Ex-Gay Watch posted a report this morning which shows an Exodus International in dire straits, indeed, something many of us on this side of the fence have suspected for a while. Alan Chambers threw a “Hail, Mary” conference several weeks ago for the purposes of finding a way to save/revitalize the organization:
Three years ago, Exodus purchased a building for a little over $1.1 Million. This was at the height of the real estate bubble and it’s value must have decreased significantly since. While they seem to have shed as many of their obligations as possible, debt service for that building must be a great draw on their meager resources. According to IRS documents, they burned through $200,000 of their savings in 2010 alone. In short, if they continue on their current trajectory, there seems little doubt that Exodus will fold in the near future.
Knowing this, Chambers called the New York meeting together and posed the question, “how can we save Exodus?” Unfortunately for those of us who might have a glimmer of hope to the contrary, this plea does not seem to be based on any deep, inner change of heart or ideology. According to first person accounts, the emphasis was on how to make Exodus more “donor accessible.” The meeting was filled with the modern lingo of those who advise on the solicitation of charitable funds. This is about money.
Chamber’s apparently wishes to “re-brand” Exodus into something more palatable to those with funds to give, and the general public alike. According to our sources, Chambers said that “everything is on the table.” That everything apparently includes the possibility of his resignation. It was also clear from the meeting that this is their last resort, their “Hail Mary” so to speak — they’ve tried everything else. Indeed, it seems certain that Chambers would have made pleas to anyone he knew with money before taking this drastic action. And we’ve all seen the odd inconsistencies apparent in their public face. Exodus is an organization fumbling for a solution.
David Roberts goes on to mention that Alan Chambers is mystified by people’s positive reactions to John Smid’s journey toward humanity, and seems to want a piece of that pie. What’s sick about it, though, is that one gets the sense, reading the report, that any “change” in message from Exodus would be purely motivated by money. On some level, at least, the leadership of Exodus understands that the Western world has left them behind, and that the money is drying up for their sort of hateful work, but it doesn’t seem that they’re actually soul-searching in any way. Just looking to rebrand the organization so they don’t look so hateful.
One of the reasons Truth Wins Out and Ex-Gay Watch and other people/organizations with a dog in this fight work so tirelessly to simply expose what these “ex-gay” businesses are all about is that the whole “reparative therapy” model doesn’t fare well in the light of day. Indeed, even moderate-to-conservative Christians, when they find out that it exists, tend to roll their eyes and consider the notion preposterous. So into the light of day we send them and let them succeed or fail on their own merits. Failure tends to be the order of the day.
Exodus plans to announce their “new direction” after their 2012 Leadership conference in January:
It will be after this conference that Exodus announces whatever it is they decide, presumably some sort of apology which allows them to maintain their core ideology, while claiming to have gone about expressing it badly — too much truth and not enough grace, etc.
Wayne remarked in the comments section on Ex-Gay Watch on the plastic, transparent nature of this Hail, Mary! pass from Alan and the Exodus clan:
When Exodus apologizes we expect substance, not a strategy. Chambers must realize that Smid received support because his apology seemed sincere, or at least he was heading in the right direction.
Meanwhile, no one bought The International Healing Foundation’s recent apology from Richard Cohen, who we all thought was full of shit. Chambers would be wise to look at the Cohen flop, not just the Smid success.
The dishonesty and deciept; the semantic games and double talk; the arrogance and allegiance to the political right; the forays overseas that spread hate in places like Uganda; have earned Chambers incredible ill will.
An apology absent a resignation will ring hollow. Chambers should practice some of that conservative “personal responsibility” and admit he has been a failure as a leader and maybe as a human being. He should go somewhere peaceful and quiet to reflect on the harm he has caused as an agent of intolerance. When he returns from exile, he should consider spending the rest of his life undoing the damage that occurred at his hands.