Eleven affiliated ministries have quit
Exodus International in protest over President Alan Chambers'
announcement that the group would no longer support “ex-gay”
According to The
New York Times, Chambers has been criticized for shifting the
group from promoting so-called reparative or conversion therapy to
emphasizing how gay Christians can manage their same-sex attractions.
For some gays that could mean celibacy.
Only a few years ago, Exodus promoted
the therapy in advertisements featuring Chambers and his wife,
Leslie, along with the slogan, “Change is possible.”
Chambers now calls such claims
“I do not believe that cure is a word
that is applicable to really any struggle, homosexuality included,”
Chambers told the AP. “For someone to put out a shingle and say,
'I can cure homosexuality' – that to me is as bizarre as someone
saying they can cure any other common temptation or struggle that
anyone faces on Planet Earth.”
Gregg Quinlan, president of Parents and
Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), a support group for “ex-gays,”
is among Chambers' critics.
“I think Mr. Chambers is tired of his
own personal struggles, so he's making excuses for them by making
sweeping generalizations about others,” Quinlan told the Times.
Robert Gagnon, who writes about
homosexuality and the Bible, has called on Chambers to resign.
Exodus' move comes as “ex-gay”
therapy comes under increasing assault. For example, lawmakers in
California are looking at outlawing
the practice in certain situations. The Southern Poverty Law
Center (SPLC) last month filed
its first lawsuit against a physician accused of attempting to
alter the sexuality of a gay man without his consent. And Dr. Robert
Spitzer has apologized
for his own 2001 study which concluded that highly-motivated gay
people could alter their sexuality.
David Pruden, chief operating officer
with the National Association of Research and Therapy of
Homosexuality (NARTH), insisted the treatment works.
“To hold out the idea that one's
homosexual attractions can diminish, that the possibility of
heterosexual attractions coming forth over a period of time – those
things are possible,” he told the AP.
Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out, a group
opposed to the “ex-gay” movement, countered that “the notion
that one can change is the centerpiece of the religious right's
argument for denying us rights.”