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Exodus Condemns Family “Research” Council For Honoring Anti-Gay Pastor

Jim Burroway

May 29th, 2012

From today’s press release:

Exodus International, the world’s largest Christian ministry helping individuals and families struggling with same sex attraction, denounced the Family Research Council’s choice of pastor Ron Baity to receive its highest pro-family honor, the 2012 Watchman Award.

Baityis on record saying, “gays act worse than maggots,” will make society “more filthy,” and God had an “urban renewal plan for Sodom and Gomorrah.” Baity also compares gay and lesbian people to murderers and says gay marriage is America’s “death warrant.” Baity is founding pastor of Winston-Salem’s Berean Baptist Church and head of the pro-marriage organization, Return America.

“It’s time conservative Christians who claim biblical principles such as loving their enemies and neighbors, and considering the welfare of others first, to speak swiftly and strongly against this type of action,” says Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International.

“For too long we’ve stayed silent and allowed our brothers and sisters to tip that hat toward hate. It’s a terrible witness for Christ, and clear hypocrisy to a watching world.”

Exodus hasn’t had a very close relationship with the Family “Research” Council for quite a while. Exodus has traveled more in Focus On the Family’s circle than FRC’s, and their association with FOTF has been curtailed somewhat after Exodus took over the Love Won Out travelling roadshow conference in 2009. Last fall, there were reports that Exodus would undergo a rebranding exercise in an effort to stave off bankruptcy. The first evidence for that exercise came in January when Exodus president Alan Chambers appeared on a surprise panel of a meeting of the Gay Christian Network and said that “99.9% of them (ex-gays) have not experienced a change in their orientation.”

That provoked a mild rebuke from NARTH. Meanwhile, Exodus removed books on Reparative Therapy,(*) NARTH’s signature form of therapy, from Exodus’s online bookstore. It now appears that Exodus has removed references to NARTH altogether from its web site.

I don’t think we can deny that changes are taking place at Exodus. What’s unclear is how deep those changes go, particularly to member ministries and churches. It’s also unclear how deep these changes are held within Exodus’s leadership. Last February, Exodus board member Mike Goeke wrote an op-ed for the Baptist Press describing why he thought homosexuality was in a special category that made it different from all the other “sins.”

That’s why I had hoped to attend another Love Won Out conference to see what, if any, changes had been made in its messaging. The last time I attended one was in 2007, and I was prepared to go to Albuquerque to attend one that had been scheduled for May. Unfortunately, it was cancelled due to a lack of interest. I had also wanted to try to attend the Exodus Freedom Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota at the end of June, but finances won’t permit it.

So I’m in the same boat as the rest of you, trying to read the tea leaves from afar. And as is the case with tea-leaf reading, the result likely says more about the reader than any message contained in the leaves: Exodus is either making all the changes we’ve hoped they were making, or they are frantically trying to say or do anything to stay alive. I happen to believe the truth actually lies elsewhere — not in the tea leaves, but simply by watching and noting each development as it unfolds. To be sure, Exodus is not becoming a pro-gay or gay-affirming organizaiton. But I think today’s statement condeming the FRC’s honoree does break new ground, if for no other reason than for the fact that Exodus International has strongly criticized a very powerful and influential anti-gay organization. I’m not willing to read anything more into this statement than that. But I’m also not willing to read anything less.

[(*) NOTE: Reparative Therapy is a very specific term which describes just one particular type of therapy out of a large array of therapies aimed at changing sexual orientation. Reparative Therapy derives its name from the theory that gay men become gay because they suffered a “masculine deficit” due to the failure to form a healthy bond with their fathers. That “masculine deficit” sets up a “reparative drive” in the son, wich is defined as the son’s impulse to “repair” that masculine deficit by seeking out relationships with other men. Reparative Therapy depends on this particular theory of male homosexuality, and it is quite rigid on that point. Many ex-gay therapists are not Reparative Therapists, and some are quite emphatic on that point.

This is why we here at BTB do not use the phrase “reparative therapy” as a generic term for sexual orientation change therapies because that usage is incorrect. We only use this term when we are talking about this particular form of therapy intended to address the so-called “reparative drive.”]

Comments

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Pomo
May 29th, 2012 | LINK

Apparently if finances are tight you can stream all 7 of the Exodus general sessions for $99.
http://exodusfreedom.org/overview/streaming/

Its a great move on their part, earning extra money on something they already record for sale later.

Jim Burroway
May 29th, 2012 | LINK

Unfortunately, that doesn’t get you into any of the smaller group workshops. That’s where the real scuttlebut takes place. (And no, there’s no pun intended.)

Charles
May 29th, 2012 | LINK

Good for Exodus. The Family Research Council and Baity can go to _____. You can fill in the blank.

Michael Bussee
May 29th, 2012 | LINK

I commend Alan Chambers for making this statement.

Timothy Kincaid
May 29th, 2012 | LINK

Charles… does that blank include double hockey-sticks?
:)

Timothy Kincaid
May 29th, 2012 | LINK

I echo what Michael said.

Timothy Kincaid
May 29th, 2012 | LINK

Reminder: Family Research Council is Tony Perkins. When Jim said “a very powerful and influential anti-gay organization”, he wasn’t exaggerating.

TampaZeke
May 29th, 2012 | LINK

“Unfortunately, it was cancelled due to a lack of interest.”

Surely that sentence should have had “and fortunately” added after “unfortunately”.

Muscat
May 29th, 2012 | LINK

Well, well, well. Good for them standing up to the FRC.

StraightGrandmother
May 29th, 2012 | LINK

Alan Chambers is to be commended.

chiMaxx
May 30th, 2012 | LINK

Indeed. Alan Chambers is to be commended. his attempts to bring integrity and honesty to at least the public statements of his organization–fitful though it may be–is a credit to him. I still think all ex-gay therapy is a crock, but to the extent they make it about trying to adapt your behavior to a certain set of values without promising any deep-seated change in sexual orientation, and that people know upfront that that is what they are signing up for, they are at least acting with integrity.

Blake
May 30th, 2012 | LINK

I believe you may be misinterpreting Gothe’s op-ed. He’s saying the sin of homosexuality is different not because its in some way worse than other sins but because it is indicative of a cultural shift in the population. Essentially, he’s pointing out the obvious cultural differences between our worldview and an evangelical worldview to an audience (Baptist Press readers) whom are blinded by their privilege.

So from our perspective it appears he’s attacking, but from an evangelical perspective he’s telling them to think outside the box. To:

… educate ourselves. We must listen to stories and to the real-life experiences of people. We must be ready to contextualize our message to the subcultures in our own culture like we do in foreign lands.

Of course he’s misplacing blame: American culture shifted decades ago into Post-Christian & the gay rights movement is just the latest (and from his perspective, most difficult to empathize with) incarnation of that shift. But at least he’s pointing out that the traditional messages that work in other contexts have to be rethought.

That bit about Pride parades still ruffles my feathers, but in re-reading the article in context (ie with the mindset in mind of the audience he’s trying to reach: Baptist Post readers) it becomes possible that he’s using that illustration to point out that this situation is different from an evangelical perspective . So that bit about “gluttony neighborhoods” or “liars bars” is a play on the traditional understanding of gayness in an evangelical context. He’s rehashing failed arguments to illustrate why they have to recognize the cultural differences between our worldviews or they’re never going to understand how to reach us as Christ demands Christians do: with humility and love.

He’s saying that traditional approaches to sin, ie witnessing and condemnation, do not work in the context of confronting homosexuality because of the cultural worldview which is evidenced through open expressions of same-sex love.

Now, of course, from our perspective, there is not the need to confront us because what we are doing is perfectly moral, but they don’t/can’t see that through their straight/Christian/(probably) white privilege.

It’s a flawed commentary, yes. But it is a step in the right direction. He’s on the same highway as Exodus and Chambers, he’s just in a different lane. His fellowship is not about witnessing to us, its about witnessing to our families and friends and trying to preserve an Evangelical-Christian Cultural worldview. What he illustrates is the very model of an anti-gay religious position that I can live with. And we do have to live with these folks. Plus as more people examine our worldview they’ll be more likely to adopt it. Or, at very least, fear us less. He’s arguing for empathy over hate; for love over intolerance.

Also check out his ministry’s positional statement which can be found here under the About CPM tab: http://www.stonegatefellowship.com/www2011/cpm2012.html

Blake
May 30th, 2012 | LINK

Wellllllll that’s Mike Goeke not Gothe. To clarify.

Jarred
May 30th, 2012 | LINK

@Blake: Of course, the bigger mistake there is in assuming that the “evangelical worldview” is as monolithic and uniform as some might claim. There are plenty of evangelicals who don’t share the “traditional view” of homosexuality, for example. Granted, some might claim they’re not “real” evangelicals. But go ahead, tell Tony Campolo that his wife isn’t a “real” evangelical and watch his reaction. My money is on “hysterical laughter.”

Priya Lynn
May 30th, 2012 | LINK

While this is a step in the right direction it doesn’t absolve Exodus of all wrongdoing. Its like an alcoholic who changes from starting binge drinking at 9:00 AM to starting binge drinking at 2:00 PM. Its a significant improvement all right, but exodus remains an unethical and still destructive organization.

Timothy (TRiG)
May 30th, 2012 | LINK

Blake, which op-ed are you talking about? I’m confused.

TRiG.

Timothy (TRiG)
May 30th, 2012 | LINK

Alright. I wasn’t paying attention there. Found it. That was silly of me.

TRiG.

Blake
May 30th, 2012 | LINK

@ Jarred you’re 100% correct. The evangelical worldview is as nuanced as the gay/secularist worldview. But there remains a great deal of difference because the two no matter where you draw examples from the respective spectra.

Part of a secular/gay worldview is respect/tolerance for other worldviews. Part of an evangelical worldview is a certain disdain for other worldviews. This is not meant to pass a value judgment on their worldview; it is just to point out that their worldview starts & stops with their interpretation of John 14:6 (or 3:16). The idea that only through Jesus Christ one is saved is the essence of being an evangelical regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum.

Blake
May 30th, 2012 | LINK

because=between

how i can spend the time to look up the plural of spectrum but still miss the obvious typo… **sigh**

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