Exodus President Responds to David Kato’s Murder

Jim Burroway

January 27th, 2011

Exodus International President Alan Chambers responded to yesterday’s brutal murder of Ugandan LGBT advocate David Kato. In a post to the Exodus Blog this evening, Chambers wrote:

The leadership of Exodus international and its member ministries are grieved over the tragic murder of Ugandan gay activist David Kato and we send our sincerest condolences to his family & friends.

Many know that we have responded to the horrible and truly homophobic public policy being promoted in Uganda.  Public policy that would harshly punish, imprison and possibly execute those who have same-sex attractions and/or identify as gay.  Exodus International, in agreement with many other Christian and gay organizations, have pleaded with the government to show compassion, afford dignity and respect for those who identify as gay.  We are absolutely opposed to the criminalization of homosexuality in any nation.

Exodus International calls on President & Mrs. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to lead their government into an era of treating all of their neighbors as they would like to be treated.  It is abominable that a nation with Christian leadership would endorse or allow anyone to be brutally murdered.  In the words of Jesus Himself, those who are without sin cast the first stone.

Exodus International condemns the murder of David Kato and calls for justice to be fairly applied, not covered up, when the murderers are caught.

Exodus International board member Don Schmierer was one of three American Evangelicals who had conducted an anti-gay conference in Kampala in March 2009. That conference, proudly nicknamed the “nuclear bomb” by Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, marked the start of a massive deterioration in the climate for LGBT people in Uganda which ultimately culminated in the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in that nation’s Parliament the following October. Despite numerous calls for Exodus to denounce the conference and its aftermath, the ex-gay organization continued to defend Schmierer’s participation. Worse, Schmierer’s only public response was to cast himself as the victim, again and again, rather than acknowledging the perilous situation he helped to set up.

One month after the introduction of the draconian anti-gay legislation, Exodus posted a public letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. That letter contained a plea to “consider the influence this law will have” on ex-gay organizations operating in Uganda. There was however little  mention of the influence this law would have on gay people themselves.

Finally in March 2010, more than a year after that fateful conference, the Exodus International board of directors got it right. That’s when they issued their statement condemning the anti-gay bill. “Exodus International has not and will not support any legislation that deprives others of life and dignity including, but not limited to, Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009.” While the statement was a strong denunciation of the bill, it appeared to stop just short of condemning criminalization of homosexuality generally. Later that summer, Alan Chambers followed that statement with another personal note on the Exodus blog expressing his regret for not taking seriously the warnings that several people (including BTB’s Timothy Kincaid) sent him privately in advance of the conference. He also detailed several other failures in how he and Exodus handled the fallout. Chamber’s statement then culminated in the announcement of a landmark policy statement placing Exodus on record, for the first time in its history, as opposing the criminalization of homosexuality “as conducted by consensual adults in private.”

Chambers’s statement today builds on last year’s moves. Now, if only Schmierer were capable of displaying one tenth as much courage.

justsearching

January 28th, 2011

“In the words of Jesus Himself, [let] those who are without sin cast the first stone.”

I’m glad he didn’t forget to reiterate his position that David was living a life of sin. Definitely a crucial point to remember now that he’s dead.

jcrr

January 28th, 2011

I don’t think you should be praising as “courageous” an organization that exploits and damages weak people for profit. Let’s stop legitimizing this industry, please.

Timothy Kincaid

January 28th, 2011

Alan,

Very appropriate response. I’m glad you were proactive on this and that you are not equivocal in your position.

beachewtoy75

January 28th, 2011

Actually…

I hate this condescending letter.

Exodus is a Christian organization. Execution of homosexuals is EXACTLY what the Christian faith calls for.

He should grow a pair and admit this, like a true Christian.

Of course they can’t do that, because that would be bad PR and they would get called out as being the homophobes that they are.

Jim Burroway

January 28th, 2011

Really beachewtoy75?

Have the Anglicans called for execution of homosexuals?

Has the United Church of Christ called for the execution of homosexuals?

Has the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America called for the execution of homosexuals?

What about Bishop Senyonjo?

It’s fair to criticize Chambers’s letter if you think its condescending. It would be nice to point out the ways you think it’s condescending. But blanket statements like yours are just as bad as blanket statements coming from fundamentalists themselves. In terms of your “truthiness”, there is no difference whatsoever.

justsearching

January 29th, 2011

I have three problems with Alan’s letter. I want to know what he means when he says that Exodus “has pleaded with the government to show compassion, afford dignity and respect for those who identify as gay.”
Has Exodus publicized how they have tried to go about petitioning the government of Uganda? We know that Exodus ignored prior warnings, kept silent for some months about the conferences in Uganda, and I doubt that Exodus is anywhere near the forefront of the pressure on Uganda to act sanely.

Alan states that “it is abominable that a nation with Christian leadership would endorse or allow anyone to be brutally murdered.” Alan Chambers is imposing his definition of what it means to be a Christian on to the Ugandans. Jim rightly points out that many American Christian Churches are either supportive or ambivalent on gay issues and almost none are as draconian as those in Uganda. But as the Christian pastor at Kato’s funeral made clear, part of being Christian in Uganda seems to include being openly homophobic.

Lastly, I’d reiterate that his second-to-last sentence in the letter is poorly chosen. “In the words of Jesus Himself, [let] those who are without sin cast the first stone.” In that story, according to the OT the woman caught in the adultery did in fact deserve to die by stoning. However, Jesus demonstrated that those present weren’t qualified to execute her because they too had sin. In other words, Chamber is saying that living a gay lifestyle is a sin worthy of death, but you and I aren’t the ones to pass judgment on those who are guilty.

Alan’s PR is pretty good, but I think he can do better.

JorgeC

January 29th, 2011

Alan’s letter has ZERO credibility. How can any rational person accept his sugarcoated statements at face value when his very organization had a hand in what is happening in Uganda and its very existence is based on the premise that same sex orientation is something that needs fixing.

David Kato’s blood, and the blood of others, is on your hands, Alan. Woe unto you on the day that you face your Judge.

Patrick Fitzgerald

January 29th, 2011

Alan Chambers: We are absolutely opposed to the criminalization of homosexuality in any nation.

Vacuous tripe. Leviticus 20:13 is used 3 times on this one page alone:

“If a man lies with a male as with a woman … they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”

According to the Exodus website, David Kato had it coming.

I take Chambers’ response as an egregious attempt to hide the ugly truth of his organization’s malicious agenda.

That site is a throne of anti-gay slander.

Timothy Kincaid

January 30th, 2011

Patrick,

You speak of slander, but it is you who are engaging in that practice.

The subtleties of theology can be difficult, but we should still make an effort to understand what others believe. Simply noting that they reference a scripture does not give us carte blanche to declare what is their interpretation of that scipture or what they mean by it.

As Exodus CLEARLY stated in referencing Leviticus, they believe that this is an indication of “God’s disapproval of homosexual behavior.”

That you personally have a different interpretation of scripture does not hold that they must agree with you. And extrapolating from your personal literalistic interpretation to claim that Exodus believe that “David Kato had it coming” is the sort of mindless hate-speech that is unbecoming in either anti-gay or anti-ex-gay rhetoric.

justsearching

January 30th, 2011

@ Timothy- you’re right that Exodus’s quoting of Leviticus does not mean they think gays should be executed. But you won’t/can’t deny that the parallels Alan drew to the woman caught in adultery demonstrate that, in response to news of Kato’s death, Alan does precisely the same thing (though in a much more subtle indirect way) that that idiot pastor at Kato’s funeral did: remind us that Kato was living a sinful lifestyle.

Patrick Fitzgerald

January 30th, 2011

And extrapolating from your personal literalistic interpretation to claim that Exodus believe that “David Kato had it coming” is the sort of mindless hate-speech that is unbecoming in either anti-gay or anti-ex-gay rhetoric.

Okey dokey.

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