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Exodus International opposes criminalization of homosexuality

Timothy Kincaid

June 8th, 2010

The situation in Uganda which started with a conference in March of 2009, and led to a legislative effort to enact harsh penalties on gay persons (including death) and the restrictions of civil rights for all Ugandans, has had some positive consequences. It has engendered an international discussion about human rights, it has illustrated the work which continues to be required in much of the world, and it has caused many in the Christian community to question their beliefs and positions.

Some, such as Scott Lively, were revealed as supporters of a culture of imprisonment and death. There have always been those who operate from a sphere of deep hatred towards gay people. And for too long their rhetoric was not perceived as too radical or too extreme to be outside of acceptable Christian thought. For some, this situation revealed their heart.

And others found themselves, for perhaps the first time, speaking out in the defense of gay people. Some religious leaders were embarrassed that they were associated with the bill and the blind hatred in Uganda’s religious rhetoric and took steps to denounce the bill and disassociate themselves from the bias. I am hopeful that they have learned a lesson and will be careful in the future about lending their name and voice to those who act out of hate.

And there were those, like Exodus International, the ex-gay ministries umbrella group, who were made aware that anti-gay activism has real consequences and that “loving the homosexual” has responsibilities that extend beyond trying to “call him to redemption.” Although they claim to “challenge those who respond to homosexuals with ignorance and fear”, for a very long time this “challenge” has been nearly nonexistent and I think that Exodus and its leadership have been awakened to the inadequacy of their response.

It has taken them a very long time to get there, but rather than criticize the trip I want to praise the destination. Exodus has now stated a policy position on the criminalization of homosexuality.

Criminalization of Homosexuality

Exodus International opposes the criminalization of homosexual behavior as conducted by consensual adults in private. We strongly oppose the imprisonment, mistreatment, or death of homosexual men and women on the basis of their perceived or known sexual orientation. These actions breed cultural violence and institutionalized shame, neither of which reflect God’s redemptive heart.

Comments

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Ben in Oakland
June 8th, 2010 | LINK

What’s sad?

That we have to congratulate them on behaving like moral people.

What”s really sad?

That it took them this long to get there.

anteros
June 8th, 2010 | LINK

what a pleasant surprise.

Lindoro Almaviva
June 8th, 2010 | LINK


rather than criticize the trip I want to praise the destination

I’ll work against type and will join the congratulations to Exodus for realizing that there is more to Love than meets the eye and ear.

TampaZeke
June 8th, 2010 | LINK

Did he actually use the term “sexual orientation”?

I thought Exodus claims that there is no such thing as a homosexual “sexual orientation”. That homosexual describes a “behavior” rather than an orientation.

Does this mean that they are moving in the right direction on this issue too?

Timothy Kincaid
June 8th, 2010 | LINK

Zeke,

good question.

I think that perhaps Alan may slowly be coming around to the point where he accepts some of the common language. Or at least I hope so.

Michael Bussee
June 8th, 2010 | LINK

Keen obsercvation, Zeke! I totally mised that.

John in the Bay Area
June 8th, 2010 | LINK

Many years after Lawrence v Texas, Exodus finally decides to join the rest of the country on this point that is really no longer up for debate in any state. Perhaps next, they’ll agree that women should have the right to own property.

Richard Rush
June 8th, 2010 | LINK

John in the Bay Area said, “Many years after Lawrence v Texas, Exodus finally decides to join the rest of the country on this point that is really no longer up for debate in any state.”

It’s certainly no longer up for any legitimate debate, but otherwise I’m not so sure. I seem to recall several times in recent years (including very recently) some people claiming that sodomy is illegal. I assume they are from states that still had sodomy laws when Lawrence v. Texas overturned them, and that those states may still have them on the books. Maybe they are dreaming that L.v.T. will be overturned one day.

I don’t have any web pages to cite. Nor do I have time to look for any.

Lynn David
June 8th, 2010 | LINK

Well…. I meant to put this statement here.

It’s just a little too bad that Uganda and her gay citizens had to be the proving ground for this statement by Exodus. It seems that Lawrence v. Texas would have been the trigger for such a statement. But it was then that Randy Thomas wrote in Exodus news:

After much reflection and more research it does appear that if the Supreme court overturns this case it could be a watershed event in redefining the family. Therefore, in the realm of public dialog, the possibility of overturning the laws deserves opposition from those of us who want to defend our beliefs as they pertain to Biblical models of relationships. Of course it is up to the reader on how to make their views known.

And in support of that position Thomas provided a link to an FRC article about their brief supporting criminalization. The FRC claimed:

The law has historically respected and protected the marital union and has distinguished it from acts outside that union, such as fornication, adultery and sodomy. To extend homosexual sodomy the same protections given to the marital union would undermine the definition of marriage and could lead to homosexual marriage.
.
In order to recognize a non-textual Constitutional right to sodomy, the Court must find sodomy to be deeply rooted in the nation’s history and tradition. In fact, laws banning sodomy are deeply rooted in our nation’s history and tradition.
.
Protecting marriage, upholding morality, and seeking to ensure public health is more than enough for Texas to prove it has a “rational basis” behind its law. Homosexual sodomy is the number one vehicle for the transmission in America of the HIV virus, and given all the ramifications HIV/AIDS has on public health, Texas is surely justified is seeking to curtail its continued progression.

What has changed in the intervening seven years? Certainly not the Christian religion.

Lynn David
June 8th, 2010 | LINK

This is Randy Thomas’ answer to me concerning my similar post on the Exodus blog:

When I first mentioned this in the Spotlights last year, I wrote that I was concerned about Christians picking up this battle without remembering the human side of those they oppose. The concern was that the war of words would get in the way of presenting the gospel and respecting individuals dignity. After much reflection and more research it does appear that if the Supreme court overturns this case it could be a watershed event in redefining the family. Therefore, in the realm of public dialog, the possibility of overturning the laws deserves opposition from those of us who want to defend our beliefs as they pertain to Biblical models of relationships. Of course it is up to the reader on how to make their views known.

The above is full context of the quote from 4/1/2003. The bolded part is what was left out of Lynn’s quote in the above comment.

I quite frequently state that there are some things I have said in the past (along public policy lines), that I wished I had not. The conjecture about the case above is one of them. My opinion on Lawrence v. Texas changed a long time ago. I am glad the court struck it down. I apologize for not following up when my opinion did indeed change.

I will remove the article or combine it into an updated blog-post… Probably the latter. Thanks for the reminder… I had forgotten about that. Reading the quote from the FRC link upsets me too. Rest assured, that is no where near where I am at today or even five or six of the past seven years.

But I do uphold what I said about everyone deserving dignity and respect.

I left off the first part of his paragraph as it simply did not appear to have any bearing on his final conclusion to support the Texas law.

Lynn David
June 8th, 2010 | LINK

And this is the link to that post:
http://blog.exodusinternational.org/2010/06/08/statement-from-alan-chambers-president-of-exodus-international-on-the-criminalization-of-homosexuality-2009-uganda-conference-and-beyond/comment-page-1/#comment-22981

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