President of "Gay Cure" Group Apologizes, Disbands Organisation


Credit: Think Progress

Alan Chambers—president of one America's most prominent "gay cure" ministries, Exodus International—has posted a candid apology for the activities and mission of the ministry and confirmed that the organisation will be shut down.

I am sorry I didn't stand up to people publicly 'on my side' who called you names… I am sorry I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine. More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God's rejection. I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives.

For close to 40 years, the Florida-based ministry had been one of the most prominent organizations promoting the idea that sexual reorientation was possible through reparative therapy. Chambers still believes homosexuality to be a sin. He equates it to sins such as pornography and adultery, which are in his view immoral but do not exclude the person from salvation.

I cannot apologise for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them. I cannot apologise for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek.

Chambers' increasingly tolerant stance homosexuality has not been without its critics. Last year he appeared on the Gay Christian Network arguing that gays who are celibate can still go to Heaven. Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, reacted to that statement by equating Chambers to green-on-blue attackers in Afghanistan.

Tonight on Our America with Lisa Ling Chambers will discuss his position in depth as well as apologize to those who have undergone Exodus International treatment and believed they were harmed by the experience. The apology has been greeted with scepticism by some. A former pastor who came out of the closet—identified only as Jerry—said:

"My cynical side would say it's the re closeting ministry." He interprets the message as "We cannot change you, we cannot give you a happy life, but we can help you get back into the closet more comfortably."

The shuttering of one of the most prominent organizations in the "gay cure" movement will reinforce the view that this already minority position is drifting further to the fringe.

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  1. Seems that by admitting the reality of the gay not being a curable condition, this fellow proves that Christianity is a curable condition. Huh.

    1. I recognize that your comment here is probably a result of a release of emotion. Either way, please really understand that many friends of Jesus know they can walk away from their God whenever they wish, suggesting that they know they don’t have to be “Christian” anymore. It’s part of the doctrine. I really wish you’ve got to see better examples through your life closer to what Jesus actually taught. Unfortunately, nobody is perfect and although somebody somebody may know the right thing to do, they might not know how to do it the right way. People who actually follow the teachings of Jesus work quietly behind the scenes, but blow the minds of the people whom pay attention to them. That’s where people see the Christ for real.

      1. If I wanted to read your pamphlet, I wouldn’t have chucked it into the first subway trash bin I came across.

      2. Nobody fucks with the jesus!

  2. So wait, Episiarch wasn’t cured? All that money we raised was for nothing?

    1. I’m not sure what Warty did to him could be considered a “cure”.

    2. His vagina-affliction has been completely eliminated. Also, he can dance now.

    3. I told you it wasn’t a choice! But did you listen? NOOOOOOOOO.

  3. Anybody who admits he was wrong deserves full credit.

    1. Yeah.

    2. Um, maybe not so much……..t-sincere/

  4. Why anyone would choose to be straight is beyond me.

    1. You don’t have to pay for lubrication.

      1. Oh, you pay.

        1. Touche.

          Gotta give credit where credit is due.

      2. Don’t have to be gay to enjoy anal

        1. I always had you pegged.

    2. Tony| 6.20.13 @ 6:02PM |#

      Why anyone would choose to be straight is beyond me.

      I was born this way.

      1. I chose to be straight right after I discovered my dad’s playboy stash.

    3. Why anyone would choose to be straight is beyond me.

      Tony, I actually am somewhat sympathetic to this in a meta way.

      You wonder why anyone would ever be straight, I wonder why anyone would want to get married.

      It’s certainly a puzzlement.

    4. I have several gay aquaintances, but the only close gay friend I had chose to be gay. Not “chose” as in checking a box in a form, but “chose” as in making a decision to be gay. He was effeminate, and went through life with everyone telling him he was gay. But it was clear to me, his roommate in college, that he was sexually attracted to women and not men. He wasn’t even bi. But whenever a girl dumped him he would say “why don’t girls like me, I must be gay”. Then when a bad marriage blew up, he finally decided he must be gay, and got himself a boyfriend. And both committed suicide a month later.

      I have no doubt many gays are born that way, maybe most gays. But there are some who are pushed into it by various forces. Not necessarily a choice, but different than being born a certain way.

  5. So when is the President of Reason gonna apologize for the lack of hat tipping? Huh? HUH!?

    1. Maybe you aren’t frequent enough.

      1. Damn you and your frequency!

  6. Ok, this seems impressive.

    Now if we can get progressives to apologize for the whole ‘division of labor’ thing they keep preaching, I think we’re on our way to libertopia.

  7. Last year he appeared on the Gay Christian Network arguing that gays who are celibate can still go to Heaven. Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, reacted to that statement by equating Chambers to green-on-blue attackers in Afghanistan.

    Admittedly my theological knowledge is limited, but I must admit I’m confused how this is even controversial.

    1. Matthew 5:28
      But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

      Jesus was countering the Jewish tradition that through right actions you could avoid pissing off God. It’s the same reason that some sects are very down on masturbation. If someone is actively attracted to men, then they’re automatically lusting after folks outside of a sanctified (heterosexual, married) relationship.

      Also Peter LaBarbera is an asshole, so he may not have had any real theological background on it and just wanted to shit all over someone who was moving in a different direction.

      1. There is a difference between getting tempted, which you can’t help, and yielding to it, which you *can* help. I’ve never heard of thie LaBarbera fellow before, and I have no idea how influential he is in Protestant circles.

        The idea of being “cured” of temptation is certainly…tempting, but there’s nothing in Christianity to absolutely guarantee it.

        1. Ah, you might want to familiarize yourself with him EvH, he’s a good example of why Christians meet with a lot of hostility when engaging gay men and women.

          1. If Christians are expected to keep up with the differences between (say) ACT-UP and NAMBLA on the one hand, and “mainstream” gay groups, on the other, I don’t think it’s too much to expect gay activists to keep up with the differences among Christians. Guilt by association runs both ways.

            I suppose this technically qualifies a snark, but – are gay men and women hostile to Jews because of Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ opposition to gay marriage?


            1. Are you implying that ACT-UP is the moral equivalent of NAMBLA?

            2. Really EvH, NAMBLA? I don’t doubt they’re real, but I think they’d be more deserving of a comparison to Westboro as an incredible bogeyman, something people never meet, but hear tales of their villainy, but if it makes you feel better to slip in a passive comparison of gays to pedophiles, go for it.

              You take a particular interest in the persecution of the church by gays, EvH, I would go so far as a lay expert on the topic. YOU should be familiar with Peter LaBarbera because it would give YOU not a fuller understanding of the dynamic between gay people and the church (I’m using both gay people and the church in very broad strokes here), which you seem to find incredibly important.

            3. Sorry, I misread your statement. I don’t disagree with you that gay activists should know the difference between good Christians and Christians who comment on blogs about how straight couples should get 5th amendment protections, but gay couples shouldn’t or tarring them with the NAMBLA brush, but in practice many gay people grew up around “Christians” (there’s still quite a few of y’all) and got burned during their younger years. I disagree with the attitude that many gay people take to the religious, and I think it’s more detrimental to them than to Christians, but I don’t think their animosity is out of left field.

              Of course, you already know that.

              1. “difference between good Christians and Christians who comment on blogs about how straight couples should get 5th amendment protections”

                I suspect you’re alluding to my remarks about spousal immunity (and that’s not necessarily the same as the 5th Amendment) – I said that absent a grant of immunity, the 5th Amendment is going to protect you from testifying against a lover or close relative, but that if you have a grant of immunity, you can be forced to testify against a parent, sibling, child or lover.

                Your view is that same-sex lovers should be extended the spousal privilege, which of course would give them a privilege higher than the privilege afforded parents, kids and siblings.

                To put it in plain terms your definition of “good Christian” is limited to those who support spousal privileges for same-sex lovers – not exactly a self-evident definition.

                “tarring them with the NAMBLA brush”

                which, again, misses the point I was making. But I should mention that there are some influential people – gay *and* straight – who take an unduly tolerant attitude toward adult-child sex, as indicated by Roman Polanski’s supporters. But again, this includes straight people.

                1. Oh please, EvH, don’t be dramatic, I’m ribbing you specifically. I’m fairly certain I don’t get to be the arbiter of what makes a good Christian and a bad one, but you certainly don’t do Christianity any favors in the PR department.

                  We’ve been around the 5A mullberry bush plenty of times, I don’t think there should be a compulsion to testify (full stop), but that isn’t the current political reality and I would like that immunity cover gay marriages, which I see as inherently similar to straight marriages, while you think that it’s important to protect your spousal immunity, but deny it to me.

                  That’s lovely that you acknowledge that straight people are pedos too, but tossing NAMBLA into any conversation is a direct attempt to win support for an argument by invoking disgust.

                  1. “tossing NAMBLA into any conversation is a direct attempt to win support for an argument by invoking disgust.”

                    I suppose I should be grateful that I have you to enlighten me as to my own motives, since I had assumed I was simply showing the limits of the “guilt by association” technique by showing how that technique could be invoked against gays because of NAMBLA and ACT UP – and by the way, shouldn’t you be indignant about the reference to ACT UP, too? Those guys are/were pretty messed up, wouldn’t you agree?

                    1. “I don’t think there should be a compulsion to testify (full stop), but that isn’t the current political reality and I would like that immunity cover gay marriages” etc.

                      I would say that, while we’re waiting for the libertarian Millennium (which at least would mean an end to the persecution of florists, dairy farmers, tour groups, etc. for the “crime” of failing to recognize SSM), then people should have the same obligation to testify against their lovers that they have with respect to their parents, siblings and children. If you want to argue that your relationship with your lover should be privileged over your relationship with parents, siblings and children, feel free to say so, but don’t pretend that you’re an apostle of equal rights when you do this.

                    2. Ok, EvH, do you believe that the state should provide heterosexual lovers who are “married” with priveleges?

                      Do you believe that homosexual lovers who are “married” should be treated the same way? (You’ve already answered no to this particular question.)

                      Also you’re still conflating non-discrimination ordinances with recognition of marriage. I think it’s unfortunate that the two often show up together, but we’ve also covered that repeatedly, so you know you’re being disingenuous by implying that by supporting gay marriage I support the persecution of florists.

                    3. Your word choice throughout this thread is so structurally similar to the AFA Journals, old Exodus and Focus on the Family newsletters I’ve read that I have (safely) assumed this tactic. It’s actually the technique Peter LaBarbera has been known for.

                      You’ve also referred to gay couples in terms of “lover” rather than partner, bf/gf, wife/husband throughout this thread, which is also a common tactic to reduce gay relationships to the sexual component and deny that there’s a relationship akin to the one shared by hetero couples. It’s a bit dated since more and more people know gay couples and gay parents and there’s an increasing understanding that gay couples aren’t much different from straight ones.

                      Why would I give your comparison between ACT UP and NAMBLA any kind of credence. I think ACT-UP’s tactics are childish and counter productive, but NAMBLA is a totally different league of awful.

          2. That and many gay people are extremely intolerant.

      2. LaBarbera is just an asshole. There’s no “there” there when it comes to celibacy; your thought life is not a mortal sin in any mainstream Christian denomination that I know of. For that matter, most Protestant denominations hold to sola fide salvation, which would imply that works have no bearing on salvation.

  8. So…it seems that a fundamentalist Protestant is more open to changing his position in the light of evidence than, say, a Keynsian or an Obama voter.

  9. this already minority position

    Not clear to me which position that is:

    1. That homosexuality is a disease?
    2. That homosexuality is a sin?
    3. That anyone’s sexual preferences can ever change?
    4. That someone has a particular technique effective at reorienting people sexually?

  10. What about those of us who are gay for pay or lesbian until graduation?

  11. Last year he appeared on the Gay Christian Network arguing that gays who are celibate can still go to Heaven.

    Why is this controversial? There is not mainstream Christian theology that denies this. Salvation is a matter of faith not of behavior. All sins are equal in that all will damn you, but salvation forgives sins. There is only one unforgivable sin, and that is not homosexuality. Now a church might be able to point to several scriptures that can justify their not accepting gays within their congregation, but they can’t point to any that say homosexuality negates salvation.

    Far too many modern evangelicals are not following the Bible, they are following their preachers.

    1. Amen!!!!

    2. There is only one unforgivable sin

      Sheese, Doherty says he’s sorry for voting Obama in 2008. You don’t have to keep rubbing his face in it.

  12. Natures Law will win this fight, eventually.
    Fudgepacking is unhealthy and will eventually kill off those who partake. And don’t tell me to be tolerant of risky behavior. It is what it is.

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