Ex-Gay Group’s Canadian Charitable Status Challenged

Jim Burroway

October 10th, 2010

"So, basically, our charity shoves gays head first into boxes of spiders -- but we'll need funding.There is a grassroots campaign led by Slap Upside the Head blogger Mark McIntyre to challenge the charitable status of Toronto-based Exodus Global Alliance, the global arm of the confusingly named American-based and North American-focused Exodus International.

McIntyre got the idea in August after learning that New Zealand’s Charities Commission had denied Exodus Global Alliance charitable status and the tax benefits that go along with it. He noticed that, like New Zealand, Canada’s rules for charitable status calls for providing a “public benefit,” and that the charity’s activities must “be “regarded as valuable by the common understanding of enlightened opinion,” and such value “must be weighed against any harm that may arise from the proposed activity and a net benefit must result.”

Homosexuality is not a disorder recognized by any respected medical or psychological organization, and the American Psychological Association condemned ex-gay therapy as ineffective while noting that some who undergo efforts to change sexual orientation have been harmed by the effort. “I’m pretty sure Revenue Canada — if they knew what Exodus itself is actually doing — they might have an issue with it,” McIntyre says.

Xtra noticed that Exodus Global Alliance might not have been fully forthcoming to Revenue Canada in what their “charity” does:

Exodus Global Alliance’s annual returns to Canada Revenue Agency have never mentioned the group’s main goal: pushing gay people to change their sexuality. In fact, the reports never refer to sexual orientation at all. For 10 years, the reports have described the organization’s mission in 30 words: “Educating and training in dealing with abuse and family issues. Developing ministries to help families and individuals in pain. Teaching church groups, schools and youth. Helping and teaching at conferences.”

Bryan Kliewer, executive director of Exodus Global Alliance, says the word “homosexual” doesn’t appear in the description because there wasn’t enough space. “They provide only a very small field for the kinds of things you can report,” he says.

Exodus described their mission to Revenue Canada in thirty words without using the word gay or homosexual. But they get to exactly what they’re all about on their web site with impressive economy: “Proclaiming that change is possible for the homosexual through the transforming power of Jesus Christ.” Fifteen words.

Revenue Canada spokesman Philippe Brideau told Xtra that revocation of charitable status is a last resort. The agency issues warnings, issues fines and suspensions before revoking charitable status. Brideau wouldn’t comment on this particular case.


October 10th, 2010

It’s only a matter of time before the whole ex-gay movement crumbles.

Timothy Kincaid

October 11th, 2010

McIntyre may have the wrong target. Exodus Global is, as best I can tell, only active in Canada to the extent that it is in the US.

The active ex-gay ministry in Canada is Exodus International, not Exodus Global (which covers the rest of the world).

Jim Burroway

October 11th, 2010

I think the point is that Exodus Global is based in Toronto and thus registered as a Canadian charity.

I don’t beleive that Exodus International is registered in Canada. They just do referrals for callers from there. And the only Canadian referral ministry they have is Living Waters in Manitoba.

I’ve updated the post to indicate the Exodus Global Alliance is based in Toronto.

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