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.