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Harmful ‘Ex-Gay’ Industry Imploding As False ‘Gay Cure’ Claims Renounced

by David Badash on July 7, 2012

in News

Post image for Harmful ‘Ex-Gay’ Industry Imploding As False ‘Gay Cure’ Claims Renounced

The Christian right’s organized anti-gay hatred is a three-legged stool: anti-gay hatred indoctrination from a young age, the Bible, and the false belief that homosexuality is a choice. The last leg — the false claim that homosexuality is a choice — has been reinforced by the totally bogus so-called “ex-gay” industry. For almost four decades, groups like Exodus International and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) have spread these lies while damaging psyches of vulnerable homosexuals who, having spent years and decades being told they are evil, bad, deviant, not normal, sinful, and an abomination, would do and believe anything to change. Fortunately, now, that third leg is breaking.

Erik Eckholm, author of, “Rift Forms in Movement as Belief in Gay ‘Cure’ Is Renounced,” in today’s New York Times details “the ex-gay movement [which] 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.”

In a phone interview Thursday from Orlando, Fla., where Exodus has its headquarters, Mr. Chambers amplified on the views that have stirred so much controversy. He said that virtually every “ex-gay” he has ever met still harbors homosexual cravings, himself included. Mr. Chambers, who left the gay life to marry and have two children, said that gay Christians like himself faced a lifelong spiritual struggle to avoid sin and should not be afraid to admit it.

He said Exodus could no longer condone reparative therapy, which blames homosexuality on emotional scars in childhood and claims to reshape the psyche. And in a theological departure that has caused the sharpest reaction from conservative pastors, Mr. Chambers said he believed that those who persist in homosexual behavior could still be saved by Christ and go to heaven.

Only a few years ago, Mr. Chambers was featured in advertisements along with his wife, Leslie, saying, “Change is possible.” But now, he said in the interview, “Exodus needs to move beyond that slogan.”

Of course the religious right still believes they hold the threat of hell and the keys to heaven and have the right and ability to use that to demonize us. The Times continues:

Robert Gagnon, an associate professor at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and author of books on homosexuality and the Bible, last week issued a public call for Mr. Chambers to resign. “My greatest concern has to do with Alan’s repeated assurances to homosexually active ‘gay Christians’ that they will be with him in heaven,” he said in an e-mail.

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.”

Many of the local ministries in Exodus continue to attack gays and lesbians, said David Roberts, editor of the Web site Ex-Gay Watch, and they often have close ties with reparative therapists. He speculated that Mr. Chambers was trying to steer the group in a moderate direction because “they were becoming pariahs” in a society that is more accepting of gay people.

And while the Times and almost every other main stream media news outlet have published reports of Dr. Robert Spitzer’s denunciation of his own study that claimed gay people can change, the radical religious right continues to point to Spitzer’s work, along with that of long-time debunked quack Dr. Paul Cameron — who still stands by his lies.

Image: Alan Chambers by Phelan M. Ebenhack for The New York Times

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meriequalityjustus July 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm

they do this supposed ex Gay therapy for the $$$$$ and they know IT DOES NOT WORK but they make lots of $$$$ off of it so that's why they continue with it and the only reason.

StanleyJames July 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm

theres more then that to it

George Rekers, head of Narth which claims to fix gays – well they didnt do a good job on him – as usual he got caugth with a guy. He rented his twinkyboy from Cost per their website for a 2 week vacation to europe with that 'cutie" about $15000

BTW this is only the first step for Exodus – they stil want gay people to join with str8 opposite sex people in marriage.

I know about 2 dozen gays who did that, due primaritlay to social pressure / expectations

all but two of these are no longer married.

While this is a step in the right direction for exodus, i wonder how many str8 people would like to bed with a gay same sex person.

dvelco July 7, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Incredible response. I run the largest LGBT Group on LinkeIn and your view from the str8 future heterosexual spouses view. Sure you hope that they've been 100% open and honest with each other and the hetero partner is aware, acknowledged and accepted. That would be a true love. But as you point out… it's not working. So.. why go through all the years of emotional stress to self and others and just accept yourself and others?

Thanks for the new view. I truly can't believe I've not thought of that. Make it a wonderful new week.

thatsdrfreak July 7, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Some of the "ex-gays" have finally noticed that the sky is blue!

Sadly, as long as religious leaders preach hate, there will always be people willing to pay any price to "change" their sexual orientation. We won't rid the world of reparative therapy until we rid the world of homophobia.

StanleyJames July 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm

yes and I know 2 of thess so called fixed gays. Both of them told me that Matthew Shepards parents should have fixed him

these people are not just pathological liars, they are turned into the most vicious of vicious people on the planet. Blaming the kids parents for his brutal murder.

All you have to do is look at how hitler, described as having a magnetic personality, got his people to follow him to ruin.

thatsdrfreak July 8, 2012 at 10:35 am

A part of me can't help but feel sorry for the so-called "fixed gays". They must carry around in their hearts a staggering amount of shame and self-loathing.

dvelco July 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Thanks for this article and your reporting.  What you do is appreciated.

I posted it to my LGBT Group on LinkedIn to spur members to read your article and to make comment. I also scooped it at Scoop.It on my LGBT Times news mashup.

Link to group >>

All LGBT+ and community allies…. please come join me and 14,000 of your soon to be great friends on LinkedIn. The member base represents 80% of the world's countries. As well as the down stream in my LInkedIn personal connections that reach over 22 million potential live stream viewers on LinkedIn.

The group is strictly professional office friendly dialog, posting and profiles / profile images. I've been told by many that it may well be one of the best run / managed groups on LinkedIn.

You can be as out or private as you like and I provide instructions on how to set those preferences (In the Manager's Choice area).

It's core value is – Visibility can lead to awareness which can lead to equality. Come stand with us and increase our visibility on the globe's largest professional networking site. Be a professional who just happens to be LGBT – or a welcomed community ally.

Huntercgo July 8, 2012 at 8:39 am

BTW — thanks for the note about the LinkedIn LGBT group. I really need to sit down and work on my profile at LinkedIn, and it's good to know that group is there.

Huntercgo July 8, 2012 at 8:38 am

I think all that needs to be said is that Chambers has been accused of "heresy."

Shades of the Inquisition.

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