Exodus President Responds to David Kato’s Murder
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.