Sentinel Op-Ed on “Day of Truth”

Gabriel Arana

April 16th, 2009

There are opposing editorial pieces in today’s Orlando Sentinel about Exodus’ “Day of Truth.” On the “Day of Truth,” which takes place three days after the Day of Silence, Exodus encourages students to pass out note cards and wear t-shirts declaring the “truth” about homosexuality. They also offer to have a “conversation” about it.

One of the pieces is written by me, the other by Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International. The Sentinel doesn’t let you see opposing op-eds before they are printed, so I’d like to respond here.

Chambers’ tactic is to elicit sympathy for those “tormented by their sexuality”:

I hear from them every day. I hear about the jokes they endure from ignorant and unfeeling friends. I hear about the rejection they fear.

Then, he identifies the source:

I hear about the pressure they feel to identify themselves as gay and how that pressure conflicts with what they believe and know in their hearts.

So people struggling with their identity suffer because they are pressured to identify as gay? When distilled from the column, this sounds ridiculous, and it is. Students are of course mocked for being effeminate, but it’s not because they refuse to come out; it’s because being gay is stigmatized in many places. The real source of all the jokes is anti-gay animus like that espoused by Exodus International. They are making the problem worse, not better.

Here are Chambers’ hopes for the “Day of Truth”:

I hope they will talk about how everyone needs to be empowered with more information, not less. I hope they will talk about every person’s right to determine his own course in life. I hope they will talk about how to show compassion to their gay and lesbian peers. I hope they will talk about the thousands of men and women, like me, who are living beyond the gay life we once thought was our only future. It’s a conversation I wish I could have had back then.

Basically, Chambers thinks homosexuality is a sickness that others aren’t compassionate about. The solution? Send them to ex-gay therapy so they can fix it. The call for “more information” is incredibly disingenuous given that anti-gay groups like Exodus do everything they can to discredit scientific organizations that disagree with their views on homosexuality. This is false compassion; at heart, it’s borne of the prejudiced assumption that being gay is something wrong. Who wants to engage in a conversation about how they are disordered?

Chambers is trying to portray his movement as one that seeks to help people, but the website reveals their real aim: “to counter the homosexual agenda.”

Jason D

April 16th, 2009

I find it curious that when people of faith find conflict between their faith and their sexuality, nobody dares bring up the simple fact that….

Pro-gay and gay-neutral theology exists, even in Christianity. Perhaps rather than spending the next 6 years and untold amounts of money trying to pray away the gay (and likely coming up empty) the more practical solution might be to simply go a few doors down to that Quaker church, or that Unitarian Church, or the MCC, or any of the other congregations that don’t require sexual conformity.

When you present someone with the idea of going completely against their natural sexual expression you are basically asking them to never ever ever experience the completeness, the wholeness, the deep, passionate, exuberant, happiness and joy of a relationship with another human being based on true compatability, not a forced attempt to comply.


April 16th, 2009

Sure, Alan. Let’s have a conversation. Let’s have a conversation about how many gay people commit suicide after going through one of your programs. Or is that not the kind of information you’d like to empower students with?

Emily K

April 16th, 2009

And how would sending straight children who are bullied for being “gay” to ex-gay therapy help them? If people like Chambers, Randy Thomas, and Mike Ensley can come out of therapy looking just as gay as they did when they were “in the lifestyle,” how would that help those who are bullied for those reasons alone?

Lynn David

April 16th, 2009

I’ve got a feeling that this Google advert dogs Chambers when his pieces are put online by the secular presses. It certainly did on this one:

Is your Husband Gay?
Test your Man with this Quiz & See If he is Gay or Having an Affair!

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