Exodus or Exodon’t

There was a possibly extraordinary shift in the ecclesiastical tectonic plates overnight. Exodus International is going out of business and its leader has apologised for the harm it has done.

Exodus International was one of the leading groups which claimed that it was possible to re-orientate gay people – ie turn them straight. It is, or perhaps now, was, the leading light of the religious “ex-gay” movement. I never encountered the organisation directly but I did meet people who did and have heard some horrible stories of people being pyschologically damaged by that kind of thing. To put it bluntly, some people killed themselves because of the policies promoted by organisations like Exodus.

The President of the organisation has now issued an apology which on first sight appears to be quite far reaching.

I am sorry for the pain and hurt that many of you have experienced. I am sorry some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt 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 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, I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.

Well it is hard not to welcome that.

So, Exodus International is going out of business? All is well?

Well, we’ll see. Part of Alan Chambers’s statement which is not being picked up by everyone reporting this is the following:

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.   

Hmm, well that does sound like Archbishop Sentamu this week saying that the church should be nicer to gay people during a speech in which he was trying to restrict and limit gay people’s human rights.

Moving forward, we will serve in our pluralistic culture by hosting thoughtful and safe conversations about gender and sexuality, while partnering with others to reduce fear, inspire hope, and cultivate human flourishing.

And indeed they’ve started to set up a new “ministry” called Reduce Fear. But what’s that all about. Doesn’t sound like working for justice to me. Sounds like Exodus has stopped being an anti-gay brigade, which is to be applauded but is turning itself into a Celibacy Brigade instead. (Which is not).

Ah well, by their fruits we shall know them, as St Paul so rightly suggested.


  1. Rosemary Hannah says

    Sigh – at one point Chambers refers to meaning well and doing harm. It seems to me that is EXACTLY what he is doing here again. He tells a story of ignoring the physical evidence of a line of car to focus on the minuitia of an insect. Then he ignores the reality of the suffering he is causing by focusing on the tiny numbers of people he can ‘help’ to utterly pointless become less gay. And now he is still missing the point … bigger than the queue of cars. He is still making the same mistake. He is swallowing the camel and straining out the gnat. Again. So great he is on the road to some compassion. But he will not get to the place of freedom until he sees the Bible and not the verse. The Word and the Bible … the one true Word no written word can be the equal of.

  2. Rosemary Hannah says

    Sorry thumb typing. The Word and not the Bible.

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