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Exodus President Wants To Apologize for Ugandan Conference. So What’s Holding Him Back?

Jim Burroway

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).

Alan ChambersExodus 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.

Comments

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Christopher™
March 10th, 2010 | LINK

I know I sound like a broken record, but…

Alan Chambers is utterly amoral.

A while back, I thought his behavior was due to the fact that he had no backbone and was a milquetoast when it came to doing the right thing.

I don’t think that way about Alan anymore. He is a deeply dysfunctional individual who is incapable of acting in the best interests of anyone but himself. I honestly believe he can no longer tell the difference between good and evil.

Mike Airhart
March 10th, 2010 | LINK

As you probably can guess, I believe Alan’s offer of a hypothetical apology was just his usual bait-and-switch tactic.

There was no apology. The board and Schmierer remain unapologetic. And there is no accountability at Exodus.

A year ago, BTB, TWO, and XGW called upon the Exodus board to fire Chambers and Schmierer if in fact these leaders’ actions to harm the people of Uganda did not represent deliberate Exodus policy.

No one was fired — or even reprimanded. The board never issued a formal objection to the Uganda crisis, nor to Exodus’ role in it, nor to criminalization and forced ex-gay therapy. All we have heard are informal, transitory soundbites from Chambers, none of which are binding. Soundbites that vary according to the target audience and are mutually contradictory.

AJD
March 10th, 2010 | LINK

I’m on the East Coast and saw the broadcast at 11:35. I’m really glad to see this getting out to a mainstream audience finally.

That being said, it was extremely disturbing to see the rage among homophobes there, with one guy literally screaming. It was very hard not to see another Rwanda in the works.

John
March 10th, 2010 | LINK

Alan Chambers can tell the difference between good and bad publicity.

His behavior throughout this horrible nightmare has consistently demonstrated that he has far greater concern about facing bad publicity in the mainstream press than for the men and women in Uganda who would suffer and die under this bill that Exodus helped to bring forward.

Alan’s current statements against the bill are finally on the side of good, but unfortunately what propelled him to his current position had nothing to do with right and wrong.

Michael Bussee
March 10th, 2010 | LINK

Indeed. What’s stopping him? What’s stopping the Exodus board? What’s stopping Don Schmierer? Remember, he’s the one who said:

“What is true, however, and worth all the news media coverage possible, is the tragic nature of and heartbreaking potential this bill holds.”

Do it now Alan. Do it now Don. Do it NOW Exodus. No more delays. No more excuses. You owe it to Uganda.

penguinsaur
March 10th, 2010 | LINK

Why would EXODUS apologize? They supported a conference that led to gay people being jailed and murdered. People don’t usually apologize when they get exactly what they wanted.

Though I’m sure they’ll put out plenty of ass-saving statement where they talk about how awful this bill is and how they wish they could stop it *but won’t spend a dollar or move a finger to do so* and how deeply they care for the poor people ‘struggling with same sex attractions’ *actual quote from their blog post. Gotta be as clinical and dehumanizing as possible, they don’t want anyone thinking homosexuality isn’t a disease* in Uganda. No apologies though.

grantdale
March 10th, 2010 | LINK

To answer the headline: because he’s a gutless wonder, and wouldn’t even know how to lie straight in bed.

There will be no unequivocal apology until Don permits one to be made. That much seems obvious to me. Alan can safely claim a wish to have been interviewed now that he knows he will not be.

One doesn’t need to think very hard about what sort of statements Alan would have made IF he had been interviewed.

As you’ve mentioned Jim, what we have got from Exodus over the entire year are:

1) “Exodus International said it applauds its board member Don Schmierer, who attended the Uganda conference”. Now he claims Exodus wants to “apologize for going anywhere near such a horrible conference”.

Well, go on Alan: apologise. Claiming you want to apologise, but not actually doing so, is meaningless weaselling.

2) a letter sent to the President of Uganda that opposed criminalisation because “church and ministry leaders will be unable to assist hurting men, women and youth” and that “this legislation would make this mission a difficult if not impossible task to carry out.”

No mention of the cruel violation of basic human rights and the dignity of people… no, it was all about Exodus.

3) a rare few of the same type of “I would like to apologise, but actually won’t” statements on informal blogs etc.

Compare and contrast with the reams of comments made against hate-crime statutes by Exodus. They even have an official press release on the subject. A press release that includes the vile “Sexual preference and gender play a role in other crimes such as rape, child abuse and domestic violence.”

That’s right… when left to their own devices, Exodus itself cannot but help slip in one of the very falsehoods that is driving the legislation in Uganda and the hateful attitudes behind it.

Exodus may doubt your sincerity Jim, but nobody need doubt theirs.

Lindoro Almaviva
March 11th, 2010 | LINK

Do you really think he wants to apologize for his part on getting this mess started or is his apology for getting his name caught? Really, what is he apologizing for? Sorry I did it or sorry I got caught?

Fact is that he came to this with his eyes wide open, he knew the environment amounted to a mob ready to be roused into a murderous stampede.

Fact is that his behavior, up until (figuratively) last week was that of inaction. Why? because the media was still ignoring the story and thus he had no reason to apologize because as far as the American public he had done nothing, never left the country and was never involved in the issue.

Fact is that now that his “good name” is been stained with mud and possibly blood he can not run fast enough to the first micriphone to issue an apology, now that he is finding the all the microphones are off, now he is trying to create an aura of victimhood around him: I wanna apologize but the media will not let me

Fact is that just as anyone else, he has had plenty of time and resources to get a true and heartfelt apology for getting caught, but the problem is that he can not be seen apologizing.

and so here it lies the issue:

* he really does not want to apologize, but now that his hands have been caught in this mess, now he is afraid and is desperate to issue a half-assed apology.

* His half-assed apology is only for publicity purposes. if not, he would have granted an interview anywhere and to anyone who would have listen to him; but the fact is that he will only apologize when the right people are listening.

* Since the “right people’ are not passing the mic, he is claiming fowl play by the media, so he gets to be seen as the poor soul who didn’t know what he was doing.

This all reeks of a dead rat.

David Farrell
March 11th, 2010 | LINK

Since Scott Lively feels that the Christians in Uganda are so much better than the Christians in America maybe we could start a fund to send him a one way ticket to Uganda.

I know, we could have an online telethon.
I’ll contribute.

Michael Bussee
March 11th, 2010 | LINK

Lindoro, could not have said it better myself. At first, I was a bit encouraged. Alan Chambers and Randy Thomas joined the Facebook group to oppose the Bill. Then the letter to the Ugandan President — and a promise from Alab Chambers that Exodus’ efforts to oppose the Bill “would not stop at the bill”. Then Schmierer saying it deserved “all the media attention” it coud get.

Then NOTHING for months and months — just the sounds of crickets chirping. Now he says he would “love nothing better” than to express Exodus’s “disdain” and to “apologize.” There are lots of other microphones available if he and the Board of Exodus were serious about this.

Now he is playing victim — that “we would really like to but ABC News won’t let us.” Why doesn’t he call Rachel Maddow and ask for the chance — if he truly would “love nothing better”? Exodus can sure find the ways and means to express itself when it really wants to.

Paul in Canada
March 11th, 2010 | LINK

He and Exodus, shouldn’t be apologizing, they should be asking for forgiveness, from God, the Ugandan government and from the LGBTQ communities around the world, for breaking the ‘great commandment’ and everything that is sacred in Christianity.

Regan DuCasse
March 11th, 2010 | LINK

Folks, I can’t express anything better than the sentiments here.
I have, all along felt that anyone who is ex gay, is disqualified from defending gay people on ANY level.

Even if they are of the mind that gay people deserve civil and human rights (that’s supposed to go WITHOUT SAYING), but the existence of avowed ex gays cancels out sincerity and example.

You can’t defend what you don’t accept for YOURSELF. It’s a contradiction in terms and therefore neutralizes influence on what are the most strongly held beliefs regarding homosexuality.

It’s one of the world’s if not THE world’s longest hatreds. And the longest EXPECTATION is that gay people can, should, must change if they are to even live, let alone live free.

Chambers, et al…have been playing with dangerous forces, while avoiding risks. There are none so unworthy of trust, than someone who refuses to understand the risks involved, while at the same time maintaining as safe a distance as possible from the consequences of what they do.

And ex gay person, very much by default, would be difficult, if not impossible to trust. ESPECIALLY those engaged in political action against gays and lesbians in areas fertile for catching uncontrollable fire.

Ex gay status, is of itself a part of a de facto holocaust. A manner of making gay people disappear and not exist. To engage in furthering that long time agenda, isn’t a sincere wish to bring more gay people to Jesus and Christianity, but seemingly the more civilized way in achieving the same goal.
And in believing in that civilized form of a final solution to the ‘being gay problem’, Chambers and co can believe themselves absolved from participating in bringing harm to gays and lesbians anywhere and everywhere.

I’ve tried, many times, to tell the ex gays who will engage in a conversation that they create their own weakness to defend their position OR that of gay people because nearly every challenge to equality and freedom for gay people has been contingent on arguing that gay people can change.
That is the deal breaker on nearly every level of law making or interpretation, the issue of choosing to be gay ALWAYS comes up.

So the stakes in which ex gays have ENTITLED themselves to referee, leave gay people with the burden of having to argue and argue over their legitimate existence, let alone the freedom to MAINTAIN it.

And it’s this burden of proof, laid at the feet of gay people that ex gays are responsible for and refuse to own.

They don’t own any of the consequences of what they do because to be ex gay on the level WE know ex gays, you’d have to be a weak PERSON to begin with.
There is no courage in avoiding life AS a gay person. It’s an indicator that you couldn’t CUT it as a gay person. It’s a matter of trading that CONDITION, for STATUS.
Living heterosexually, or EXSEXUALLY, brings one status and support with no challenges that being gay does.
It’s unburdening yourself of your lack of character and making gay people carry it FOR you instead and pay a heavy price you’re unwilling to share, if even acknowledge.

I’m not a gay person, I don’t know if what I’m saying is articulated well or not or if you all understand me.

But I’ve been through phases where I hated being a woman, or black because of the abuses and prejudice and so on I’m confronted with because of it. Sometimes even because I’m not religious. So ‘unwanted’ aspects that pertain to my characteristics, can be laid at the feet of social standards that are impossible and cruel.

I’ve known plenty of blacks who have developed strange emotional problems and reject other black people and if they had the power to, would work in socio/political ways against anything that would advance black integration.

So what ex gays are trying to reject and not involve themselves with, happens to OTHER minorities too.

I suppose that’s why I empathize with gays and lesbians so much, and know EXACTLY what ex gays like Alan Chambers are doing.
There is absolutely NOTHING strong, or compassionate about him. But everything self serving and self righteous.
I expect NOTHING of influence WHERE IT MATTERS to come from ANY ex gay person. They might as well not bother, because their credibility to do anything that would help and support gay people NEVER EXISTED.

There is no point in waiting for them to do what’s right. They don’t have the stuff it takes in them in the first place.

JoeBro
March 11th, 2010 | LINK

A bit self-righteous aren’t we Michael. Maybe Chambers and Exodus are going to wait five or ten more years while people suffer, before they decide to do the right thing.

Isn’t that how you did it?

Lindoro Almaviva
March 11th, 2010 | LINK

Reaga: Well said

Lindoro Almaviva
March 11th, 2010 | LINK

and by the way, all that botox and plastic surgery and he calls himself straight?

Michael Bussee
March 11th, 2010 | LINK

Not self-righteous. Ashamed. I have already apologized for that more times and in more ways than I can count — and I will keep on doing it. Alan hasn’t.

And neither have ANY of the OTHER founders, past presdidents, board members or current leaders in the 30+ years since I left. I am the only one so far — so you’re the one sounding self-righteous, right now, JoeBro.

In case he really wants to do what he says he “would love more than anything” to do, he could START by contacting Rachel Maddow. I think she might give him the chance.

http://www.facebook.com/therachelmaddowshow

John Ozed
March 11th, 2010 | LINK

Cowards. That’s all they are.

anteros
March 14th, 2010 | LINK

Wanna know what’s stopping him? It’s all in his superlative tone… screaming insincerity. He won’t do it, because he does not want to do it and never did. But of course, it wouldn’t look good if he remained totally silent. Perhaps sparing us the insincerity and opting for silence would have been smarter.

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