Exodus International

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Exodus (organization))
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Exodus International
Exodus International logo.png
Founded1976 (1976)
FounderFrank Worthen
Michael Bussee
Gary Cooper
Ron Dennis
Greg Reid
Dissolved2013
TypeNonprofit
Registration no.52-1413470 (EIN)
Location
Members
9
Key people
Alan Chambers, Former President
Revenue
$1,118,268 (2010)[1]
Employees
23 (2010)[2]
Websiteexodusinternational.org (defunct)

Exodus International was a non-profit, interdenominational ex-gay Christian umbrella organization connecting organizations that sought to "help people who wished to limit their homosexual desires". It was founded in 1976. Exodus International originally asserted that conversion therapy, the reorientation of same-sex attraction, was possible.[3] In 2006, Exodus International had over 250 local ministries in the United States and Canada and over 150 ministries in 17 other countries.[4] Although Exodus was formally an interdenominational Christian entity, it was most closely associated with Protestant and evangelical denominations.

In 2012, then president Alan Chambers renounced conversion therapy, saying it did not work and was harmful. The following year, Chambers closed the organization and apologized for the "pain and hurt" participants of their programs had experienced.[5] Several other prominent former members, including John Paulk, have made similar apologies. While Exodus International no longer operates, many of its member ministries continue to do so, either forming new networks, joining existing ones such as the Exodus Global Alliance or operating independently.[6]

History[edit]

During the presidency of Sy Rogers in the 1990s, Exodus International had offices on five continents and declared that "all homosexual relationships are sinful."[7]

Day of Truth[edit]

In 2007, Exodus International began supporting the Day of Truth, an event created by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) in 2005 that challenges homosexuality.[8] In 2009, the ADF announced they had passed on their leadership role for the event to Exodus. In October 2010, Exodus announced they would no longer support the event. President Alan Chambers stated they realised they needed to "equip kids to live out biblical tolerance and grace while treating their neighbors as they'd like to be treated, whether they agree with them or not", adding that the Day of Truth was becoming too divisive. Chambers said that Exodus had not changed its position on homosexuality, rather they were reevaluating how to best communicate their message.[9][10] Focus on the Family subsequently took leadership of the event, and renamed it the Day of Dialogue.[11]

Love Won Out[edit]

In 2009, Exodus International purchased the Love Won Out conferences from Focus on the Family. The conferences purpose was "to exhort and equip Christian churches to respond in a Christ-like way to the issue of homosexuality."[12] Love Won Out maintained that "[t]he sin of homosexual behavior, like all sins, can be forgiven and healed by the grace revealed in the life and death of Christ. All sexual sin affects the human personality like no other sin, for sexual issues run deep into our character, and change is slow and uphill - but is possible nonetheless."[13] Love Won Out ceased to exist when Exodus International closed.[citation needed]

Renunciation of conversion therapy[edit]

In January 2012, Alan Chambers announced during his address to a Gay Christian Network conference, that "the majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them have not experienced a change in their orientation," and apologized for the previous Exodus slogan "Change Is Possible".[14] While he believed that "any sexual activity outside a heterosexual, monogamous marriage is sinful according to the Bible", he was attempting to disassociate the group from "reparative therapy" and also step back from contentious political engagement. Speaking to the New York Times in July 2012, Chambers talked about how he believed gay people can have gay sex and still go to heaven. "But we've been asking people with same-sex attractions to overcome something in a way that we don't ask of anyone else [with other sins]."[15][16]

In a shift in the organization's previous positions, Chambers stated in June 2012 that conversion therapy is potentially harmful to those participating and it does not work:[17]

I do not believe that cure is a word that is applicable to really any struggle, homosexuality included, 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.[18]

Closure[edit]

On May 28, 2013, Exodus International withdrew from the Exodus Global Alliance.[19] On June 19, following a vote of the seven member Board of Directors at the organization's annual meeting in Irvine, California, the board of directors announced the impending closure of Exodus International.[20][21]

Alan Chambers said that the board made the move "after a year of dialogue and prayer about the organization's place in a changing culture."[22] Chambers repudiated one part of the organization's mission in a nearly hour-long talk at Exodus International's 38th annual meeting:[23]

I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents.[5]

Chambers stated that his next ministry would be different: "Our goals are to reduce fear and come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming and mutually transforming communities".[24]

Board member Tony Moore issued a statement that clarified that the decision is "not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people," further explaining that "a new generation of Christians is looking for change—and they want it to be heard."[25] The organization's local affiliates may continue to operate independently under a name other than Exodus.[26]

Chambers appeared on Lisa Ling's Our America show, broadcast on the Oprah Winfrey Network, in a June 20, 2013 episode entitled "God and Gays."[23][27] Ling stated in a media interview prior to the airing of the episode, "I think Alan was sincere in his apology. I think things are happening so quickly and he's going through a transition. Where they leave the organization has yet to be determined."[28]

The decision of the three member Board of Directors resulted in the closure of "Exodus International" as an umbrella organization, but had no direct impact on the member ministries which continue to operate. Many have joined together to form two new networks, including Restored Hope Network; while others continue to operate independently.[6]

Additionally, some former member ministries publicly expressed disagreement with the Board of Directors, Alan Chambers, and his apologies.[29]

A close affiliate to Exodus International was the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), who issued a statement saying the member ministries of Exodus "still exist and we imagine that they will always exist as long as we have individuals who find homosexual sex incongruent with their personal or religious values".[30]

Studies of Exodus participants[edit]

While there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that conversion therapy is both a pseudoscience and harmful to participants, some studies finding support for the practice have been published.[31][32][33][34][35][36][37] Several studies of Exodus participants, conducted by people in favor of conversion therapy, found that the therapy could be successful.

Jones and Yarhouse[edit]

Professors Stanton L. Jones of the evangelical Christian Wheaton College and Mark Yarhouse authored a paper that studied whether people "who participate in focused religious ministries experience a change in their sexual orientation" and whether such programs are harmful.[38]

Results found, from a sample of 73 participants (98 before dropouts), that 15% had successfully converted to heterosexuality, 23% "reported homosexual attraction to be present only incidentally" and 29% had "modest decreases in homosexual attraction". No significant change was reported by 27% of participants; 12% reported giving up on conversion therapy, and 8% subsequently identified as homosexual. Jones and Yarhouse's study found "no evidence that the type of attempt to change sexual orientation studied here is harmful."[38]

Response[edit]

Dwight Panozzo from New York University stated that there were several flaws in the Jones and Yarhouse study, the most prominent of which was the decision not to exclude participants who were likely to benefit financially from the study finding in favor of conversion therapy. According to Panozzo, these participants would have been more likely to report successful results, thereby "undermining the validity of the findings". Panozzo also said while their methods used to conclude there was no harm caused by conversion therapy had "an impressive level of face validity", these findings could not be accepted. Among several other criticisms, Panozzo states that Jones and Yarhouse did not have a baseline from which to measure harm, adding that "from a research perspective, this [was] a cardinal and insurmountable error."[39]

Schaeffer et al.[edit]

Schaeffer et al. surveyed 140 members of Exodus, also from an evangelical perspective. According to the study, after a year, 29% said they had changed their orientation, and another 65% said they were in the process of changing. Participants were considered behaviorally successful if they had abstained from any type of physical homosexual contact in the past year. Success was associated with strong religious motivation and positive mental health. Change was positively associated with religious motivation and emotional well-being. This study was published in the Journal of Psychology & Theology, which aims to marry conventional psychology with evangelical Christian orthodoxy.[40]

Ponticelli[edit]

Research by Ponticelli on 15 ex-lesbian women found that Exodus helped them change their lesbian identities through a combination of a new and compelling schema concerning sexuality, reinterpretation of one's past according to that schema, and social support.[41]

Controversy[edit]

There have been several controversial incidents regarding Exodus and their leaders; Christianity Today reported in 2007 that scandals had become less frequent.[42]

Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper[edit]

Michael Bussee, one of the founders of Exodus and Gary Cooper, a leader within the ministry of Exodus, left the group to be in a relationship with each other in 1979. They divorced their wives and participated in a commitment ceremony in 1982. Bussee and Cooper lived together until Cooper's death from AIDS-related illness in 1991.[43]

In June 2007, Bussee issued an apology for his involvement in promoting orientation change through Exodus. Also apologizing were Jeremy Marks, former president of Exodus International Europe, and Darlene Bogle, the founder of Paraklete Ministries, an Exodus referral agency. The apology stated in part "Some who heard our message were compelled to try to change an integral part of themselves, bringing harm to themselves and their families."[44] In April 2010, Bussee stated, "I never saw one of our members or other Exodus leaders or other Exodus members become heterosexual, so deep down I knew that it wasn’t true."[citation needed]

John Paulk[edit]

In September 2000, John Paulk, who had been elected Chairman of the board of Exodus International North America since August 1995,[45] was identified drinking at a Washington, D.C. gay bar. A patron recognized him and contacted Wayne Besen, an employee of the Human Rights Campaign, who came to the bar and confronted Paulk. Paulk denied who he was and gave an alias, but was photographed as he left the bar. When confronted by Besen about the incident and the photographs later, Paulk admitted being in the bar, but stated that he did not know it was a gay bar and had simply stopped in to use the restroom. He later conceded he had known it was a gay bar before entering. Paulk was subsequently removed as board chairman by Exodus.[46][47][48]

In 2013, Paulk renounced his former cause, stating that his sexual orientation had never truly changed, that reparative therapy does not work and "does great harm to many people".[49]

Billboard parody[edit]

In March 2006, Liberty Counsel, a law firm acting on behalf of Exodus International, sent cease-and-desist letters to bloggers Justin Watt and Mike Airhart, demanding they "immediately cease use" of an edited photograph on their respective blogs "or in any other form" which parodied an Exodus billboard. The original billboard image, obtained from Exodus's website, consisted of the message "Gay? Unhappy? www.exodus.to" while the parody image, created by Watt in September 2005, showed the same sign, substantially cropped, with the text altered to read "Straight? Unhappy? www.gay.com."[50]

In response, Watt contacted the ACLU, who took his defense. Exodus decided against pursuing further legal action once the Exodus logo was removed from the parody. As a result of the media attention, more than 40 other websites began displaying the parody.[51]

iPhone app[edit]

In 2011, Exodus International released an iPhone app which promoted the idea that homosexuality can be cured.[52] In the app, Exodus quoted research by scientist Gary Remafedi. Remafedi, however, stated that Exodus had manipulated and misused his research, and wrote to Apple founder Steve Jobs and interim CEO Tim Cook informing them of this.[53] On March 24, 2011, Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr stated: "We removed the Exodus International app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people."[52]

Petitions to both remove and keep the app were set up on Change.org. On March 24, 2011, The Register reported that while the petition to remove the app had received over 150,000 signatures, the counter petition to keep the app had only received 8 signatures.[52]

Ugandan conference[edit]

In 2009, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer and two other evangelical Christians traveled to Uganda to speak at a conference on homosexuality, informing thousands of attendees that homosexuality was "evil" and could be "cured". A month later a Ugandan politician, with the help of the organizers of the conference, introduced what became known as the "Kill the Gays" bill. If passed, the bill would have made homosexuality punishable by death.[54] Close to a year later, Chambers expressed regret for the organization's involvement, and spoke out against the proposed bill.[55]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nonprofit Report for Exodus International North America, Inc". GlobeStar. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
  2. ^ "2010 IRS Form 990 Nonprofit Federal Tax Return". Foundation Center. Retrieved October 14, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Help Dennis Jernigan Visit The Troops In Iraq — Exodus International[dead link]
  4. ^ "Exodus International". Retrieved 2006-05-04.
  5. ^ a b Snow, Justin (June 20, 2013). "'Ex-gay' ministry apologizes to LGBT community, shuts down". MetroWeekly. Archived from the original on June 24, 2013. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Kaleem, Jaweed; Shapiro, Lisa (21 June 2013). "Ex-Gay Christian Groups Will Continue After Exodus As Religious LGBT Support Grows". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  7. ^ Russell, Candice (14 June 1994). "GOING STRAIGHT DOCUMENTARY FOCUSES ON EFFORTS TO `CURE' HOMOSEXUALS". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Hostile Questions". DayOfTruth.org. Archived from the original on January 30, 2010. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  9. ^ Gilgoff, Dan (October 6, 2010). "Christian Group Pull Support for Event Challenging Homosexuality". CNN. Archived from the original on November 23, 2018.
  10. ^ Roberts, David (October 6, 2010). "Exodus International Shuts Down Day of Truth". Archived from the original on November 20, 2018.
  11. ^ "New Focus on Day of Truth: Now "Day of Dialogue"". Focus on the Family. November 11, 2010. Archived from the original on September 21, 2017.
  12. ^ "Love Won Out". Love Won Out. Archived from the original on 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
  13. ^ Focus on the Family's Love Won Out Conference Guide Copyrighted 2005-2006"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-08-03. Retrieved 2008-01-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  14. ^ Alan Chambers: 99.9% have not experienced a change in their orientation Archived 2013-05-28 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "christian-group-backs-ex-gay-therapy". mail.com.[dead link]
  16. ^ "Alan Chambers says conversion therapy doesn't work". pinknews.co.uk. 7 July 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  17. ^ nytimes.com, July 7, 2012.
  18. ^ Condon, Patrick (June 27, 2012). "Christian group backs away from gay 'cure'". MSNBC. Archived from the original on June 27, 2012.
  19. ^ Mahoney, Jill (June 20, 2013). "Evangelical group closes shop, apologizes for saying homosexuality can be 'cured'". Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  20. ^ Melissa Steffan, "Alan Chambers Apologizes to Gay Community, Exodus International to Shut Down", 6/21/2013, http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2013/june/alan-chambers-apologizes-to-gay-community-exodus.html?paging=off
  21. ^ "We're sorry". Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
  22. ^ Sundby, Alex (June 20, 2013). "Exodus International, controversial ministry offering "alternative to homosexuality," to shut doors". CBS News. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  23. ^ a b Tenety, Elizabeth, "Exodus International, criticized for ‘reparative therapies’ for gay Christians, to shut down", Washington Post, June 20, 2013. Included link to video of Chambers' talk at Exodus' website Archived June 22, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  24. ^ Newcomb, Alyssa (June 20, 2013). "Exodus International: 'Gay Cure' Group Leader Shutting Down Ministry After Change of Heart". ABC News. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  25. ^ Neuman, Scott (June 20, 2013). "Gay-Therapy Ministry Shuts Down, Says 'We've Hurt People'". NPR. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  26. ^ Bailey, Sarah Pullman (June 20, 2013). "Ex-gay group Exodus International shuts down, president apologizes". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  27. ^ John (21 June 2013). "Lisa Ling Takes Another Look At "God & Gays"". The Backlot. Viacom International Inc. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  28. ^ Hal Boedeker (19 June 2013). "'God and Gays' can open eyes, Lisa Ling says". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2013-06-24. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  29. ^ Melissa Steffan, "After Exodus: Evangelicals React as Ex-Gay Ministry Starts Over: A roundup of responses to Alan Chambers’s apology and Exodus International’s shutdown and reboot after nearly four decades of ministry.", Christianity Today, 6/21/2013, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/june-web-only/exodus-international-alan-chambers-apologize-for-exgay-past.html
  30. ^ "NARTH Statement on Exodus". National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality. June 20, 2013. Archived from the original on June 24, 2013. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
  31. ^ Haldeman, Douglas C. (December 1999). "The Pseudo-science of Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy" (PDF). Angles: The Policy Journal of the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies. 4 (1): 1–4. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  32. ^ American Psychiatric Association (May 2000). "Position Statement on Therapies Focused on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation (Reparative or Conversion Therapies)". American Psychiatric Association. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved August 28, 2007.
  33. ^ Glassgold, JM; et al. (2009-08-01), Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation (PDF), American Psychological Association, retrieved 2009-09-24
  34. ^ Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK (PDF), January 2015, archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-01-23, retrieved 2015-01-19
  35. ^ General Medical Council supports Memorandum on conversion therapy in the UK, January 2015, archived from the original on 2017-09-23, retrieved 2015-01-19
  36. ^ Professional Standards Authority supports action by Accredited Registers on Conversion Therapy, January 2015, archived from the original on 2015-05-05, retrieved 2015-01-19
  37. ^ McGeorge, Christ R; Carlson, Thomas Stone; Toomey, Russell B (2015). "An Exploration of Family Therapists' Beliefs about the Ethics of Conversion Therapy: The Influence of Negative Beliefs and Clinical Competence With Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients". Journal of Marital & Family Therapy. 41 (1).
  38. ^ a b Stanton, L. Jones; Mark A. Yarhouse (September 2007). Ex-Gays?: A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change In Sexual Orientation (PDF). Intervarsity Press Academic. ISBN 978-0-8308-2846-3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2009-01-15.
  39. ^ Panozzo, Dwight (2013). "Panozzo, D. (2013). Advocating for an end to reparative therapy: Methodological grounding and blueprint for change". Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services. 25 (3). doi:10.1080/10538720.2013.807214.
  40. ^ Schaffer, Kim; Nottebaum, L.; Smith, P.; Dech, K.; Krawczyk, J. (1999). "Religiously-motivated sexual orientation change: A follow-up study". Journal of Psychology and Theology. Journal of Psychology and Theology. 27: 329–337.
  41. ^ Ponticelli, C.M. (June 1999). "Crafting stories of identity reconstruction". Social Psychology Quarterly. Social Psychology Quarterly. 62: 157–172. doi:10.2307/2695855.
  42. ^ Stafford, Tim (September 13, 2007). "An Older, Wiser Ex-Gay Movement". Christianity Today.
  43. ^ Teodoro Maniaci (1993). One Nation Under God (Documentary). 3 Z/Hourglass Productions.
  44. ^ "Former leaders of ex-gay ministry apologize for 'bringing harm' and causing shame". WHDH. June 28, 2007. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012.
  45. ^ Cooperman, Alan (October 21, 2002). "Ads Renew 'Ex-Gay' Debate". The Washington Post.
  46. ^ Besen, Wayne (2012). Anything But Straight. Routledge. ISBN 978-1136326394.
  47. ^ Lawson, Joel (September 21, 2000). "Ex-Gay Leader Confronted in Gay Bar". Southern Voice. Archived from the original on July 30, 2012.
  48. ^ "Ex-Gay Leader Disciplined for Gay Bar Visit". Christianity Today. October 1, 2000. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  49. ^ Brydum, Sunnivie (April 24, 2013). "John Paulk Formally Renounces, Apologizes for Harmful 'Ex-Gay' Movement". The Advocate. Archived from the original on June 26, 2013.
  50. ^ Miller, Lia (March 27, 2006). "Both sides in parody dispute agree on a term: Unhappy". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 28, 2018.
  51. ^ Swartz, Jon (March 23, 2006). "Christian group backs off case against blog parody". USA Today. Archived from the original on November 28, 2018.
  52. ^ a b c Ozimek, Jane Faye (March 24, 2011). "Apple bashes 'gay cure' app". The Register. Archived from the original on November 17, 2016.
  53. ^ Remafedi, Gary (April 1, 2011). "Why I protested to Apple about the Exodus app". The Guardian. Archived from the original on July 7, 2014.
  54. ^ Gettlemen, Jeffrey (3 January 2010). "Americans' Role Seen in Uganda Anti-Gay Push". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 10, 2012.
  55. ^ Kwon, Lillian (March 26, 2010). "Exodus Leaders Issue Statement Against Uganda's Anti-Gay Bill". The Christian Post. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]