My earlier post about the apology issued by Exodus International President, Alan Chambers, just hours before they officially announced they were shutting down wasn’t the only one that expressed skepticism. But there were a lot more places out their taking only a very superficial read of the apology on the first couple of days.
I don’t claim any special knowledge. All I did was read every word of the long apology as posted by Mr Chambers, and then read a live blog from the conference of the closure announcement, and then read the entire official statement published by the organization. A simple, literal reading of each entire statement reveals that, contrary to how some people reported it, they are not renouncing their condemnation of homosexuality they are not abandoning their insistence that gay people must either be celibate or enter into an opposite sex sham relationship to be “right with god,” and they are not apologizing for the harm they caused.
But don’t take my word for it:
John Shore: An open letter to Exodus International’s super-remorseful Alan Chambers. His first money quote:
And congratulations on all the press coverage your apology is receiving!… Why, it’s almost like you’ve been strategically planning your heartfelt apology for months!
But he gets bonus points for:
…you’re no different from the guy saying, “I apologize for being the leader of a group of white-hooded KKK guys who burned a cross on your lawn. That was wrong. You n—–s still need to go, of course. But we’re gonna stop with the hoods and the cross burnings. People just don’t get behind that the way they used to. So we’re gonna regroup, lose the name ‘KKK,’ and come up with a more acceptable way of promoting what we believe. Isn’t that great?!”
When I read that one to my husband, he said, “Yeah! We’re not going to wear those white hoods any more. Now we’re dressing up in blue hood. Blue’s a warm, welcoming, friendly color, right? What? You say they still look like the same old white hoods? No! They’re blue! It’s just a very, very pale blue…”
An apology from an organization with a history of purging content from their website without an official redaction will always ring hollow. Closing it down and launching a new one like the last one didn’t exist won’t cut it. Let me be clear: There’s nothing shameful about admitting the terrible things you wrote and said were wrong, and taking full responsibility for them. In fact, this is an honorable and difficult thing to do. The problem is, the people who once led Exodus haven’t done this yet.
Then there’s Jane Brazell: Exodus International: harm repackaged is still harm, where it is noted:
We lost friends, family, and community; we were told that we would not inherit the Kingdom of God – that we were no longer a child of God. That’s what I wanted to hear from him. I wanted to hear that he sees LGBTQ people as holy, that our relationships are holy, that we are in fact beloved children of God and that nothing will separate us from that love. I wanted to hear that he recognizes the courage it took for us to come out and live wholly before God and the world. I didn’t hear that…
And then here’s one where the person ignores all the parts of the apology where they said, “if some people felt pain” rather than “we harmed people,” but she still isn’t giving them a pass: Rev. Dr. Cindi Love: Apologies Are Too Late When the Damage Is Already Done. Money quote:
“Unfortunately, they misled the people they claimed to want to “help.” Last year, Exodus President Alan Chambers reported that 99.9 percent of people who engaged in reparative therapy did not change their orientation.”
And, as several of us predicted, they’ve already announced the formation of a new ministry to create “mutually transforming communities” which they plan to call ReducedFear.Org. Transforming? Right, totally different than “curing” or “repairing” or “changing”—oh, wait, it isn’t.
But it is exactly the opposite of “accepting” or “affirming.”