who are the ones who commit the most heinous sin. Their blood is on their hands as well as yours.

          • Barbara Rice

            Racism is learned behavior and it can be changed. Being gay is innate and cannot.

            And no, not EVERYONE believes something is sin ALL THE TIME. Perhaps you do, but that’s your stuff.

          • Allie

            First of all, you don’t get to define the Christian lexicon.

            But your analogy is hopelessly backwards. It’s more as if Christians were telling all black people that black people go to hell unless they paint themselves white and pretend to be white.

          • http://www.enesvy.com Nicole

            Yes. This.

          • http://Www.patsediting.com Patsy-Anne

            You are somewhat right but mostly wrong. Some “Christians” decry homosexuality as sin, but they are ones who have a thin grasp on the English language and little understanding of the Bible. No major Christian denomination states that homosexuality is sin. Homosexuality is a state of being that requires no action to exist. Without negative action, there is no sin.

            Those who constantly trumpet that homosexuality itself is sin place homosexuals is danger of violence from people who use their words as justification to go bash a gay.

            Your own words condemn you. When you said that provoking someone to self condemnation is an act of hatred, that is exactly what you do every time to say that homosexuality is sin.

    • Lynette

      Couldn’t have said it better, John. Thank you.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Dallas: this comment.

    • Lymis

      “None of my homosexual friends find me hateful or mean or intolerant whatsoever,”

      The most you can know is that none of your homosexual friends tell you to your face that they find you hateful or intolerant.

      Anyone who categorized me as a friend and still feels that my life, love, and marriage is sinful is so clueless and so blind that I certainly would be unlikely to bother to inform them how I felt about their intolerance. Similarly, I generally don’t bother to engage anyone who calls me a homosexual.

      The thing you have to remember is that members of very small minorities either hide themselves away in insular communities, or learn to hold our noses when we deal with biased and bigoted people. Otherwise we’d never get through the day.

      The question isn’t whether you have any gay people you consider to be friends. The question is whether there are any gay people who consider you to be a friend. With this attitude, my guess is that the numbers don’t quite match up.

  • Beth W

    Some of the comments have said that you are not being Christian because you questioned Mr. Chambers’ apology. I would say that raising concerns about Bernie Madoff’s application to lead the SEC, or about a registered sex offender “sincerely desiring to teach first grade,” is not in conflict with the Christian’s responsibility to forgive. Mr. Chambers has been the leader of a “Christian” organization that has been among the most damaging to gay persons. His stated desire to continue to hold a leadership position in the church’s relationship with the LGBT community is disturbing. As Christians we should strive to not bear the lion any personal malice. But we also have a responsibility to not put him in charge of security for the lambs. Thanks for speaking out for the LBGT community.

  • Rev Dr Steve Wayles

    Thanks for this Great analysis of Exodus Int- and the potential same ministry of it’s new incarnation because it still believes the same thing – and reads the Bible in the same prejudicial way. Exodus and many other Christian groups do need to apologize for the WAY in which they continue to read the Bible – as if it were judging gay people for being or acting gay. People once read the Bible in the same way to support their prejudices in favor of SLAVERY. At face value, the Bible supports slavery. People once read the Bible in that selective literal way to support the idea of “a woman’s place in a marriage” as property of her father, then her husband. And Yes, texts CAN BE read at face value and interpreted to say that the Bible supports the institution of slavery and the notion of women as property: people did it for years – and it was a sin! We don’t do it anymore!
    The present sin of the majority of the church (and thank God there are exceptions) is its refusal to consider the contemporary Biblical alternative interpretations on the basis of solid scholarship – of the 6 “gay bashing texts.” They are not about equal same gender relationships at all, but rather about prostitution, pedophilia, military conquest sexual abuse – “treating men like women” as a form of humiliation (like we saw at Abu Graib a few years back) or ill treatment of the strangers (as in the Sodom and Gomorrah story); Jesus says that the Sodom and Gomorrah story was about inhospitality – like the way much of the church treats its gay/lesbian neighbors- while Paul’s writing is to oppose not same gender relationships, but the male prostitution prevalent in pagan worship of the day – where straight people would have sex with priests of their own gender to be close to the deity involved! (and how could you, being united to Christ, unite yourselves to other deities bringing Christ into union with the those priests through your sexual activity!)
    Jesus says nothing about homosexuality, period. But he says plenty about utilizing the Bible to beat people over the heads.
    The ways of reading the Bible that supported slavery, male domination of women, keeping women out of the ministry, treating children as property, are the same ways of reading the Bible that supported apartheid and segregation and now anti-gay, anti-lesbian attitudes. These ways of reading the Bible (without looking at the intent of the text or the context) are a sin against the God who has created the fantastic variety of this world in color, race, gender, gender identity and sexual orientation, weight, height, levels of ability, talents interests and much more.
    The judgment of God- according to Jesus – is not on the gay folks, but on the disciples who put roadblocks in there path that keep them from God’s embrace. If the Jesus of the Gospels were physically present today and attending ANY churches or Synagogues, you know that from his pattern, he’d be in those churches and synagogues that welcome and affirm all people -as he always did. It is not a sin to be what God created you to be. Jesus loved making scientific observations about the weather and growth of plants and human beings – and today there is no responsible scientific community which any longer suggests that people “choose” their sexuality. Sexuality a vocation – an assignment that you grow into accepting, like any other vocation. The church needs to affirm people’s vocations not block them!

    • Gordon

      Great comment, Rev. Wayles. I’m going to save this one for those times when I’m dealing with someone who believes that being gay is a choice and a sin because the Bible tells them so.

  • Matt

    I am conflicted about Exodus closing.

    On the one hand, yes, their promise of change was a bad thing. It was not only a false promise for many but it focused the homosexual believer on their orientation rather than Christ. At the same time, they themselves did not realize it was a false promise. They earnestly believed what they were doing was helping themselves and could help others. They were sort of explorers in unknown territory. Sometimes you have to try something to realize it doesn’t work. So, while I have never agreed with the idea that everyone, or even more than a tiny minority, can or should change their orientation, I am not angry at them for holding out that ideal for too long.

    On the other hand, Exodus was the first place i found people like myself. It was the first time I really felt part of the Church. I was in my 20s and to walk into a group where other Christians actually felt the same temptations I did and did not hate me for them was an incredible experience. For the first time I had friends I could really TALK to and who would UNDERSTAND. One thing I find is that even today straight Christians have little understanding just how lonely it is to be gay, sexually conservative and Christian. I wonder if those gay men and women in their teens and 20s today, who have grown up with homosexuality at least being talked about, if not always accepted, can comprehend how very isolated gay Christians were in the 70s and what a relief it was to finally find others like oneself.

    So I understand and agree with their decision to close. Still, it is like saying goodbye to an old friend and I will miss it.

    As to your own letter, Mr. Shore, I would say this: be careful that you do not make the same mistake Exodus made in being so hard assed you drive others away. Be very cautious about not accepting an apology. Anger and sarcasm make you no friends and people like myself, who disagree with Exodus but received some benefit from it, are not likely to find such an attitude appealing. In fact, I find your letter rather revolting – more so than I ever found Exodus.

    Keep in mind that society today has been willing to accept gay rights largely because they have seen the Church act belligerently toward gay people. If gay people and their supporters react in kind, they will just as quickly turn the tide the other way.

    So be cautious with your anger.

    • Mitch

      “Keep in mind that society today has been willing to accept gay rights largely because they have seen the Church act belligerently toward gay people.”

      For the most part, Matt, your comment is good food-for-thought. And certainly advice to be cautious with your anger is good advice.

      From your perspective, perhaps, society has accepted gay rights largely because of the Church’s belligerence. For most people, though, other reasons have applied. Society has accepted gay rights because gay people stopped accepting second class citizenship, starting a half century ago with drag queens in downtown New York rioting against police abuse. The simplest way that most of us have refused to accept second class citizenship is simply to be honest and open with all about who we are. *That’s* what brought about equal rights — the church’s belligerence is just its fearful response to people insisting it is wrong.

      • Jill

        “Society has accepted gay rights because gay people stopped accepting second class citizenship”

        Exactly. Those of us straights, living in oblivion, that found it relatively easy to refer to our uncle as a “permanent bachelor” who lived with his “roommate” needed our wake-up call. It didn’t happen because everyone played nice in the same sandbox together.

        I didn’t understand how happily oppressive US laws are against same- sex married couples, nor how many couples are being denied such unions, until people made these injustices heard loudly. I didn’t understand how many of the trans community we are losing to suicide, homocide, self-destruction, until the voices began to be broadcast to a larger audience.

        Yes, anger is used too often as a wooden club to the face, but anger, used justly and wielded prudently, is a necessary tool as a means of actual change. Quiet lamenting and hand-wringing didn’t educate me, righteous anger did. Perhaps my own outrage is too reflective of my impatience, but as an ally I don’t want to grow complacent or lose focus. If anger is what keeps me on task, so be it. Jesus is my example on how to channel it well.

        • RexT

          Very well said Jill! And, thank you for getting it so well. Anger is a relevant fact, for a host of reasons, for all individuals withing the LGBT community as well as our allies. Denying anger plays a part in any civil rights related movement is ridiculous, as there is always some degree of harm being caused to some, by others. Of course, this makes people angry. Used appropriately, it drives effective action. A very good example of what may have appeared to many at the time as ‘displaying inappropriate anger’ (or using it), ActUp – out of Larry Kramer’s demand for action from our government in drug development for HIV/AIDS. It worked. It saved lives. And it was extremely effective during a time of crisis. Much of the desperation at the time, in addition to dying at a rapid pace, our best friends, our partners, a vast majority of these well under 40, was the obvious lack of effort and the outright hostility being created by the Jerry Falwells of the world. (And their actions continue to kill people driving misunderstanding about the realities of a disease then – and now). People have a right to be angry and generally do use their anger appropriately.

          Allies are the single most important key element for any minority group to gain momentum and strength out of which to move forward and into a place of success. Thank you – !

        • Elizabeth

          Damn, Jill. *thumbs up*

        • Jill

          Damn. Please forgive my pathetic spelling… the word really is homicide. A Freudian slip. Wow. I hate Freud.

          • Mitch

            Now I’ve had two good chuckles from it. Thanks.

          • http://Www.patsediting.com Patsy-Anne

            And what is it about Freud and his cross-dressing underwear anyway!?

          • Jill

            Patsy-Anne, don’t even get me started… Freud was the one with the mommy complex and misogyny, Jung was the true visionary.

            I have a fantasy where Jung just had enough of Freud’s bullshit and cold-cocked him, and then it just turns into a Matrix-style beatdown. The last words from Carl: “And the horse you rode in on, bitch!”

            (Should I have kept that to myself, I wonder…)

          • http://www.patsediting.com Patsy-Anne

            Glad you didn’t!

          • Matt

            Look how fierce you are, Jill! And yet so clear and effective. I know a lot of your story, my dear friend, and knowing that just makes me all the more proud of you. If you ever wonder if you’ve won, if you’ve made it: Yes, you have. You’ve saved this transgender person’s life and sanity, no doubt about that.

          • Elizabeth

            Hey Matt. I totally platonically love you. *fist bump*

          • Matt

            Right back at ya, Elizabeth.

          • Jill

            You like turning me into a weepy thing, don’t ya? ;)

            Maybe I’ll always have a sense of playing catch-up, that I’ve always got something I’ve gotta do, but man, did I learn life lessons the hard way round first!

            That’s my chance for blessings– the choice for me to turn those dark things around and make them into something better. It’s a relief to know that you’ve got my back. Matt, you’re an incredibly amazing person. XOXO

    • Lymis

      “Keep in mind that society today has been willing to accept gay rights largely because they have seen the Church act belligerently toward gay people. If gay people and their supporters react in kind, they will just as quickly turn the tide the other way.”

      I think you have to make some distinctions, because reducing things to simply “belligerence” misses some important points.

      You’re right that if LGBT people somehow completely reversed the situation, we would be opening ourselves to a similar backlash.

      But nobody is trying to make it illegal or unconstitutional for Christians to marry. Gay people are not a powerful majority stripping rights from a historically oppressed minority. Gay people are not trying to make it acceptable for employers to fire employees simply for being Christian. Gay people, in essence, have not bullied and oppressed Christians for generations.

      Reducing it to “they didn’t like us and said bad things about us, so now we have make sure we don’t say bad things about them” ignores what exactly it was that they were advocating – and succeeding at – and continuing to do.

      I’ll agree that nobody likes a sore winner – but they have been, and continue to say that they literally want us dead, and want God to arrange it for them. I don’t see anything remotely resembling that coming from the gay side.

      Get back to me when people are proposing Constitutional amendments barring Christians from marrying, or Christian youths are starting to commit suicide because they can’t stand the idea of their parents finding out they’re Christian or can’t take the daily physical and mental abuse they constantly face at the hands of the LGBT majority, and we can talk about “reacting in kind.”

      Show me a major national political party with an official party platform of suppressing Christianity, and we can talk.

      Anger and sarcasm? Please. That’s the very least these people deserve. And they still haven’t stopped. It’s not like people are failing to forgive old wounds. They’re refusing to pretend that the current wounds aren’t continuing.

      • Anakin McFly

        Sorry to play devil’s advocate here, but “I don’t see anything remotely resembling that coming from the gay side.”

        I have, actually, if you’re talking about actual talk of violence / wanting people dead. Although it’s more from the trans community than the gay community; google ‘die cis scum’. (or don’t, because, well, not fun.)

        While a lot of those are probably just venting their justified frustration at oppression, I’ve seen at least a few who are completely serious, saying that brutal violence is sometimes the only way to get noticed.

        • Jill

          You make valid points, Anakin. However a fairly average cisgender straight woman like me doesn’t have to avoid living in, or in some cases merely driving through, a whole swath of states in the US out of fear for my own safety from those of the gay or trans community bent on taking me down.

          That’s so not the case in reverse.

          • Jill

            Now, as a woman, I have to be careful which states are safe for me to live, work, drive through, access healthcare, etc… but that’s a whole other conversation.

  • DR

    So all of my ranting and raving about this? I turned out to be completely wrong and those of you who were suspect about Alan Chambers and his BS apology were spot on. I was so hopefully that he had changed but I read the website and it’s the same old bullshit. UGH. Thanks for being gracious to me in this thread and I’m going to pay attention to the collective spidey sense on this site a lot more.

    • Matt

      That’s perfectly alright, DR. I thought that perhaps you were just tired–that you wanted some conclusion, some light at the end of the tunnel. There’s nothing wrong with wanting insanity and human suffering to end. In that case there’s plenty of hope, it just lies less in Chambers himself than in the general tide of positive developments happening elsewhere.

    • Elizabeth

      I’ve learned more about being kind instead of right since then. I wish I had been wrong.

    • Jill

      I too wished you were right, and I often wish I wasn’t so jaded by life that I could take people at their word. I wished his word was worthy of my trust.

      Matt’s right– you hold hope when we need it most. That is a blessing that you share with us, DR. Thank you for always holding up that light.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Frankly, I knew after this post went large that “Reduce Fear,” as a name, was dead. One of my main goals in writing this was to eliminate their option of using that name, because I knew doing so would destroy the momentum they had gained through their various media successes. And of course that’s what happened: they panicked, regrouped, and basically disappeared while they strategized about how to re-launch without using that name. I’ve been (vaguely) curious about how they’d reappear. And they’ve done what anyone could have guessed they would: show up, be clear about not being Reduce Fear (without ever explaining why they ditched that name); say virtually nothing of substance–and certainly nothing about homosexuality, since they now understand that’s their singular point of vulnerability; act like they’ve never heard the phrase “Exodus International,” and dedicate nearly half of their page space to soliciting what they most want and need to stay in business: People’s email addresses. Because that is how they’re planning on separating from the pack those people upon whom they know they can depend to continue buying and selling the “love the sinner, hate the sin” message that they’re clearly still planning on riding straight to the bank.

    • Lymis

      I’m not sure precisely why I was so sure this would not be the breakthrough that you were holding out hope for. Someday, in some form, it’s going to happen. I hope I can sense it and not be too hostile when it does. It’s certainly wonderful to be able to knee-jerk to hope rather than to knee-jerk to severe skepticism (and even hostility.)

      There *have* been some people who did astonishing turn-arounds, and who used their past as the springboard to amazing advocacy and tireless work for change – but it never happened simply because they announced it, and the ones who really did it didn’t demand that they be forgiven on day one via a press release – they knuckled down, got down to the business of actually redeeming themselves, actually apologized in a meaningful and specific way, and for the most part, didn’t pretend that there weren’t other LGBT organizations out there.

      I know I keyed on the presence of serious warning signs and the abject lack of any of the signs of what has categorized people who in the past actually made the shift he was claiming.

      • Lynette

        It’s that gulf between “sorry” and “sorry I was caught”. In this case, I think it was the latter.


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