Fearing a renewed uproar over tonight’s ABC News investigation of Exodus International’s role in Uganda’s kill-the-gays legislation, Exodus President Alan Chambers has informally told conservative Christian pundit Warren Throckmorton:
I am disappointed that Exodus won’t be heard in this piece. Sadly, Don Schmierer declined the interview and our request to go on record with ABC was denied. I would have loved nothing better than to share our disdain for this bill and apologize for going anywhere near such a horrible conference.
It is neither sad nor surprising that Schmierer and the rest of the Exodus board declined to talk: Schmierer had already discredited himself, on Exodus’ own blog.
In December 2009, in an Exodus blog guest article, Schmierer admitted that, since 2002, he had been working closely with antigay evangelicals in Uganda to mobilize antigay political activity.
And yet, Schmierer claims that, over the course of seven years, he was somehow oblivious to evangelical colleagues’ internationally publicized lynch mobs which were killing gay Ugandans and destroying the reputations of rival pastors with false character attacks.
Such a ridiculous claim of ignorance would be torn to shreds by ABC and exposed as a lie — which it is. Hence, Schmierer’s refusal to talk, and Chambers’ failure to follow through with his offer to express disdain or apologize, regardless of whether ABC is listening.
The self-contradiction regarding his knowledge of Ugandan vigilantism wasn’t Schmierer’s only mistake in that December blog post. Schmierer also lied about his foreknowledge of the conference and his own teachings at the conference.
For starters, I didn’t know much about the conference when I agreed to speak there. At first I thought I was the only speaker and was surprised to hear that Caleb Lee Brundidge of the International Healing Foundation and Dr. Scott Lively of Defend the Family International would be speaking as well.
Sorry, Donnie — not true. On Feb. 27, a week before the conference, Chambers was warned by watchdog groups Box Turtle Bulletin and Ex-Gay Watch to stop Schmierer due to the speakers’ and conference sponsors’ recent history of inciting Ugandan lynch-mobs, characterizing all sexual minorities as child molesters, and blaming history’s great holocausts on their homosexual victims. Even if Chambers were negligent and had failed to pass on the warning — in which case he should have been fired — Schmierer is a veteran executive, assistant-to-a-billionnaire, and powerful board member. No responsible man of such stature agrees to speak at an international conference without knowing exactly what the conference and its speakers intend to do. Ignorance is not a defense here; it is grounds for termination and civil-damage litigation.
In his December blog post, Schmierer continued:
I disagree with several of their respective organization’ beliefs about this issue and have found several comments to be inflammatory. In retrospect, my decision to speak there might have been different, but one thing I did know was that Ugandans needed to hear a redemptive, compassionate view of this issue. So I set off to do my best in providing it. When my portion of the conference was over, a Ugandan gay bishop complimented me and remarked with gratitude that I “really understood” the gay community as well as the true nature of this issue.
Not true, again.
According to the New York Times, Schmierer “gave a series of talks in Uganda last March to thousands of police officers, teachers and politicians in which, according to participants and audio recordings, they claimed that gays and lesbians are a threat to Bible-based family values.” These statements directly resulted in calls by his colleagues at the conference to “wipe out” the nation’s homosexuals. To which Schmierer offered no disagreement.
Local media coverage of the conference quoted parents who were distraught after learning from Schmierer that their children were homosexual due to abuse by relatives — and that these adult children were likely to molest others. Schmierer presented his contradictory list of fourteen “signs that an adolescent may be struggling with gender issues.” But his focus appeared to have been on one suggested cause: it’ the parent’ fault. One eyewitness said, “He told participants that one of the biggest causes of homosexuality is the lack of “good [fundamentalist] upbringing” in families. In other words, good parents make straight children; bad parents, gay children.
In his December blog post, Schmierer claims he didn’t hear of any negative consequences until months later:
Months later, as I scanned news reports I became aware of Uganda’ horrible Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 — legislation that would punish homosexual behavior by death and would force all those who suspect such behavior to report them. The bill warrants outrage and shock from all groups and individuals to be sure, but I was surprised to hear Ms. Maddow assert that my message somehow contributed to “inspiring” this legislation — a claim that could not be further from the truth.
Strike three. Throckmorton, a conservative Christian who is very well-known in ex-gay circles, began criticizing Schmierer’s contribution to the nascent genocide campaign during the conference. Schmierer’s abuse of parents, incendiary smears of gay Ugandans, and collaboration with SPLC-certified hate-group operator Scott Lively also resulted in an open letter by three watchdog organizations immediately following the conference. On March 11, Truth Wins Out, Box Turtle Bulletin, and Ex-Gay Watch noted that the only way for the Exodus board of directors to restore the organization’s integrity and avert a human-rights catastrophe would be to:
- Dismiss Exodus President Alan Chambers for his knowing role in using Exodus to promote human rights abuses
- Remove Board member Don Schmierer for speaking at a hate conference that promotes physical harm and psychological torture against GLBT people
- Boldly articulate Exodus’ policy against human rights abuses including forced therapy
- Promise to end future participation in all conferences that call on the persecution and criminalization of gay and lesbian people
A year later, the board of directors has formally said and done — nothing.
Today, if Chambers truthfully “would have loved nothing better than to share our disdain… and apologize” then why hasn’t he? Exodus had all afternoon and evening to offer a formal public response, yet neither Chambers nor the board have issued any such statement.
Chambers wants Throckmorton’s readers to believe there might have been a hypothetical apology in the works — even though he originally applauded Exodus’ role — if only flashy ABC News (and not those irritating ex-gay watchdog groups) would give him a soapbox.
Why no apology now — or a year ago? In short: It’s because there is no regret. Chambers and the Exodus board have known of, and been intentionally complicit in, Schmierer’s activities in Uganda for years. And now, despite a year of renewed vigilante terror and death in Uganda, the board continues to employ Chambers and enjoy Schmierer’s fund-raising ties to notorious antigay billionnaire Howard Ahmanson.
For more information:
TWO’s detailed review of the March 2009 conference