Thursday, June 20, 2013

Orlando's Exodus International End Anti-Gay Therapy Sessions

The Orlando, Florida church Exodus International will no longer attempt to cure homosexuality through its unscientific therapy sessions. The ministry's president Alan Chambers issued this statement.

It is also strange to be an outcast from powerful portions of both the gay community and the Christian community. Because I do not completely agree with the vocal majorities in either group and am forging a new place of peaceful service in and through both, I will likely continue to be an outsider to some degree. I imagine it to be very much like a man I recently heard speak at a conference I attended, Father Elias Chacour, the Melkite Catholic Archbishop of Israel. He is an Arab Christian, Palestinian by birth, and a citizen of Israel. Talk about a walking contradiction. When I think of the tension of my situation I am comforted by the thought of him and his.

My desire is to completely align with Christ, his Good News for all and his offer of peace amidst the storms of life. My wife Leslie and my beliefs center around grace, the finished work of Christ on the cross and his offer of eternal relationship to any and all that believe. Our beliefs do not center on “sin” because “sin” isn’t at the center of our faith. Our journey hasn’t been about denying the power of Christ to do anything – obviously he is God and can do anything.

With that, here is an expanded version of the apology I offered during my recent interview with Lisa Ling to the people within the LGBTQ community who have been hurt by the Church, Exodus International, and me. I realize some within the communities for which I apologize will say I don’t have the right, as one man, to do so on their behalf. But if the Church is a body, with many members being connected to the whole, then I believe that what one of us does right we all do right, and what one of us does wrong we all do wrong. We have done wrong, and I stand with many others who now recognize the need to offer apologies and make things right. I believe this apology – however imperfect – is what God the Father would have me do.

The LGBT group Truth Wins Out praised Chambers and Exodus International for ending anti-gay therapy.

"It takes a real man to publicly confront the people whose lives were destroyed by his organization's work, and to take real, concrete action to begin to repair that damage," the group's associate director, Evan Hurst, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.

NPR has another audio story on Chambers and Exodus International. In the interview Chambers said said that 99.9 percent of gay people that went through the therapy sessions didn't change their sexual orientation.

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