Monday, June 20, 2016

Historical Footnote to Orlando Discussions: 19 June 2013, World's Largest "Ex-Gay" Organization Exodus International Announces It's Shutting Down

Jim Burroway reminds us that yesterday in 2013, the world's largest "ex-gay" organization, Exodus International, announced it was shutting down operation: as Jim states,

The day began with a far-reaching apology [by Exodus International president Alan Chambers] for the "trauma … shame, sexual misconduct, and false hope" that former clients and members of Exodus-affiliated ministries had experienced. But more than a corporate apology, it was also a very personal one for Chambers: 
"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."

As Jim also notes, this apology was preceded a year and a half earlier by a public statement by Chambers at a conference of the Gay Christian Network in Orlando that "the majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them, have not experienced a change in their orientation" due to "reparative" therapy. That 99.9% includes, Chambers says, himself, though he has married a woman.

Someone needs to get this news to the Vatican, which, as far as I know, still pushes Msgr. Tony Anatrella, who engages in "reparative" therapy, forward as its expert on homosexuality, despite a series of allegations that he has used therapy sessions to molest clients sexually. 

And in case you missed my report on Friday about Garrard Conley's Boy Erased and his failed attempt to change his sexual orientation in the Love in Action program, that report is here.

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