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Alan Chambers Addresses Developments In Uganda

Jim Burroway

April 20th, 2009
April 19, 2009 edition of Uganda's Red Pepper (Names and faces obscured by Box Turtle Bulletin. Click to enlarge).

April 19, 2009 edition of Uganda

Late yesterday, I posted about the latest disturbing developments in Uganda as the tabloid Red Pepper published a full-page article publicly outing forty LGBT Ugandans. I also wondered aloud what it would take for Exodus President Alan Chambers to finally address the events in Uganda.

Today, Exodus International President Alan Chambers addressed the situation in Uganda with this statement on his personal blog:

A recent hullabaloo over a conference in Uganda has had me thinking and praying about some things. The conference centered on a conservative, presumably Christian, response to gay issues in that country. In Uganda, homosexual behavior is punishable by imprisonment and there is talk of stiffening the penalties. Several American gay activists and even some conservative Christians have raised a ruckus about the event and rightfully so. Uganda’s policies seem reprehensible. Publicly exposing or arresting gay-identified men and women for homosexual behavior or forcing them to undergo therapy is a true violation of free will and a compassionless transgression.

Chambers’ statement departs from Uganda to provide a broader context of past Christian failures toward the LGBT community. He lauded the gay community for having stepped up to the plate to do the hard work that should have been the work of the church, particularly contrasting the LGBT community’s response to the AIDS crisis with the reaction of Christian leaders. He also wonders aloud “what things in California might be like if the Church had spent the $39 million dollars they raised for Proposition 8 to show the love of Christ to the gay community.”

In the final paragraph, Chambers returns to Uganda:

Confession is good for the soul, they say. There’s a reason for that. So, to my fellow Christians in Uganda, California and elsewhere around the world, my suggestion as you engage in social dialogue over this issue is this: pray, confess your own sins and remember where you were before God found you. And to the gay community: it is my great hope that we as a Christian church will give you no more reasons to justifiably doubt God’s love for you. I am sorry for the times when I have contributed to that.

Chambers covers a lot of ground in this confession. It can mark a great first step, but the statement alone remains insufficient. It was action that sparked the latest events in Uganda, and it will take action on Exodus’ part to address what Exodus board member Don Schmierer helped wrought.

This statement and others like it need to get into the hands of Uganda’s media, much like Warren Throckmorton’s statement a month ago. The typical Ugandan, after all, isn’t likely to be a regular reader of Chambers’ blog. In fact, they are less likely to have reliable Internet access at all, hence the importance of following Throckmorton’s example and going to Uganda’s media directly.

It’s too early to know whether Chambers’ statement will remain an exercise in absolving his conscience or if it signals a resolve to try to set right what has been broken. My cynical side says it’s the former, but my inner cynic is wrong at least as often as he’s right. I am hopeful for the latter, but that hope is tempered with the experience of seeing similarly noble sentiments followed by inaction. In either case we will remain watchful.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Comments

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Algy
April 20th, 2009 | LINK

Unfortunately, Jim, I think your inner cynic is right. They’ve realized they’re losing in the United States, but can literally get away with murder in the third world. Exodus has taken away their mask and shown the world exactly what we’ve known about them all along.

We need to be vocal about this. The world needs to know just how reprehensible these bastards are.

Christopher™
April 20th, 2009 | LINK

Jim… you are much, much too kind here. Alan Chambers’ moral fecklessness here is a failure of the highest order.

I posted a response on a previous thread which is a post I placed on Warren Throckmorton’s moderated blog, but it’s more germane to this discussion:

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2009/04/19/10764#comment-38730

I believe THIS is what Alan needs to hear.

Timothy Kincaid
April 20th, 2009 | LINK

I did not see Alan take any personal responsiblity here.

He personally could have stopped Schmierer from going. As I requested that he do in advance.

He personally could have responded to condemn Lively’s efforts. As he was asked to do.

But he still puts this off as just something going on in Uganda for which Christianity as a whole should be careful.

Nope. Sorry, Alan, but though I am a Christian I have no blame in this matter. Unlike you, I fought against the lies, demonization, and violence. I tried to get this whole thing stopped, as you know.

When blood is shed it will not be on my hands. But yours will be dripping.

Regan DuCasse
April 20th, 2009 | LINK

Alan’s response is insufficient because he’s an insufficient person.

You can’t defend that which you reject personally and work communally to eradicate and have rejected. The gay person in the middle is harder pressed to defend themselves, because attention is drawn from them, and the other side has had greater numbers and control.

THAT is what I keep trying to get across to ex gay people.

Sending contradictory messages will result in contradictory messages.

Publicly straddling the fence cuts off circulation to your cojones.

John
April 20th, 2009 | LINK

I see no apology. I see no intent to take any action directed toward the events in Uganda (though at a certain point, you just can’t stop a boulder that you pushed down the mountain).

The very language of this statement is dismissive and hostile. His reference to a “hullabaloo” over the conference and a “ruckus” being raised by gay activists and some Conservatives shows his anger at and contempt for those who are calling him to account. It also shows so clearly that the people who are being victimized in Uganda today as a result of Exodus’ actions mean nothing to him.

He also minimizes his involvement by blaming “Christians” in general for unrelated non-charitable behavior towards various AIDS victims (none of whom, with the one exception of Rock Hudson, contracted HIV through gay sexual activity).

Refering to calls for mob violence against gays and lesbians in a country with a very violent recent history is not a “compassionless transgression.” It is a truely despicable act. There will very likely be blood spilled, and Alan Chambers knew that before the conference started.

He also trots out his familiar Christians on one side and gays as a completely separate group. Another insult to any gay Christians.

Exodus has become a hate group, and Chambers is no better than Lively–that man that he still will not condemn.

Lynn David
April 20th, 2009 | LINK

Warren you should close your last blockquote tag, somehow you missed a “</” at the front.

I didn’t want to comment on Mr Chambers comments until I had read them all on his blog. But I had trouble getting past that first sentence and the rest of that first paragraph has me worried at the start. Phrasing such as:

A recent hullabaloo over a conference in Uganda has had me thinking and praying about some things. The conference centered on a conservative, presumably Christian, response to gay issues in that country. In Uganda, homosexual behavior is punishable by imprisonment and there is talk of stiffening the penalties. Several American gay activists and even some conservative Christians have raised a ruckus about the event and rightfully so.

Maybe I’m nitpicking, but it isn’t the “hullabaloo” that should have gotten Chambers thinking, it should have been the idea of the conference itself. And what is this about a “presumably Christian response?” Chambers’/Exodus’ man Schmierer was there in Uganda supporting whatever response should come from the conference alongside his buddies, Lively and Brundidge. This idea that Chambers might call the conference unChristian just because it may not have the desired effect his Christian heart should hope for is ludicrous.
.
Well I had to go a ways to find something that next applied to the conference in Uganda. Unfortunately, Chambers didn’t recognize it for the mote in his own eye:

I know Proverbs 6:16-19 by heart …the most famous verse listing abominations:
.
“There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

Exodus, through Schmierer was quick to rush into his unrecognized evil with the false witness, Lively, and thus became guilty of stiring up dissension among the people of Uganda. But does Chambers recognize these lapses in conscious behavior by the Exodus board member? No, he’s just happy he can pass it all away at the cross. And then goes into a thing on Prop H8.
.
No, I’m sorry, this is too little, way too late (examination should have occurred before the conference and Dr Throckmorton through this blog even gave them a chance at doing that) and perhaps too self-righteously given. But even so, I am not the one or even among that group who should truly make that determination, they live in Uganda.

grantdale
April 20th, 2009 | LINK

Being identified as an active contributor to hate and misunderstanding — and actively avoiding condemning that hate and misunderstanding even when you have the perfect opportunity — is not a ‘hullabaloo’.

It is scaldingly inhumane neglect.

“Don’t get me wrong.” weeps Alan. For himself.

What he needed to say “I was wrong.”

Instead we got delivered yet another steaming pile of blame-shifting and avoidance of responsibility. Deception is lying, by any measure.

Plainly, to Alan, “confession” is a word as malleable and as meaningless as “change”.

That was an excuse, not an apology. It wasn’t “The Church” that went to Uganda and lit the fires underneath a violent hate campaign… it was Exodus International.

Mike Airhart
April 20th, 2009 | LINK

Alan Chambers has made another unofficial personal statement, out of full public view, that is self-negated with passive verbs and with evasions of his own role in the brewing crisis in Uganda.

Chambers and Exodus continue to stand by board member Don Schmierer in his support of the vigilante campaign. They can adopt no other position and remain in power, because they were warned in advance that the conference would launch such a campaign and they proceeded anyway.

Chambers continues to ensure that Exodus will be perceived in Uganda as officially supportive of vigilantism and forced ex-gay therapy.

Nothing has changed.

William
April 21st, 2009 | LINK

Well, thank you, Mr Chambers, for acknowledging the damage that has been done by Schmierer, Lively et al. at the conference in Uganda – damage in which Exodus has been complicit – and for the abject and heartfelt apology. Thank you, also, for conceding that Uganda’s policies SEEM reprehensible.

But haven’t you been a bit fulsome in calling protests against this anti-gay hate fest (aka social dialogue?) a “hullaballoo”? Would “storm in a teacup” have said it better?

Emproph
April 21st, 2009 | LINK

Reading through these posts was like candy to my brain. You guys articulated my thoughts way better than I could have. It was delicious:

–moral fecklessness…of the highest order
–yours will be dripping
–contradictory messages will result in contradictory messages
–“The very language of this statement is dismissive and hostile.
–a “hullaballoo”? Would “storm in a teacup” have said it better?
–And many more.

My turn.

Alan Chambers: And to the gay community: it is my great hope that we as a Christian church will give you no more reasons to justifiably doubt God’s love for you. I am sorry for the times when I have contributed to that.

And to the monolithic gay community: it is my great hope that we as a Christian church will give you…you precious, precious, diamonds in the rough of eternal worth… no more reasons to justifiably doubt God’s love for you…you amazingly wonderful, wonderful, gay-identified aspects of creation. I am sorry for the times when I, as a saved Christian, must entertain the possibility that I could have contributed to that doubt. And the truth is, I can count with my fingers the many numbers of times it’s crossed my mind.

In Uganda, homosexual behavior is punishable
Publicly exposing or arresting…for homosexual behavior

What a relief. If you’re a celibate gay Ugandan you’re perfectly safe.

About 40 years ago, the gay rights movement … capitalized on … the hypocrisy, apathy, pride, division, laziness, ignorance and un-Christlike attitudes that existed in the Christian church.

40 years ago, the homosexual agenda, manipulated, coerced, cajoled, and downright brainwashed a vulnerable, innocent and fragile apathetic pride dividing un-Christlike lazy hypocritically ignorant Christian church into listening to them.

and believe every word of the Bible is true and infallible.

Pull my finger.

Isn’t it always better to have a campaign for something rather than one that is against? Just my honest questions here.

Well, as long as it’s your “honest” question about campaigning, I’d say just change the words around. Like “I’m for the global unavailability of contraceptives,” or “I’m for the global teaching of creation in science class,” or “I’m for the global absence of homosexual behavior.”

Cinchy.

I unapologetically believe what the Bible says about homosexuality just as much as I believe what it says about every other sin, too.

I knew it! He doesn’t believe what the Bible says about homosexuality.

Ben in Oakland
April 21st, 2009 | LINK

So many things wrong with this statement from AC. but this is the one that caught my eye.

“And to the gay community: it is my great hope that we as a Christian church will give you no more reasons to justifiably doubt God’s love for you. ”

As always, AC, you know exactly what is going on in my monolithic gay head. Though I don’t particularly believe in G, and certainly NOT in your version of G– petty, small-minded, cruel and vicious tyrant that he is– I would never doubt his love, assuming he exists.

What i doubt are your love, your intentions, your theology, and your basic assumption that you know far more aobut G’s relationship with me than I do.

Bruce Garrett
April 21st, 2009 | LINK

Digby tells the following story from time to time, and it’s useful to keep in mind whenever some public figure says or does something completely outrageously stupid in a political campaign and then has to publicly apologize for it…

“In the 1992 election when I was making volunteer calls for Clinton, Mary Matalin made a major gaffe she had to apologize for quite publicly. (Doesn’t matter what it was.) I was riding down in the elevator with a high level political consultant (who didn’t know me from Adam, of course) and I smugly mentioned that Matalin had really stepped in it. He looked at me like I was a moron and said, “she got it out there, didn’t she?”"

That’s how the game is played. Look…the very fact that Scott Lively was participating in that conference would have telegraphed to anyone with a conscience that this event was going to be about inciting passions toward homosexuals and not any kind of loving compassionate outreach. Lively is making a living now it seems, visiting communities who have suffered genocide in their past, and telling them that the bloodshed that took so many of their friends and families and loved ones away was the work of homosexuals. Even a pile of bricks can tell what he’s up to with that, let alone the Exodus boardroom.

They were a party to this. And in the way they’ve been used again and again by the hard right in this country. All those “Change Is Possible” billboards, not in places with large gay populations, but in swing states with same sex marriage amendments on the ballot. …Gays don’t have to be gay…so if bad things happen to them it’s their own fault… Exodus played its part in Uganda. Just like they’ve played it here in America. Lively gave Ugandans a reason to persecute homosexuals, and Exodus gave them an excuse to blame homosexuals for their own persecution.

They played their part. They got it out there. You don’t just stumble unwittingly into a conference on homosexuality in a nation where government and religious leaders are already calling for witch hunts against homosexuals, dispense your standard message that gays don’t have to be gay if they don’t want to be, and then come away from it shocked, shocked, that you helped make the witch hunts happen.

Timothy Kincaid
April 21st, 2009 | LINK

Thank you, Bruce. Very well said.

Harry Feltersnatch
April 21st, 2009 | LINK

If you gay people really want to pay higher taxes under the marraige penalty go for it. I have no idea why you would want this? Then again I dont know or understand why your gay. Not that I really give a crud. You do what you want. But why pay more taxes? You have to file jointly as a married couple, thus you pay more taxes. If that is your end game then have at it. Obama would love that, why do you think he pushes for it? things that make you go hummm….

Ben in Oakland
April 21st, 2009 | LINK

Harry– why do YOU get married if it costs you more?

Timothy Kincaid
April 21st, 2009 | LINK

Let’s keep this about Uganda rather than Harry’s misunderstanding of the tax code.

SharonB
April 21st, 2009 | LINK

Spot on Bruce, and nicely stated!

John
April 21st, 2009 | LINK

Alan Chambers posted in the comment section of this blogpost: “Thank you all for your encouragement on this. I wrote this over a month ago and tried to get it in a publication (on both sides) to no avail so I ended up posting on my own blog because it was eating me up not to be able to say what I was truly feeling.”

Alan Chambers is of course a self-confessed pathological liar. Now he is trying to further re-write the history of his silence and Exodus’ sponsorship of the Ugandan conference and it’s brutal aftermath.

This man re-confirms again and again at every turn that he has no honor, no honesty, and no morals. I would say “unbelievable!!!” but for Alan Chambers, this is just par for the course.

Timothy Kincaid
April 21st, 2009 | LINK

Alan knows full well that both Box Turtle Bulletin and ExGayWatch would publish any apology that he wants to make about his involvement in the Uganda situation.

I’m sure it would reach most of the “American gay activists and even some conservative Christians have raised a ruckus”. Assuming, of course, that was his goal.

Zeke
April 21st, 2009 | LINK

Am I experiencing deja vue or has he not already offered a mea culpa a couple of years ago where he confessed his sins against the “homosexual” community and talked about how Christians have to “be more more loving and supportive of gay people in order to bring them to Christ”?

Didn’t he do a bit of a media tour selling that latest brand of snake oil?

I’m pretty certain he did and we see what followed; more hate, more lies and now, promoting witch hunts in African nations.

I think we can expect him to live up to his latest faux, hat-in-hand “confession”, and promises to do better, just as well

While I was writing a paper, some gay marriage stuff happened. at The Gideonse Bible
April 22nd, 2009 | LINK

[...] gay couples like me and Rob — considering that the anti-gay movement, to which NOM is tied, has encouraged anti-gay violence in Africa — I think that anyone who wasn’t already contemplating taking a tire iron to Jack Twist [...]

kevin
April 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Love how Alan claims to speak for Christianity. Love even more how the hypocrites like Alan and Scott try to seperate LGBT Christians from their faith.

Unfortunately for them, they are losing. The emerging Christian fellowship is accepting of LGBT people and against homo/transphobia.

The only places Exodus can find to spread their self-righteous FILTH are places that are morally and spiritually broken (ie., countries with a history of oppression, mass murders, and dictatorship).

Jesus would be APPALLED that people like Alan were speaking in his name!

Christopher™
April 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Believe it or not, Alan is actually claiming that he and Exodus played no role whatsoever with the conference in Uganda.

http://tinyurl.com/crq9ts

I’ve come to the conclusion that those who are Biblical literalists (which include fundamentalist Christians, but not exclusively) do not look at objective reality the way the rest of us do.

If an objective fact conflicts with their literalist worldview, they simply reinterpret it as something else entirely. If reinterpretation cannot believably eliminate the objective fact, then they deny it exists at all. As a result, any introspective abilities they may possess do not allow for them to question any of their presuppositions about their worldview. In fact, it appears that many literalists are more committed to their presuppositions than they are to the direct commands of Christ himself. As a result, it is the Bible they worship… which makes it nothing more than an idol.

Of course, anything we say in this regard will simply be reinterpreted or disregarded entirely. Those who disagree with Alan are just “liberals” that “don’t take Scripture seriously.” Even though many of us are Evangelicals.

*Sigh*. Wall, meet head.

Strange, True & Religious : Uganda’s strange anti-gay feeding frenzy has pastors accusing rivals of gayness
May 14th, 2009 | LINK

[...] Schmierer’s role at the conference, but Exodus President Alan Chambers later tried to wash his hands of responsibility for it as the repercussions of the conference [...]

Rick Warren-linked Ugandan Pastor Interrogated over “Sodomy” Allegations Against Rival Pastor « Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion
May 20th, 2009 | LINK

[...] role at the conference, but Exodus President Alan Chambers later tried to wash his hands of responsibility for it as the repercussions of the conference [...]

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