Ministry apologizes for damage to gays
By The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, June 20, 2013, 9:39 p.m.
The leader of Exodus International, a Christian ministry that worked to help people repress same-sex attraction, has apologized to the gay community for inflicting “years of undue suffering.” He plans to close the organization while beginning a new effort to promote reconciliation.
“The church has waged the culture war, and it's time to put the weapons down,” Alan Chambers said on Thursday, hours after announcing his decision at Exodus' annual conference and posting his apology online.
“While there has been so much good at Exodus, there has also been bad,” Chambers said at the conference. “We've hurt people.”
Based in Orlando, Fla., Exodus was founded 37 years ago and claimed 260 member ministries around the U.S. and abroad. It offered to help conflicted Christians rid themselves of unwanted homosexual inclinations through counseling and prayer, infuriating gay rights activists in the process.
Exodus has had its influence wane in recent years as mainstream associations representing psychiatrists and psychologists rejected its approach. However, the idea that gays could be “converted” to heterosexuality through prayer persists among some evangelicals and fundamentalists.
The announcement that Exodus would close was not a total surprise. Last year, Chambers — who is married to a woman but has spoken openly about his own sexual attraction to men — said he was trying to distance his ministry from the idea that gays' sexual orientation can be permanently changed or “cured.”
In his statement on Thursday, Chambers said the board had decided to close Exodus and form a new ministry, which he referred to as reducefear.org.
He told the AP that the new initiative would seek to promote dialogue among those who've been on opposite sides in the debate over gay rights.
“We want to see bridges built; we want peace to be at the forefront of anything we do in the future,” he said.
Gay rights activists welcomed Chambers' apology, while reiterating their belief that Exodus had caused great damage.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- California man named as bitcoin creator denies involvement
- El Nino could bring relief to U.S.
- Health marketplace targets not signing up, survey shows
- Former National Security Agency contractor Snowden’s leaks to cost billions, take years to fix
- Tenn. homicide suspect shot mom in 2004
- Sex-crimes prosecutor accused in groping
- ‘Drug czar’ cleared to lead Border Patrol
- ‘Senior officers should not do that,’ Army leader says in pleading guilty to misconduct charges
- Shuster plans oversight for DUI program
- Crisis stymies Obama getaway
- Ads tell Colo. pot users to keep off roads