Thursday, June 20, 2013

Exodus International Closing!

I learned of Exodus International folding late last night and had hoped to write up something during lunchtime. Then I got distracted by the life around me.

I will write up more later this evening, but here is a taste of what is to come:


Okay. I'm settled at home for a while...

Exodus International is holding its annual convention this week. I guess it's gonna be their last convention. Exodus International's president Alan Chambers announced last night to a stunned audience that the group's board has decided to close down the group permanently. You can read a transcript of the speech and announcement here.

This is what's on the Exodus International website:
Irvine, Calif. (June 19, 2013) — Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality announced tonight that it’s closing its doors after three-plus decades of ministry. The Board of Directors reached a decision after a year of dialogue and prayer about the organization’s place in a changing culture.

We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change – and they want to be heard,” Tony Moore, Board member of Exodus. The message came less than a day after Exodus released a statement apologizing (www.exodusinternational.org/apology) to the gay community for years of undue judgment by the organization and the Christian Church as a whole.

Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism,” said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus. “For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.” 
Chambers continued: “From a Judeo-Christian perspective, gay, straight or otherwise, we’re all prodigal sons and daughters. Exodus International is the prodigal’s older brother, trying to impose its will on God’s promises, and make judgments on who’s worthy of His Kingdom. God is calling us to be the Father – to welcome everyone, to love unhindered.”

For these reasons, the Board of Directors unanimously voted to close Exodus International and begin a separate ministry. “This is a new season of ministry, to a new generation,” said Chambers. “Our goals are to reduce fear (reducefear.org), and come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities.”

Local affiliated ministries, which have always been autonomous, will continue, but not under the name or umbrella of Exodus.

Exodus President, Alan Chambers, is available for interviews. For press credentials or to set up an interview, contact Amy Tracy at 407/808-9831 or 719/355-9075; amytracybusiness@gmail.com. For additional information and a schedule of activities, please go to http://www.exodusfreedom.org.
I have read that the "Reduce Fear" website is a re-brand of the Exodus International group. I have read others who argue that it's not because it doesn't address ex-gay change. The link to the Reduce Fear website essentially leads to an empty page, so I guess we will have to wait and see.

People on the Gay Christian Network website have already been fretting about the "power vacuum" left in Exodus International's wake. One person is particular is afraid that a spin-off ex-gay group known as Restored Hope Network will prove more nasty than Exodus International ever was.

I'm like, "So what?" Restored Hope has already taken over. If they hadn't, Exodus International wouldn't be folding. If Restored Hope wants to do all sorts of nasty, crazy culture war stuff, then let them. That's the kind of stuff that makes the average person shake his/her head in bemused embarrassment. It doesn't really impress anyone except those on the far right side of the culture war.

I'm glad that Exodus International is gone. They have caused more harm than good to LGBT people over the past 37 years. It's time for the group to go away. But it was nice to have a heartfelt apology and acknowledgement of past harm before they closed their door for the final time.

1 comment:

"STUFFED ANIMAL" said...

Jon,

"Ex-Gay" groups are the ultimate expression of anti-Gay religious bigotry and ignorance about Scripture. In my lifetime, I hope I see these groups go the way of Edsels, water wings and eight-track tapes.

The problem is, when it comes to hatred of LGBT folk, in many religious circles it seems fashionable to hold on tighter than a tightwad holding onto a penny. These Bible bigots have no shame at all; God help the Lesbians and Gay men unfortunate enough to have them as parents!