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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 21, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 25
Exodus International goes out of business - Leader of notorious 'ex-Gay' ministry apologizes to community
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Exodus International goes out of business - Leader of notorious 'ex-Gay' ministry apologizes to community

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Exodus International, listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Gay hate group, announced on June 19 that it will shut down for good.

'Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we've ceased to be a living, breathing organism,' Exodus President Alan Chambers said in a statement on the group's website. 'For quite some time we've been imprisoned in a worldview that's neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.'

For these reasons, the Board of Directors has unanimously voted to close Exodus International and begin a new ministry, Chambers said.

'This is a new season of ministry, to a new generation,' Chambers added. 'Our goals are to reduce fear (reducefear.org), and come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities.'

Founded in 1976, Exodus was the world's largest 'ex-Gay' organization, with branches in a number of countries. It was one of the U.S. Christian organizations participating in the 2009 conference in Kampala that drafted Uganda's notorious 'Kill the Gays' bill.

Exodus advocated so-called 'reparative therapy,' which it defined as 'a holistic, counseling approach to addressing unwanted same-sex attraction' and which LGBT rights advocates said amounted to psychological torture.

According to Exodus literature, the group's methods could 'include abstinence, lessening of homosexual temptations, strengthening their sense of masculine or feminine identity, correcting distorted styles of relating with members of the same and opposite gender.'

'I AM DEEPLY SORRY'
Not only did Exodus decide to disband, but Chambers issued a personal apology for 'the pain and hurt' he and his organization had caused.

'Please know that I am deeply sorry,' he said. '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.'

MIXED RECEPTION
LGBT activists greeted Chambers' apology with a mixture of satisfaction and skepticism.

'Alan stated in his talk tonight that he doesn't want to see another 'ex-Gay' organization fill the void left by Exodus's closing, but called on the Church to actually become a safe place for Gays and Lesbians,' Truth Wins Out said in a statement.

'Of course, the Restored Hope Network is having their conference in Oklahoma City, featuring the biggest quacks in the 'ex-Gay' industry, so they'll fight tooth-and-nail to make sure that Alan's vision of the Church being a loving place will never come to pass. Thus, our work must continue. Exodus was a large pillar in the 'ex-Gay' world, but this fight is far from over. We wish Alan Chambers all our best and look forward to a day when we can truly consider him an ally.'

Meanwhile, other right-wing Christian groups, already alienated from Exodus by Chambers' recent conciliatory gestures to the LGBT community, reacted with unconcealed hatred.

'Good news,' Liberty Counsel spokesperson Matt Barber tweeted. 'Exodus International has closed its apostate doors, helping biblically sound Restored Hope Network to minister to those with unwanted same-sex-attraction.'

'Now Exodus International and Alan Chambers should apologize to all the Bible-believing Christians they bamboozled,' added Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.

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