Alan Chambers has been committing a cardinal sin in Fundamentalist Fantasyland these days: he’s been openly, honestly admitting that “ex-gay’s” really aren’t “ex”-anything, that people really can’t change their sexual orientation and that the quack science known as “reparative therapy” is often ineffective and harmful. This honesty is the equivalent, for more extremist “ex-gay” activists, of throwing up the Kool-Aid. So of course, some of Exodus’s affiliate ministries are jumping ship, so that they can continue to harm people without the taint of honesty or integrity:
[T]he ex-gay movement has been convulsed as the leader of Exodus, in a series of public statements and a speech to the group’s annual meeting last week, renounced some of the movement’s core beliefs. Alan Chambers, 40, the president, declared that there was no cure for homosexuality and that “reparative therapy” offered false hopes to gays and could even be harmful. His statements have led to charges of heresy and a growing schism within the network.
“For the last 37 years, Exodus has been a bright light, arguably the brightest one for those with same-sex attraction seeking an authentically Christian hope,” said Andrew Comiskey, founder and director of Desert Stream Ministries, based in Kansas City, Mo., one of 11 ministries that defected. His group left Exodus in May, Mr. Comiskey said in an e-mail, “due to leader Alan Chambers’s appeasement of practicing homosexuals who claim to be Christian” as well as his questioning of the reality of “sexual orientation change.”
See? Honesty. Alan Chambers acknowledged that gay Christians exist and that people who scream about how they’re “not gay anymore” still tend to be “really so gay.” Is that David Pickup I hear, talking?
David H. Pickup, a therapist in Glendale, Calif., who specializes in the treatment, said restricting it would harm people who are unhappy with their homosexuality by “making them feel that no change is possible at all.”
Mr. Pickup, an officer of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, composed of like-minded therapists, said reparative therapy had achieved profound changes for thousands of people, including himself. The therapy, he said, had helped him confront emotional wounds and “my homosexual feelings began to dissipate and attractions for women grew.”
Uh huh. Ready for a flaming conniption? Yo, Greg Quinlan:
“I think Mr. Chambers is tired of his own personal struggles, so he’s making excuses for them by making sweeping generalizations about others,” said Gregg Quinlan, a conservative lobbyist in New Jersey and president of a support group called Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays.
Voice of reason from our own Wayne Besen:
Gay rights advocates said they were encouraged by Mr. Chambers’s recent turn but remained wary of Exodus, which they feel has caused enormous harm.
“Exodus International played the key role in planting the message that people can go from gay to straight through religion and therapy,” said Wayne Besen, director of Truth Wins Out, a group that refutes what it considers misinformation about gays and lesbians. “And the notion that one can change is the centerpiece of the religious right’s argument for denying us rights.”
Agreed. It’s good news that such a visible person as Alan Chambers is beginning to tell the truth, but it’s important to remember that the key word there is “beginning,” and for every time Alan tells the truth, there are fifty charlatans like the members of NARTH and Quinlan, fixing up a new batch of Kool-Aid to give to unsuspecting, innocent people.