Exodus President opposes “It Gets Better” campaign
Jim Burroway and I both independently responded to Alan Chambers' criticism of the Google Chrome It Gets Better ad. While we share the same view, our commentaries come from slightly different perspectives and are both presented here.
May 5th, 2011
What kind of person would oppose a campaign to combat suicide among gay kids? At what point does one become to opposed to “the homosexual agenda” that they object to telling a kid that the despair they are feeling at that moment will pass, that the oppression they are experiencing will end, that it gets better?
Sadly, there are those with whom we share the planet who are so invested in Culture War and in “us v. them” mentality that they lose sight altogether of the humanity of those with whom they disagree.
This occurs on both sides.
When gay people cannot see religious people in any terms other than “haters” or “Nazis” or when conservatives see gay people only as hedonistic and “enemies of the family”, it justifies any mistreatment that they wish to dole out. Those who differ are no longer people to be persuaded but are instead dehumanized creatures which are deserving of misery, pain, and death. One need no longer keep the instinct to do evil at bay, but can unleash all of one’s inner demons of insecurity and anger and contempt and hatred and care nothing about the consequences. They deserve it.
But usually kids are off limits. Even when throwing intolerance and hate at the “intolerant haters” on the other side, few would go so far as to seek to harm children.
So it shocked me that Alan Chambers, the president of the ex-gay umbrella group Exodus International, would condemn the It Gets Better ad aired by Google Chrome on Tuesday’s episode of GLEE. This program’s goal is clear: discourage suicide, give a message of hope, tell kids to stay alive until it gets better.
But Chambers opposes this campaign, and especially Disney’s lending of Woody to give a message of support (Christian Post):
“Children all over the world, including my two children are fans of ‘Toy Story’ and to see a character like that endorsing something that at this point children have no need to know about, it’s disappointing,” he told The Christian Post.
Chambers, who overcame homosexuality and is now a father of two, suspects that if the commercial airs while he and his children are watching a show and “if they happen to see that and ask questions and if they get the full understanding of what the commercial is actually about, we will have to have the conversation. It’s not something I plan to talk to my kids, 5 and 6, about.”
But it isn’t just Woody’s image that has upset Alan. He disagrees with Woody’s message.
Alan Chambers doesn’t want gay kids to know that it gets better. He doesn’t want them to be aware that Anne Hathaway and President Obama and, yes, Woody all think that they are fine just as they are. He wants them to believe that if they accept themselves and love themselves as gay people then it doesn’t get better; it gets worse.
For organizations like Exodus International, which has thousands of men and women like me who have lived a gay life, it obviously didn’t get better living a gay life for them.
Alan’s message to bullied teens is this: the bullies are right. You are broken and unless you follow the dictates of my beliefs then you will be miserable “living a gay life”. The only way for it to get better is to join Exodus and live a life of struggle and celibacy and eternal hoping for the miraculous.
I was hopeful when Exodus dropped the “Day of Truth”, their school based program for condemning gay students. Alan recognized that this program encouraged and endorsed bullying and – at that time – resolved not to contribute to the problem.
I’m saddened that his resolve seems to have disappeared.