NPR Segment on Changes at Exodus International

A segment on changes at Exodus is coming up on NPR sometime between 4:30 and 4:45pm. It should repeat again between 6:30-6:45pm.

I have a few lines but I am not sure who else is in on it.

Listen, learn and comment.

The audio will be posted at 7pm, but the transcript is here.

Rob Gagnon has emerged as a vocal opponent of Exodus. I am baffled by his approach, which seems to make grace conditional on one’s behavior or attitude.

I intend to write more about this next week. Gagnon says he thinks reparative therapy sometimes works. I suppose for some it can work to give them a way to think about their lives but the burden of proof is on NARTH and others who support the group to demonstrate some kind of categorical change. Nothing has come from NARTH that approaches good research strategies and as a result, NARTH is currently on the defensive. They have been fighting a defensive battle with no real offense. After awhile, if you have nothing to offer, people will look elsewhere.

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  • Pingback: NPR Interviews Alan Chambers Concerning Changes at Exodus (Audio Available) | Alan Chambers

  • Lynn David

    Well, Gagnon wrote that multi-page condemnation of Chambers and Exodus at:

    http://www.robgagnon.net/articles/homosexAlanChambersAtlanticInterview.pdf

    “It’s not going to work for everybody. It might not even work for most people,” he [Gagnon] says. “But it will work for some people, so we’re happy with anything that helps.”

    That’s about the most realistic statement I have seen from Gagnon on this issue. I’m not sure that Gagnon’s idea is that grace is not only dependant upon behavior in the case of a gay person; but rather it is contingent upon one’s attempt to become straight. He’s kicking it old school.

  • DJ

    I think that Gagnon HAS to believe in reparative therapy, or his entire theology becomes suspect. With the furor over which he tries to prove that everything gay is sinful, what does it say about God if this is the only sin in the world that God refuses to remove from one’s heart? If reparative therapy doesn’t work, then he’s got quite the theological contradiction, and I don’t think his brilliant mind knows how to resolve it – he’s put too much stock into both of these massive columns which support his entire faith. If one goes, the whole thing is in shambles.

  • Aldo

    Warren,

    Thank you for this link. I have never heard of Robert Gagnon before but I looked at his website, and I was puzzled by its lack of empathy. Is Gagnon an “ex-gay” himself and does that help explain why there is so much unkindness in what he writes? I don’t quite understand how any theology school would support writings like these (from what I can see, some of his “tracts” go on for pages and pages–where does one get the intellectual energy for this kind of “hair splitting,” much of which doesn’t seem to make sense to me?). His expositions seem more subjective rants than anything truly Christian. The underlying meaness and violence projected by his comments–I’m flabbergasted.

    Does anyone have insight into who this person really is?

  • Daniel

    If it worked, even some of the time, its proponents wouldn’t be abandoning it, nor would ex-gay groups be mired in schism and financial crisis. After 35 years, the model should be at its most robust – having been honed through experience with thousands of clients over many years. Each year would see more successful graduates, a portion of whom would go into the world and become ambassadors for the success of reparative therapy. A successful model would at this point be spawning competitors – commercial enterprises and non-Christian variants all promoting a path to successful change. Instead, the ex-gay movement is dividing over whether reparative therapy never works or whether it works in a very small number of cases.

    Bottom line though: to the Christian Right, and I suspect to Rob Gagnon, it has never mattered one whit whether reparative therapy or any other therapeutic model offers a realistic chance for sexual orientation change. The only objective the Christian Right has is to prove that in at least some cases – even one case – a gay person has gone straight. At that point, homosexuality is “mutable” and thus, they erroneously believe, ineligible for civil rights protection.

    They are convinced that all they need to do is show that one gay person somewhere has changed, and homosexuality has to be treated like adultery. Brian Fischer of AFA made this explicit last year, when he wrote that even if a gay-to-straight converts were as rare as a citizens in the population who could match Barry Bonds’ batting average, that would be all it takes to prove mutability. Beyond that, they really don’t care about what happens to the ones who can’t change, even if that group comprises every gay person on the planet less one.

  • Michael Bussee

    Daniel said: “After 35 years, the model should be at its most robust – having been honed through experience with thousands of clients over many years. Each year would see more successful graduates, a portion of whom would go into the world and become ambassadors for the success of reparative therapy. ”

    Well, Exodus used to claim that there were “thousands” (sometimes “tens of thousands”, sometimes “hundredreds of thousands”) who had successfully changed their sexual orientation — but they were all in hiding. Now, Exodus says their earlier estimates were a “mistake”…

  • ken

    Michael Bussee says:

    July 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    “Exodus used to claim that there were “thousands” (sometimes “tens of thousands”, sometimes “hundredreds of thousands”) who had successfully changed their sexual orientation”

    As I recall, Exodus would claim “thousands have changed”, but they were never to specific about exactly what had changed.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ken: Alan made this claim to NARTH some years back:

    “Again, I am one of tens of thousands of people whom have successfully changed their sexual orientation. I am grateful for the message of change and for the current laws that saved my life.”

    I am not sure what he meant by “current laws that saved my life”, but I think he would no longer make that claim about “tens of thousands of people whom have successfully changed their sexual orientation”.

    http://www.narth.com/docs/chambers.html

  • ken

    Thanks for the link.

    Given the title and the topic, I imagine Alan was talking about marriage laws that excluded gays from marrying.

  • Michael Bussee

    Alan Chambers was a guest on Hardball, talking about “Reparative Therapy”:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036697/#48126418

  • Michael Bussee

    It the MSNBC interview, Alan once again dodges the real question people are asking. It’s not “do gay people lose 100% of their SSA?” It’s not “are they able to live above their temptations?” We are clear about those things.

    We already know that 99.9% don’t lose their “SSA” entirely. Exodus has all along said “No, they continue to struggle”. But that’s not a change in Exodus’ message. It’s what they have been saying for decades. We’re asking about actual sexual orientation change from homosexual to heterosexual. How often does that happen?

    Less “SSA” is not heterosexuality. Not acting on “SSA” is not heterosexuality. Celibacy is not heterosexuality. Having attractions to both sexes (as Alan Chambers and Randy Thomas admit they have) is not heterosexuality.

    Why won’t Alan and Exodus give a straight answer to the real question: “What percentage of Exodus clients become heterosexual — no longer homosexual — in their primary attractions?”

  • Michael Bussee

    Ken said: “Given the title and the topic, I imagine Alan was talking about marriage laws that excluded gays from marrying.”

    I think you are right about this. Alan made this claim to NARTH during the fight over Prop 8. He says if same-sex marriage hd been available to him, he “certainly would have chosen it”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlBIR7MHtaY

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Let me remind commenters that ad hominem attacks, slander, and personal gossip are not permitted and that such comments are subject to removal. I get a fair number of them directed at me and some I let stand and some I don’t. A recent comment was directed at someone else and after it was pointed out to me, I removed it.

  • Michael Bussee

    “We’ve seen Chambers’s efforts to present a more open and friendly Exodus to the world — including LGBT Christians — beginning with his appearance at the Gay Christian Network conference in January. Since then, we’ve seen Exodus distance itself increasingly from the claims of reparative and conversion therapy…

    While Exodus’s rhetoric has been hazy at best over the past few years, there’s no question that it has now made a very clear and public break with the idea of sexual orientation change efforts, or SOCE. None of Exodus’s member ministries, says Alan Chambers, will be allowed to practice reparative therapy. Exodus “isn’t in the SOCE business,” he clarified in an email to XGW.” ~ Dave Rattigan, Ex-gay Watch

    http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2012/07/changes-at-exodus-reactions/

  • Michael Bussee

    Personally, I don’t think those hardliners who are leaving Exodus are really all that upset about the theology question. Since its creation in 1976, Exodus has had people who think you can lose your salvation — and those who believe you can’t. And they got along OK.

    What seemed to really push them over the edge was Alan being more truthful about orientation change. Pulling away from NARTH and from those who promised miracle cures was just too much to take. It is showing him who his real friends are.

  • neal lindberg

    I think it’s more accurate to say that homosexuality has been made to be the filthiest of all SEXUAL sins. To a degree, there is a hierarchy of sins, like Gagnon said, stealing a pen from the office is not the same as Hitler exterminating millions of Jews.

    I believe that homosexuality is a sin in practice, not in orientation b/c I believe that God had a purpose when He created man, woman, and the union of marriage. I can understand the where the zeal of conservative Christians who “go all OCD” on gay rights issues come from, I really do.

    However, the harm that comes from the homosexual sin in practice is too subtle for the secular world to see. Even with my conservative belief, I fail to see the IMMEDIATE negative consequences of a committed, monogamous lesbian/gay relationship.

    I’m sure that the vast majority of non-Christians (humanists/atheists/agnostics/other religions) can agree that offenses like murder, theft/robbery, racism, human trafficking, rape, child abuse, fraud/deception, etc are wrong because in these cases it is IMMEDIATELY VERY VERY ULTRA CLEAR that somebody else is gonna get hurt. However, indulged homosexual thoughts, desires, and behaviours….not very clear from the get go. It’s one of those sins where you just have to be religious in order for you to see it as a sin, there’s no other way, really. Outside of the religious system, it’s very difficult to build an argument against gay marriage, sorry.

    So, I mean, the secular world’s staunch support of gay marriage/homosexuality is not very surprising at all.


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