From Exodus to Revelation

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Three former leaders of Exodus—the faith-based group that helps lost souls pray the gay away—are crashing the group's annual conference by claiming the system doesn't work.

"Some who heard our message were compelled to try to change an integral part of themselves, bringing harm to themselves and their families," the three, including Exodus co-founder Michael Bussee, said in a joint written statement presented at the news conference. "Although we acted in good faith, we have since witnessed the isolation, shame, fear and loss of faith that this message creates."

Now a licensed family therapist in Riverside, Bussee left Exodus in 1979, after he fell in love with a man who was a fellow ex-gay counselor with the group. He speaks out frequently against ex-gay therapies.

"God's love and forgiveness does indeed change people," said Bussee, who remains an evangelical Christian. "It changed me. It just didn't make me straight."

In 2005 Ronald Bailey connected the dots between Exodus and (remember her?) Harriet Miers. UPDATE: My mistake. The dots didn't actually connect.

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  1. God, that was a great sketch.

  2. I always thought those Exodus folks were a bunch of delusional nitwits… glad to see some of them got their heads out of the sand.

    I’d be cruder than that, but it would make a bad pun.

  3. I am continually amazed that some people sexual preferences are viewed as something to be “cured” by others. Get a life, please.

  4. steveintheknow,

    Best bit: Janeane Garofalo as his super butch “wife.”

  5. Is there ever a bad time for a Mr. Show reference?

    “Burton will tell us about his most recent lapse, and the one he has planned for August, which should take him to Rio De Janeiro.”

  6. “God’s love and forgiveness does indeed change people,” said Bussee, who remains an evangelical Christian. “It changed me. It just didn’t make me straight.”

    Aww, I thought this was nice. Hopefully people like him will become the norm more and more, and by the next generation, evangelicals will have stopped finger-wagging and started preaching love and tolerance. You know, like that guy Christ did.

  7. I am continually amazed that some people sexual preferences are viewed as something to be “cured” by others. Get a life, please.

    It’s nice to someone finally come out and challenge the demonization of pedophiles. Not many have the courage to do so.

  8. The whole “do gays choose their orientation” question is chock full of ironic subtexts – on one hand, those who say “yes” seem to be addmitting that on some level homosexuality appeals to them, only they are choosing not to engage in it, while those (straight folks at least) who say “no” often come across as a little too defensive in their denial of any homosexual urges.

  9. Ellie,

    A core part of Christ’s message was that those he identified as “bad guys” would get their comeuppance very soon. The soon to come Kingdom was surely going to be a great place, but it was also a place which excluded a whole lot of folks.

  10. Where it gets tricky is that there is some small % of people who are not inherently gay, but are living that way through some set of screwy psychological-familial-social circumstances. The equivalent of the gay man trying his damnedest to be straight and fit in with his family or peers, except, for obvious reasons, it’s several orders of magnitude less common.

    It probably isn’t very hard for Exodus to point to one or two people who fit this pattern, got psychological help, and were able to “come out” to themselves and others as straight. As a lot of gay people can tell you, living a lie like that and denying your true self is an awful, miserable life, so I imagine some of them do end up seeking “reparative therapy” from groups like Exodus.

    If we’re talking about a group, or an audience, that doesn’t know anything about science or statistics, accepts miracles as a regular part of how the world functions, has a religious life that revolves around conversion experiences, and is already predisposed to seeing homosexuality as a lifestyle choice like being a punk rocker, then a couple of anecdotes are all it’s going to take to make up their minds.

  11. I am continually amazed that some people sexual preferences are viewed as something to be “cured” by others.

    The best idea from an evolutionary point of view is that homosexuality (asexuality, schizophrenia, etc) is a symptom of pathogenic brain infection, either in utero or before the brain fully develops. Short version: if something interferes with sexual reproduction, then it’s probably caused by an external agent. Look up “new germ theory” and/or see the Greg Cochran entry in Wikipedia for more info and links/books. That doesn’t necessarily imply that homosexuality is immoral or needs to be “cured.”

    Of course, most people here are pretty PC (link) (“lefty creationists”) and will reject the idea without examination.

  12. No, the core part of Christ’s message was that we should all be nice, love each other, and own kittens! It requires an informed reading of the text to get the last part, but true scholars find it obvious. Get out there, Christians, and pet those paws!

  13. Sure, I like-like you a lot-lot. hehehe

  14. Hey Parse, you must have the wrong thread. No one is talking about pedophiles.

    “””A core part of Christ’s message was that those he identified as “bad guys” would get their comeuppance very soon”””

    True, but not by man. I agree with Ellie and I add it’s man’s job to forgive and god’s job to judge.

    The problem Christians have with gays is they do not want to believe god made them that way. God is our creator, but he couldn’t have created being gay, therefore it must be a choice.

  15. It’s nice to someone finally come out and challenge the demonization of pedophiles. Not many have the courage to do so.

    *hisssssssss*

    i’m sorry, but we will still be locking up those who take advantage of those under the legal age and those who rape and torture for their own pleasure.

  16. The next generation…

  17. Best bit: Janeane Garofalo as his super butch “wife.”

    Awsome!!!

    That part slipped the memory a bit. Having it back in play makes the memories, oh the meories, even better.

    Today is definitely, the party day.

  18. steveintheknow,

    Don’t forget Brian Posehn in leather. Always funny. Always.

  19. If God really has a problem with gays, he could smite them at any time. Being that God allows their existence, I don’t find it my place to object.

  20. parse,

    Very few psychologists think that pedophilia can be cured, either. At least not in adults.

  21. Don’t forget Brian Posehn in leather.

    What, me forget? Hell no!

    In fact, he is already on the guest list for my next “relapse”, in September.

  22. Yeah, I’m just not convinced that Jesus was anti-gay. I mean, doesn’t it say in the Bible that Jesus rode an ass?

  23. Why is a guy who left Exodus in 1979 news today?

  24. TrickyVic,

    Even if true, that really doesn’t make Christ a hippy. Then again, busting up the temple was supposed to presage the destruction of the temple itself. Since various portions of the Gospels contradict each on whether Christ was a God or not, and Christ is going out and committing such an act it is unclear just how exclusive the power of judgment will be.

  25. The best idea from an evolutionary point of view is that homosexuality (asexuality, schizophrenia, etc) is a symptom of pathogenic brain infection, either in utero or before the brain fully develops. Short version: if something interferes with sexual reproduction, then it’s probably caused by an external agent.

    So in your opinion, people catch “the gay,” much in the way others catch meningitis or the common cold? Have any microorganisms have been isolated linked to homosexuality? If so, which — the brightly-dressed, catty ones?

    Furthermore, does this mean Rick Santorum and like-minded homophobes should be fervently rallying support for the development of a homosexuality antibiotic?

    This is beginning to sound like a knockoff of X3: The Last Stand.

  26. It’s nice to someone finally come out and challenge the demonization of pedophiles. Not many have the courage to do so.

    Parse – Surely you jest.

  27. i’m sorry, but we will still be locking up those who take advantage of those under the legal age and those who rape and torture for their own pleasure.

    And that is a group of people which overlaps with, but is not contiguous with, pedophiles.

    There is a difference, of course, between sexual orientation and sexual behavior. The hysteria about pedophilia is such that people easily forget that. If sexual orientation is biologically determined, there should be no shame in being a pedophile. We can only hold people responsible for their actions, not their desires.

    TrickyVic, j sub d made a general comment about people’s sexual preference. Was I supposed to assume that it didn’t include pedophiles? Why would I do that? Oh I get it–pedophiles aren’t people.

  28. j sub d made a general comment about people’s sexual preference. Was I supposed to assume that it didn’t include pedophiles? Why would I do that? Oh I get it–pedophiles aren’t people.

    The thread is about homosexuality and Exodus. Context, parse, context.

  29. Don’t forget Brian Posehn in leather.

    Wasn’t that a different sketch? “No gay son of mine isn’t not gay- you’d better get gay or I’ll make you gay!!!”

  30. Parse, tell us the harrowing tale of your descent into homo-sin-uality.

  31. J sub D, sorry to give you too much credit. I didn’t know when you said that people shouldn’t interfere with the sexual attraction of other people you meant they shouldn’t interere with other people whose sexual orientation didn’t offend you personally.

  32. GILMORE, I was born in sin, and therefore did not have to descend.

  33. parse,

    Can children enter into legal contracts? What part of “adult and consensual” do you not understand?

    Mojotron3000,

    That one too, plus Wyld Sceptre and maybe a few others that I’ve forgotten.

  34. And all the crowd comes in day by day

  35. De Stijl, what do a person’s sexual desires–the type of people he is attacted to–have to do with the ability of anyone else to enter into a legal contracts? What part of there is a difference, of course, between sexual orientation and sexual behavior don’t you understand, Obviously, by your lights, the only ethical pedophile would be a celibate pedophile. Do you imagine there aren’t any?

    If you want to defend homosexuals from discrimination in the particular case based on the general principle that “sexual orientation is not a valid basis for discrimination,” then you need to be consistent about what that implies. I don’t think the implications are particularly onerous myself, but you others seem to think they are. If you believe, as you seem to, that some forms of sexual attraction are a valid basis for discrimination, you’ll have to find some other defense of homosexuality.

  36. No one stop it in anyway

  37. “If you believe, as you seem to, that some forms of sexual attraction are a valid basis for discrimination, you’ll have to find some other defense of homosexuality.”

    siiiiimplify, maaaaaaan.

    what consenting adults do sexually is their business.

    PROBLEM SOLVED.

  38. And all the peacemaker turn war officer

  39. .

  40. hgjhgjmhh.kj

  41. Police, police, police and thieves

  42. Huh…

    Akira hasn’t posted yet as far as i can see…so i will help him..

    “God’s love and forgiveness does indeed change people,” said Bussee, who remains an evangelical Christian. “It changed me. It just didn’t make me straight.”

    So exactly at what point between believing in a non-existent god and believing that a non-existent god can make a gay man straight become irrational?

  43. Police, police, police and thieves

    Finally! Now I can about something else. 🙂

  44. Very few psychologists think that pedophilia can be cured, either. At least not in adults.

    WTF…who cares if people want to fuck children…..who cares if they feel that way all their life…the point is to stop people from fucking children not their feelings about it.

  45. joshua,

    Reread the thread. My comment was a direct response to another.

  46. If you believe, as you seem to, that some forms of sexual attraction are a valid basis for discrimination, you’ll have to find some other defense of homosexuality.

    This, I imagine, is the entire point of this roundabout rhetorical nonsense. What an excrutiatingly elaborite way to build a straw man… And let me be specific, your strawman is that the only “defense” for homosexuality asserted here is that it’s an inate biological preference. Of course, that’s complete nonsense. No one, to my knowledge at least, is saying that any inate sexual preference is grounds for discrimination or a failproof “defense” to any behavior.

    In fact, victimless crimes don’t need a “defense.” And that’s pretty much all there is to it.

  47. parse’s argument reminds me strikingly of the “next thing you know they’ll be wanting to marry their dog” argument

  48. I think parse raises an intellectually valid point – he’s not talking about discriminating against people for molesting children. Everyone is against that.

    He’s talking about discriminating against people for having a pedophilic sexual orientation.

    If you say that it is right to discriminate against pedophiles but not homosexuals, you are saying that there is some other factor at play than sexual orientation going on in your judgement, which seems to be a true statement.

    OK, so what is it? Maybe it’s just as simple as appending the phrase “…that does not promote victimizing people” to the end of the phrase “It is wrong to discriminate against someone for their sexual orientation.”

  49. Wow, it really is so unthinkable to you people that someone would mount a principled defense of pedophiles that you imagine I’m somehow erecting a sneak attack on homosexuals. For the record, I agree that no one needs to apologize for homosexuality. I do think sexual orientation is biologically determined, but even it it weren’t, there is nothing immoral about it. Whether people are gay by choice or by genetics, it’s OK.

    I do believe that it’s wrong to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation. I do believe that you can only judge people on their behavior, not on their desires. I don’t say this to subtly undermine equality for homosexuals. I do think the demonization of peophiles is problematic, and I think it reflects a far more generalized distates for sensual and sexual pleasure that is the mark of an unhealth society.

    I think children are often harmed by sexual relations with adults; I think the current hysteria about pedophila probably harms more children than actual pedophile relationships (which I suspect are vanishingly few, stasistically speaking). And I think it’s both funny and sad that while you condemn these Christians for their panic reactions to sexual expression they don’t like, you react with similar panic when faced with a sexual expression you don’t like.

  50. Oh, come on, parse, drop the wide-eyed innocent act. You drop the “child molester” bomb in the middle of a discussion about gay people, in a deliberately provocative manner, and didn’t exactly go out of your way to make sure your point wasn’t misuderstood.

  51. Obviously, by your lights, the only ethical pedophile would be a celibate pedophile. Do you imagine there aren’t any?

    No parse, there are some priests who maintain their vow. Rimshot.

    Just joshing. You are right on point. If orientation is genetic, persecution of desire, not action, is purely discriminatory.

    But there remain a lot of thorny questions for society. Should an admitted but celibate pedophile be allowed to be an elementary school teacher? Should a necrophiliac be allowed a mortician’s license?

  52. Akira hasn’t posted yet as far as i can see…so i will help him..

    To be honest, I’m taking a break from H&R, at least regarding conversations. After my last religion-inspired tantrum, I decided that I really ought to talk to someone professional about this. I’ve had a hard time controlling my emotions most of my life, I’ve been flying off the handle more and more lately. Not just over religion/politics, and not just online. Now that I have the health insurance to back me up, I’m making arrangements to see a shrink (Keep quiet you Szaz-fans!)and find out what’s wrong with me.

  53. EDIT: …regarding serious conversations…

  54. i’m no fan of reality tv but a few minutes of to catch a predator made me wonder just what the score is with that shit. in terms of volume, what exactly is the scumfuck to human ratio going on?

    but yeah i’m going to take a hard stance on the whole “if a dude in his 20s or 30s wants to bang a 13 year old, that’s fucked up and the intervention of a baseball bat may be required.”

    next week i will take a similarly bold stance against racism.

  55. Tbone, I’m looking forward to the Department of Education adopting a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for pedophile teachers.

  56. next week i will take a similarly bold stance against racism.

    You could write for a college newspaper!

  57. I think children are often harmed by sexual relations with adults…

    Wrong answer.

    Always, always, always, always, always, always.

    And for the rest of their lives.

  58. Akira-

    Good luck with that, and do come back here again.

  59. Parse, that is the logical extension of your premise. Where would you draw the precautionary principle vs. after the harm punishment line?

  60. “You could write for a college newspaper!”

    my next column is entitled “war hurts everyone, especially children, and is bad for animals too”

    it is a two part series.

  61. dhex-

    You should up the ante. Try for something radical like “It’s time to confront homophobia.”

  62. Hey there… the LA Times piece didn’t do as thorough a job of explaining the project which the three former leaders are participating in.

    You can read the details at http://www.BeyondExGay.com

    Former ex-gays are coming together in Irvine, not at the Exodus conference, or even as a protest of the Exodus conference. Their purpose is healing, sharing of their journeys out of ex-gay experiences to being open and authentic as lesbian, gay, transgendered, or bisexual.

    (I am the web developer for that site… we’re running like crazy right now getting ready for the conference, as well as getting the word out to as many folks as possible.)

    Take care…

  63. Should a necrophiliac be allowed a mortician’s license?

    Well, none of victims complain…

  64. de stijl, do you have any proof for your assertion that children are always harmed, and always permanently harmed, by sexual relations with adults? I’ve read both anecdotal accounts and academic studies that claim the contrary.

  65. parse,

    Would you please give us your definition of pedophilia?

  66. I’d define pedophila as sexual attraction to children who have yet to experience puberty–so by that definition, their would be sexual relations between adults and children that wouldn’t be pedophila. My guess is that sex between adults and adolescents is far more frequent than actual pedophilia, although in popular vernacular, I know many refer to such adults as pedophiles.

  67. And I think it’s both funny and sad that while you condemn these Christians for their panic reactions to sexual expression they don’t like, you react with similar panic when faced with a sexual expression you don’t like.

    This is the sort of comment that causes me not to take your arguments at face value. Panic? Among the general population, sure, but I wasn’t aware of the panic at H&R regarding pedophilia. The general tenor of discussions regarding the “save the children” meme has been skeptical, not panicky.

    And besides, you need to keep your argument straight. You said “expression” above, which implies behavior. Are we talking about behavior or preference. When you mix the two, you can hardly blame others for failing to scrupulously abide by this distinction when responding to your comments.

  68. AKIRA —

    Just read your comment, bro. Good luck, and we look forward to a happier, less-stressed Akira after you get things sorted out a bit.

  69. “”Even if true, that really doesn’t make Christ a hippy.””

    What? Hippy? Where did that come from?

    “””TrickyVic, j sub d made a general comment about people’s sexual preference. Was I supposed to assume that it didn’t include pedophiles? Why would I do that?”””

    Because pedophilia is a differnt subject that orientation? You say you know the difference between the two. No one was talking about pedophiles till you brought it up. The real question is why do you want to talk about it?

  70. Akira,

    Be good, be well, be safe!

  71. Hope all goes well for you, Akira. We’ll be eagerly awaiting your triumphant return.

  72. Best of luck Akira. Make sure you find someone you’re comfortable with – someone cooperative, who doesn’t pull rank, that will work with you, not on you.

  73. Akira – Good luck and be well. I have to echo the sentiment that it’s important to find someone who can work with you to help you, instead of someone who thinks that you’re a project to be fixed (the Dr. Phil type). Humorously enough, I learned this not through counseling but from living with a (now former) girlfriend.

    (joe makes a lot of sense on this thread. It would be wrong for me to not admit it when it happens…)

  74. Thank God! Have you ever seen a typical Born Again Christian’s interior design sense.

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