Alan Chambers Clarifies His Remarks to the LA Times

Jim Burroway

June 22nd, 2007

Alan Chambers spoke to AFA’s OneNewsNow to clarify comments he made to the Los Angeles Times, in which he was described as “resenting” the term “ex-gay”. The LA Times reported:

[“Ex-gay” is] too neat, implying a clean break with the past, when he still struggles at times with homosexual temptation. “By no means would we ever say change can be sudden or complete,” Chambers said.

…His personal denunciation of the term “ex-gay” — his organization has yet to follow suit — is just one example of shifting ground in the polarizing debate on homosexuality.

Chambers was strongly rebuked by Stephen Bennett and Peter LaBarbera for violating the ex-gay party line. Alan responds:

A recent Times article characterizes Exodus president Alan Chambers as saying he has never met a successful “ex-gay.” Chambers cautions those words were not his, but those of the writer, Stephanie Simon. Chambers says in the interview, he merely stressed he has never met anyone who has loved the term “ex-gay” — which he contends is difficult to define.

“It’s something that comes across as confusing,” he says. “And while I understand why people have used it over the years — it’s easy to use in a soundbite — to say that someone is primarily described by the behavior that they used to be involved in I think is a disservice to the people who have found freedom from homosexuality.”

And that includes himself, says Chambers. “[R]eally, more accurate labels for me would be, ‘I’m a man. I’m a Christian. I’m a husband. I’m a father. I’m a son.'” Chambers says he is considering whether to ask the newspaper to issue a clarification of his remarks.

This might be read as his backing away somewhat from what the LA Times reported. For one thing, he doesn’t mention his own struggles in this article, struggles that he has been candid about elsewhere. But it’s an important clarification which is largely consistent with what he’s been saying for quite some time, even if it is somewhat incomplete. He also maintains his stance that he “is unwilling to dismiss the idea that ‘there may be a biological or genetically pre-disposing factor’ ” to homosexuality, but adds, “Just because something’s genetic does not make it moral, optimal, or right.”

All of this is a reminder that his recent statements don’t mean he’s abandoning the ex-gay movement (or whatever name the movement chooses to use in the future) to become our ally. And yet, I have a feeling this clarification may not be enough for his more hard line compatriots. In the culture wars unfortunately, there is often no room for middle ground.

Lynn David

June 23rd, 2007

Wow! AFA backed up Alan Chambers. And FotF/CitizenLink hasn’t had much of anything to say except for an article on the Exodus Conference which praised Chambers speaking ability (http://www.citizenlink.org/content/A000004897.cfm).

I wonder if this means that LaBarbara and Bennett are going the way of Cohen…. and don’t even know it yet.

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