Exodus International and similar ministries do not offer a peaceful resolution of the perceived conflict between homosexual orientation and Christianity. Instead they use verbal presti-digitation to confuse the unwary. For example, the UK Exodus affiliate, Re-Alignment, uses the slogan, "Reinventing People."
According to EI, the cure for homosexuality is to re-align, re-orient or re-invent your identity in Christ, which is Exodus-speak for
your innate homosexual orientation,
spending the rest of your life in denial.'
Ex-Gays wrongly link their
"Exodus exists so that individuals can live in congruence with their own faith-based beliefs. There are many who do not share our beliefs, nor are they in conflict living as homosexuals. We respect this human right to self-determination. In the spirit of tolerance and diversity, we ask only for the same as well."
Of course, the words are little more than empty rhetoric since Chambers and EI seek to use the power of government to impose their anti-gay religious viewpoint on the rest of us. That's not very tolerant. In fact, far from being tolerant itself, part of the mission of Exodus is to oppose gay rights and legal gay marriage as they seek to use the power of law to impose their personal religious beliefs on everyone else.
The political/spiritual goal of EI and her 256 affiliates is to prevent gays and lesbians everywhere from having the legal right to marry a person matching their sexual orientation.
The President of Exodus International, Alan Chambers, talking about tolerance while heading an organization with 256 politically active affiliates (and asking his victims to be tolerant of EI activism) demonstrates a weird disconnect from reality.
Chambers noted in a 2008 interview that according to a 2007 U.S. study, "sexual orientation change is possible for some individuals via religiously mediated programs like Exodus." -Alan Chambers interview with Lucy Bannerman, fall, 2008
Okay Alan, sexual orientation change is possible - that would be change from homosexual to heterosexual, right? Yet according to you, the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality, it's holiness, right? Yet orientation change is not the goal for people in Exodus residential programs, right? Sounds like Orwellian double-speak to me.
What Chambers rarely discusses is the dismal 15% "success" rate of EI residential programs. And the 15% who are viewed as "successful" admit they still struggle with homosexual attractions. Success may be far too strong a term for whatever happened to them through EIs ministry.
Perhaps because 85% of their clients do not experience the hoped for change/success, EI sometimes claims in public statements that orientation change is not their goal. They "nuance" the message to fit the event, apparently with little regard for truth or consistency.
When questioned, President Chambers admitted that, although he is always honest, he "nuances" his message about Ex-odus.
-Chambers, speaking to TV Evangelist James Robison on Life Today TV, October, 2007
These days much of EIs talk about orientation change is confined to small group workshops, where it is not so much in the public eye. This is probably because at best EI can only demonstrate a 15% "success" rate, with even their most "successful" clients (including heterosexually married ones like President Chambers) admitting that they still struggle with same sex attractions.
"With years of therapy, Chambers says, he has mostly conquered his own attraction to men; he's a husband and a father, and he identifies as straight. But lately, he's come to resent the term "ex-gay": It's too neat, implying a clean break with the past, when he still struggles at times with homosexual temptation. "By no means would we ever say change can be sudden or complete," Chambers said." -Los Angeles Times article
If real orientation change actually occurred, shouldn't Ex-Gays now struggle with heterosexual temptation instead of homosexual temptation?
If Ex-Gays still struggle with same sex temptation and do not generally struggle with heterosexual temptation, isn't that proof positive that only sublimation and behavior modification occurred, leaving their innate homosexual orientation unchanged?
Try saying it this way to better hear the mean-spirited dishonesty inherent in the Exodus statement.
Really? Does that make sense or is it just goofy psycho-babble? This mean-spirited little EI sound bite is saying that homosexuality is not and never can be holy. Under the guise of saying something spiritual and uplifting, the Exodus holiness mantra snarkily attacks gays and lesbians.
"For so many people, they think the opposite of homosexuality is heterosexuality. If we just fill it with another lust or if we date the opposite sex or look at pornographic images of the opposite sex or get married. When in fact, the opposite of homosexuality is holiness. Heterosexuality won't fix someone...
We are not called to switch lusts. We are not called to adopt another addiction. We're called to pursue the Lord and to be holy like he is holy and that's the focus." -Alan Chambers, Oct 29, 2007 on James Robison's TV program, Life Today.
Okay, this is Rick Brentlinger, the guy writing this article. I'm a conservative, born-again, washed in the blood of the Lamb, Bible believing, witnessing GAY Christian. I believe in Biblical holiness (not legalism). I have no problem with expecting Christians (gay or non-gay) to live a clean, holy life for God. That's the least we can do in gratitude for the gift of God's amazing grace in Jesus Christ. But I have to ask Exodus,
Orientation change is possible BUT its not your goal? Really? If you sincerely believe homosexual orientation is wrong and God is against it, why is orientation change not the goal of EI?
Are you saying orientation change is not possible? Or are you implying your programs have been so spectacularly unsuccessful that you no longer view orientation change as an achievable goal for the vast majority of your clients? One day you say orientation change is possible. The next day you say, "We are not called to switch." Which message is true?
It seems to me, Alan Chambers is being disingenuous. For EI, orientation change always has been the goal and always will be the goal, even if they "nuance" (lie about?) their message as Chambers likes to claim. This holiness statement, designed by EI as a rhetorical sound bite, is dishonest and disingenuous for at least eight reasons.
First, it assumes that homosexuality is a chosen sinful lifestyle instead of an innate sexual orientation. This drives home to gays and lesbians the EI belief that homosexuals are unholy and impure.
Oddly enough, although some gay Christians understand Lev 18:22 and 20:13 to be purity regulations only binding on Israel, (which are not binding on Christians today), EI and most anti-gay Christians insist that Lev 18:22 and 20:13 are NOT purity regulations and ARE binding on us today.
Exodus confuses the issue by asserting that the Levitical Holiness Code is (1) a universal moral code for everyone (not a purity code only binding on Old Testament Jews), and, (2) it is binding on us today.
Yet their holiness catch-phrase takes the position they've labeled as wrong, that homosexuality (is impure and) violates the purity code. At best, their rhetorical sound bite "nuancing" is dishonest and self-serving.
Second, it assumes that homosexuals as a group live wicked promiscuous lives.
A National Review Online, article points out the reasoning behind the rhetoric. Change ministries attempt to convince their clients that being gay or lesbian is shameful, using guilt to compel change.
"Lance Carroll, who spent eight weeks at a Love in Action program last year (when he was 17)... described his experience with Love in Action as “horrendous,” recalling “group activities where one person was singled out and made to associate shame with something homosexual that they had done.
This was done many times for each person, in an attempt to condition you to believe that being homosexual was shameful."
Third, it assumes that homosexuals cannot and do not live pure holy lives.
Fourth, it contrasts homosexuality with holiness (purity), as if all homosexuals are unholy and impure.
Fifth, it indirectly acknowledges the dismal 15% "success rate" (and the 85% failure rate) of Exodus programs to facilitate change from homosexual to heterosexual (thus obfuscating the goal of orientation change).
Sixth, it creates the false impression that EI does not believe that heterosexuality is the goal when orientation change (homosexual to heterosexual) really is the goal of the EI program (in spite of what EI says).
Seventh, it subtly prepares Exodus clients for the message of celibacy, that since you can't change your innate sexual orientation and we can't change your innate sexual orientation and God won't change your innate sexual orientation, we [Exodus] believe the only Godly course for you is lifelong celibacy.
In the documentary, Why Am I Gay?, the mother of a gay man enduring reparative therapy is asked, "What if his therapy doesn't work?" She pauses for a moment and then replies,
Her answer, though honest, demonstrates incredible lack of empathy, especially for a mother. Imagine the psychological damage this mindset has done to so many struggling gays and lesbians.
Eighth, it is religious pyscho-babble which intentionally obfuscates the issue, since EI and her partner ministries sometimes state that orientation change IS the goal while at other times stating that orientation change IS NOT the goal.
Never forget - the core Exodus theological belief is that changing from homosexual to heterosexual is absolutely necessary if you want to go to heaven, based on their misinterpretation of 1 Corinthians 6:9.
EI theology is a bit dodgy and a lot confused (Chambers calls it "nuanced"), in that they believe that everyone is born heterosexual, therefore no one is ever really homosexual. According to Exodus, being homosexual (gay or lesbian) is a self-chosen identity, not an innate orientation. People are free to walk away from their self-chosen gay or lesbian identity at any time and acknowledge their innate heterosexual orientation, according to EI.
Yet Ex-odus literature and Conference speakers continue to assert that orientation change is possible (homosexual to heterosexual) which seems to contradict their belief that no one is born homosexual.
EI uses Bible translations like the NIV which says in 1 Corinthians 6:9 that homosexuals will not go to heaven. So while Exodus uses distracting sound-bites which assert that changing your sexual orientation is not their objective, make no mistake. Exodus believes it is imperative to change your sexual orientation because if you don't change, Exodus believes you're headed straight for hell, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 dollars.
Even though EI now soft-peddles the belief that people can change from homosexual to heterosexual in their U.S. advertising, Exodus affiliates, like Love Won Out (it used to be part of Focus on the Family), still insist that people can change from homosexual to heterosexual.
Focus On The Family's CitizenLink.com (their Love Won Out ministry to homosexuals is now part of the EI family) said this about orientation change.
"the festival audience seemed to embrace the lyrics that spotlight the truth that people can change their sexual orientation. Jeff Johnston, gender issues analyst with Focus on the Family, knows that truth firsthand..."
"And as more evidence of the fact that people can and do change their sexual orientation, Exodus International, a group of more than 150 Protestant Christian ministries in the United States and around the world, represents literally tens of thousands of people who have made the choice to walk out of their homosexual and bisexual identities. Even in the secular cultural arena we see evidence of well-known people who have clearly changed their sexual orientation."
In essence this statement is EIs acknowledgment that their programs do not work for about 85% of the people they treat. Apparently 85% of Exodus clients, most of them highly motivated, are just not holy enough.
If the client is not successful, the client was not holy enough, was not pure enough, didn't have enough faith. It's the client's fault! And that is an incredibly cynical ploy. EI expects clients to change from homosexual to heterosexual, regardless of their snarky statement about holiness. Yet through 34 years of Exodus ministry, most Exodus clients have not experienced the change Exodus promoted and they sought.
Exodus finally figured out a cynical way (the holiness sound bite) to blame their clients when treatment fails, while still holding out orientation change as the ideal (if not the "goal").
Exodus techniques often cause their clients lifelong depression and psychological and spiritual struggles, which only begin to get better when the client rejects the faulty assumptions which undergird Exodus ministries.
Remember what Exodus believes: Reparative therapy reinforces strict gender roles and works to erase outward appearances of femininity in men and masculinity in women.
"It's about doing what's uncomfortable," says a gay man, describing how he forced himself to watch baseball with macho sportsmen at parties, and to wear looser shorts when walking his chihuahua.
He speaks with obvious pride about leaving his boyfriend and his gay friends, changing his address, his job and his gym after attending his first Exodus Conference.
Tuning the radio is okay though, presumably only as long as it's not playing a K.D. Lang medley or an interview with Ellen DeGeneres.
At EI Conferences, even though orientation change is not supposed to be the goal ('the opposite of homo- sexuality is holiness' - O the joys of "nuance"), every evening, "former" homosexuals parade their husbands and wives as proof of their new-found heterosexuality, to demonstrate that heterosexual marriage is evidence of change and healing from homosexuality.
"Stereotypes are the currency of the ExGay movement [homosexuals are unhappy; heterosexual marriage will help make you happy], and the heterosexual ideal is practically ringed by a white picket fence...
An Ex-Lesbian jokes that her recovery [from lesbianism] is going so well that she has given up working on her car - "it trashes my nails".
EI Vice-President Randy Thomas, on the other hand, delights the crowd with his campiness. "Just because I stopped being gay sixteen years ago doesn't mean I can't be fabulous," he says." -Lucy Bannerman, from a UK article, Oct 7, 2008, about an Exodus Conference at Ridgecrest Retreat, in the Smoky Mountains
Even at their loving and benevolent best, Exodus style, ExGay ministries can offer only their opinion about what God wants for gays and lesbians. Here is the message many gays and lesbians take away from ExGay ministries. The ministries may not use these exact words but this is the message many gays and lesbians "hear."
Regardless of the emotional, psychological and spiritual toll this takes on you, our beloved gay and lesbian clients, we will continue to insist that if you want to go to heaven, God gives you no other options.
Our innate homosexual orientation is only a small part of who we are as human beings. Sexual orientation sometimes appears to be a larger part of our being because we are forced to constantly resist the psycho-babble rants of anti-gay christians and their unceasing attempts to use civil government to take away our human rights.
God loves you just as you are and He does not require you to change your sexual orientation when He saves you. Choose any button on the NavBar and discover that God doesn't view you like Exodus International views you.
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This page updated June 10, 2016
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