Alan Chambers, the president of the reviled Exodus International “ex-gay” ministry and until recently a former promoter of “reparative therapy,” today posted a lengthy apology to the Exodus website. Chambers, 41, has spent much of his adult life advocating against same-sex marriage and promoting ex-gay or reparative therapy. Last year, Chambers, who is married to a woman, Leslie, announced that he is still attracted to men and does not believe that homosexuality can be cured.
“I do not believe that cure is a word that is applicable to really any struggle, homosexuality included…. For someone to put out a shingle and say, ‘I can cure homosexuality’ — that to me is as bizarre as someone saying they can cure any other common temptation or struggle that anyone faces on Planet Earth.”
Chambers has previously apologized, but today posted a new apology, one that he reportedly read on Lisa Ling‘s “Special Report: God & Gays,” which airs on Oprah’s OWN tomorrow.
“Recently, I have begun thinking again about how to apologize to the people that have been hurt by Exodus International through an experience or by a message,” Chambers writes. “I have heard many firsthand stories from people called ex-gay survivors. Stories of people who went to Exodus affiliated ministries or ministers for help only to experience more trauma. I have heard stories of shame, sexual misconduct, and false hope. In every case that has been brought to my attention, there has been swift action resulting in the removal of these leaders and/or their organizations. But rarely was there an apology or a public acknowledgement by me.”
Chambers apologizes, but refuses to change his beliefs.
“I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them. I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek. My beliefs about these things will never again interfere with God’s command to love my neighbor as I love myself.
“You have never been my enemy. I am very sorry that I have been yours.”
Chambers also talks about his “good intentions.”
“Never in a million years would I intentionally hurt another person,” Chambers adds. “Yet, here I sit having hurt so many by failing to acknowledge the pain some affiliated with Exodus International caused, and by failing to share the whole truth about my own story. My good intentions matter very little and fail to diminish the pain and hurt others have experienced on my watch. The good that we have done at Exodus is overshadowed by all of this.”
Friends and critics alike have said it’s not enough to simply change our message or website. I agree. I cannot simply move on and pretend that I have always been the friend that I long to be today. I understand why I am distrusted and why Exodus is hated.
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.
More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection. I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives. For the rest of my life I will proclaim nothing but the whole truth of the Gospel, one of grace, mercy and open invitation to all to enter into an inseverable relationship with almighty God.
But not all will accept Chambers’ apology.
Sean Sala, an Iraq War veteran and ex-gay survivor who confronted Chambers on Lisa Ling’s “God & Gays” show that airs Thursday, told The New Civil Rights Movement that Chambers is a “manipulator,” and adds that Chambers “was sorry after groups like JONAH were sued. He was sorry after this election. He was sorry after the tide has turned in our nation. But he is not sorry enough to shut down Exodus, because it pays his bills. So the lives of millions are affected. Global genocide pending. Not sorry enough.”
Sala, who penned an op-ed for The New Civil Rights Movement, “Gay Iraq War Vet Who Confronted Alan Chambers Takes On Ex-Gay, Inc.,” adds, “Alan’s new tactic is to paint himself as a victim. When the victims are not him, they are the millions who have suffered. They are the Ugandans and other Africans living in fear every day because of the lies of Exodus. If he was truly repentful he would shut down Exodus, the mouth of the monster.”
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