‘Ex-gay ministry’ Exodus International apologizes, says it will close and stop hurting people

This just got interesting.

On Wednesday, Alan Chambers, president of “ex-gay ministry” Exodus International, published a long, frank apology. It reads, in part:

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.

Well, OK. But what else should he be? All apologies. What else could he say? No one is ex-gay.

Welcome words and a welcome first step, but only words and only a first step.

As Warren Throckmorton wrote after reading that apology, “Alan Chambers is a guy in process.” But in process toward what?

Then this happened: “Breaking: Exodus International Is Shutting Down.” That’s from Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin, who is attending what will be the final Exodus International conference and live-blogged the announcement from the opening plenary session there. This is from Chambers’ official statement announcing the end of the organization:

For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.

… From a Judeo-Christian perspective, gay, straight or otherwise, we’re all prodigal sons and daughters. 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. God is calling us to be the Father – to welcome everyone, to love unhindered.

Chambers will be forming a new organization — “reduce fear” — whose aim is to “come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities.”

This is surprising and encouraging. And liberating — almost like a kind of, you know, Exodus.

(P.S.: Kudos to whoever edits the Exodus entry at Wikipedia — which already has the announcement and has been converted into the past tense.)



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  • Hexep

    Aye, that’s the one.

  • Hexep

    You have shamed me into working hard to making my writing clearer. This shame is double-fold because I work in editing, and expressing information in a clear and unambiguous way is, in fact, the job I am paid to do, and one in which I get great personal satisfaction in thinking I do it well..

    The thing I advocated in the other thread, that these people should kill themselves? Y’all talked me out of thinking that. That is no longer my policy. It certainly was, at a different time, and had this been two months ago your castigation would have been well-suited. But it was well-suited, and you convinced me.

    My policy now is that, given his particular situation, the moral thing is for him to tirelessly oppose his previous way of life and to make sure others don’t follow him in his old ways, and to use his personal experience to eradicate the phenomenon of ex-gay ministries from the world. I’m on the same page as you regarding this guy; I’m simply a dozen or a hundred behind on composition.

    Clearly, I need to spend more time with my Strunk and White.

    (But when he does shuffle off this mortal coil, the Grim Citadels await him nevertheless.)

    EDIT: If anyone feels the need to apologize for mis-reading me, please do not; the fault is mine for poor expression.

  • SisterCoyote

    Oh, ouch, Chris. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with that. Good luck, dude. Many of us are rooting for you.

  • Guest

    The problem is not with your Strunk and White but with yourself, fella.

    Consider that if you now understand that ‘I think this guy should hang himself’ is wrong…

    …then maybe it’s not actually much of an improvement to chime into a new discussion with ‘A couple of months ago, I thought guys like this should hang themselves. But now I guess it’s okay if they live.’

    Suicide accomplishes nothing, and urging it for anyone is abhorrent. WHY EVEN BRING IT UP. WHY.

  • Hexep

    Because it’s the same group of people discussing a situation very similar to one that we previously had, and if I was to participate in this discussion at all, I feel that I should at least make reference to the last one. It adds the illusion that we are all individuals in different places in the world who remember things over time, rather than a program running on your computer.

  • Guest

    Chris I don’t know if you check your paypal regularly so in case you don’t this is a reminder to go do it

  • Kristin Rawls

    Got it, I understand this.

  • I did see that, and thank you. There are not words to express how grateful I am.

  • I’m glad you’ve changed your mind :). I’ll chalk up your saying it was “poor expression” to… poor expression, considering the rest of your comment.

  • Hexep

    The trick to me is that I think I’m a really awesome writer, so I go all about in high-falutin’ ways that are well beyond my actual means of expression.