Exodus President Wants To Apologize for Ugandan Conference. So What’s Holding Him Back?
March 10th, 2010
As I write this about now, ABC’s Nightline, which is slated to cover the current anti-gay situation in Uganda, is just about to wrap up its broadcast on the east coast. I still have to wait another hour before I can see it, so I don’t know what the report will look like. But if the shorter segment shown on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer earlier this evening is any indication, it should be a good one.
Among the clips shown in the shorter evening broadcast were interviews with Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa (who comes off looking like a buffoon — no surprise!), and video clips of the March 2009 conference put on by the three American anti-gay activists: Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively (who reiterated that he was very proud of his “nuclear bomb”), Exodus International board member Don Schmierer (who refused to be available for an interview or make a statement) and International Healing Foundation’s Caleb Brundidge (who was also nowhere to be found).
Exodus International president Alan Chambers has already responded, in a comment left on Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton’s web site:
I am disappointed that Exodus won’t be heard in this piece. Sadly, Don Schmierer declined the interview and our request to go on record with ABC was denied. I would have loved nothing better than to share our disdain for this bill and apologize for going anywhere near such a horrible conference.
If Chambers is sincere that he really does want to apologize on behalf of Exodus, then it is lamentable that ABC decided not to include his statement on their broadcast. An apology would be a very welcome — and I think newsworthy — development. But what’s stopping Exodus from issuing that apology that they know in their hearts is the right thing to do?
As we’ve discussed before, BTB’s Timothy Kincaid tried in vain to warn Chambers personally about the conference before it took place, but those warnings went unheeded. We also know that Ex-Gay Watch’s David Roberts had also contacted Chambers personally, as did Warren Throckmorton. But those please to contact Schmierer at the posh Triangle Hotel in downtown Kampala — they have faxes, Internet, and telephones like any other world-class hotel — went unheeded.
Instead, we got self-congratulatory sanctimony in the weeks following that fateful conference, when they were still proud of Schmierer’s performance. (By the way, people have been arrested in Uganda since then; we’re still waiting for Exodus VP Randy Thomas to book his flight to “plead for their freedom.”)
Back when the media hadn’t quite awaken to the unfolding tragedy in Uganda and BTB was one of the few outlets refusing to allow the story to go unnoticed, Exodus wrote us off as “American militant gay activists” making a bunch of “North American noise.” Now that mainstream television is highlighting the conference in prime time, Alan feels moved to make an apology. Odd, isn’t it?
But darn, now that he wants to apologize, there isn’t an ABC camera around to broadcast it. Oh well, I guess that means he can’t apologize now.
Seriously, if Exodus were to issue such a policy, BTB would be happy to do its part to get the world out. I’m no Diane Sawyer (Shut up, guys!), but I think we now have the world’s attention finally. I know that Exodus doubts my sincerity, but all I ever wanted was for them to respond responsibly to the mess they helped to create by their action and inaction. There is no better time than right now to make amends. Don’t tell me you you’re holding out for Diane Sawyer to do the right thing.