Doctors and activists have been saying it for decades: Homosexuality is not a lifestyle. It's a sexual orientation that you're born with. Now, one of those Christian groups whose mission it was to "cure" homosexuality has given up. Exodus International is shutting down -- and the group's president is apologizing to the LGBT community.
Exodus president Alan Chambers admitted in a blog post yesterday that he, too, harbors same-sex attractions. But he stopped short of identifying himself as gay, and he says he still believes in the Bible's teachings about homosexuality. Still, he says he is sorry for all the hurt he and his organization have caused people who came to Exodus. It's a long post, but here's the crux of it.
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.
This apology follows another Chambers gave last year disavowing so-called "reparative therapy." Exodus is the most prominent group of its kind, so their ending could influence other groups to shut their doors as well. It's the end of an era.
These groups don't have science on their side, and I think growing numbers of Christians don't believe they have God on their side, either. I have known closeted homosexuals who tried to change who they are through faith and prayer. All it's left them is scars. They feel cursed by God. They feel rejected by their religion and community. They feel they're in an impossible situation.
The thing is, homosexuality isn't just about sex. It's about who you fall in love with, too. It's something deep in your bones, essential to your very being. If it were just some sort of perverse sexual kink it wouldn't be such a painful struggle for so many people. It would just be a matter of changing behavior. But sexual orientation is about so much more than behavior.
I'm glad Exodus is shutting down. I hope this brings peace to thousands of people who are both homosexual and believing Christians. The gospel of Christ is supposed to be about love and peace. Hopefully this signals a turn back to those core values.
Do you think organizations like Exodus do more harm than good?
Image via Exodus International