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Charisma Republishes 2004 Culture War Article by Alan Chambers

Jim Burroway

July 20th, 2012

Five years ago when Exodus International was on the front lines of the culture war, I travelled to the Family Impact Summit in Tampa Florida where I heard, among many other things, Exodus president Alan Chambers give a talk on the homosexual agenda, which he described as an “evil agenda.” The talk, as I recall, was a classic one, one that many others gave in other venues, claiming that Marshall Kirk’s and Erastes Pill’s 1987 article “The Overhauling of Straight America” was a blueprint for gays taking over America, more or less. It was a talk which, if I recall, is very similar to this article which appeared on Charisma Magazine’s web site earlier this morning.

Similar, I say, but not identical. While the Charismapiece does not include the “evil agenda” phrase, it is nevertheless more incendiary than what I remember from that conference. But more to the point, its tone and message runs completely counter to anything we’ve seen from Exodus over the past few years and more specifically in the past eight months. With one minor exception from a relatively unkown workshop speaker, I heard very little of what would be characterized as anything close to being “culture war” rhetoric at the Exodus conference in St. Paul, and none of that came from Chambers. I’m trying to find out what the story is behind this piece suddenly being prominently featured on the front page of Charisma website. I’ll let you know what I find out as soon as I hear anything definitive.

Update: This piece was originally published by Charisma magazine in October, 2004. It’s unclear why it is showing up on Charisma’s website with today’s date and featured prominently on the front page. I’m still looking into it. I’ve updated the headline to this post accordingly (it used to read “Charisma Publishes Culture War Article by Alan Chambers”)

Update: David Roberts at Ex-Gay Watch also notices that the article first appeared in Charisma in 2004. I share his suspicion:

I do wonder why Charisma has republished it today, however. Is someone at the conservative Christian publication trying to sabotage him by bringing up his past words?

Update: BTB commentertristram notices:

If the article was originally published in 2004, it has been edited or updated by someone. It states “Six states, plus Washington, D.C., have legalized same-sex marriage . . . . ” That was certainly not the case in 2004.

That rules out any sort of technical glitch at Charisma.

Update: I just got off the phone with a nice lady at Charisma who didn’t want to give her name. She did say that they had gotten a couple of calls about the article and were “looking into it.” She also appeared to be aware that the 2004 article had been updated to include the status of marriage equality in “six states, plus Washington, D.C.” since 2004. She only said they were “looking into that also.”

Update:Alan Chambers has responded: I am on the beach, literally, with my family enjoying the dog days of summer. I have no idea why Charisma decided to reach so deep, edit and republish an 8 year old article that I am embarrassed that I ever wrote. Our PR team has asked them to remove the article and not to repost it. When I am back in town I will contact them, as well.

Update:And it’s down, with narry an explanation as to what happened. It seems to me that what happened at Charismawas very deliberate. If they had simply re-published, unaltered, an eight year old commentary, they might have been able to explain it away by citing some kind of a technical glitch or errlr. Not that such an explanation would be believable, but it would have an air of deniability about it. But as we know, that 2004 article was updated with information that wasn’t true in 2004 — that six states and Washington, D.C. now provide marriage equality. Which means that this article’s revision and appearance was deliberate. There is simply no other way to read this. Charisma owes everyone, but especially its readers and Alan Chambers an explanation. A very detailed, thorough, and unequivocal explanation. Something very sinister and underhanded happened at Charisma. That we know. What we don’t know is what Charisma will do to address it.

Comments

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TampaZeke
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

If this pronouncement is current then those of us who said we needed to take more of a wait and see approach to Exodus’ new PR campaign are vindicated. This statement is OUTRAGEOUS and every bit as hateful, harmful and nasty as ANYTHING that Exodus has said or done in the past.

tristram
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

If the article was originally published in 2004, it has been edited or updated by someone. It states “Six states, plus Washington, D.C., have legalized same-sex marriage . . . . ” That was certainly not the case in 2004.

Michael Bussee
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

I have written to Alan and have called Charisma magazine to ask them to explain.

Alan should go back over the article and explain –point by point — why he said those things in 2004 and whether or not he still believes them now.

Then he should write it all up as a new article and send it to Charisma — with a request that they issue an apology and retraction and print his NEW article.

Michael Bussee
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

Tristam makes an excellent observation. Is someone embellishing Alan’s original rant against the “subversive gay agenda”?

Lindoro Almaviva
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

You know, i feel bad for Alan; he is in a no win situation (and some will argue, correctly, of his own doing)

1. Gay prople have been at the receiving end of his misguided (I’m being generous) word for so long that we are willing to belueve anything bad that is saud about him. It is almost a knee jerk reaction.

2. He has alienated the people who user him for their benefit the most. Thanks to them and his willingness to be used as a pawn, he has created a brand and a living. Now that he is signaling a move away from those attitudes and those people, they are turning on him like a group of sharks turn on a defensless wale calf.

I think that what Alan needs the most right now is exactly what he cannot get almost anywhere: the benefit of the doubt and an open hand.

I think we might need to come to grips with the fact that 1. We were used by this website to hurt Alan and maybe bully him into coming back to the fold (see? We told you thise gays hated you and would attack you at tbe first acailable chance) 2. This might be the moment of Alan’s greatest need and we might need to eat our pride and come to his defense, whether he deserves it ir not.

Ben In Oakland
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

You can send me a nickel. I believe it was the humble I that brought it to dave’s attention.

The biggest quesiton is the one that’s asked: why this article, and why now?

Jim Burroway
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

Update: I just got off the phone with a nice lady at Charisma who didn’t want to give her name. She did say that they had gotten a couple of calls about the article and were “looking into it.” She also appeared to be aware that the 2004 article had been updated to include the status of marriage equality in “six states, plus Washington, D.C.” since 2004. She only said they were “looking into that also.”

Jim Burroway
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

Ben In Oakland

That is certainly the question of the hour.

Michael Bussee
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

Lindoro suggested: “This might be the moment of Alan’s greatest need and we might need to eat our pride and come to his defense, whether he deserves it ir not.”

Alan can defend himself. He can call and write to this magazine and demand that they print a retraction. He once clearly believed these things. He wrote the original article. If he has changed since then, he needs to spell out why he once believed these things — and why he no longer does.

I don’t imagine Alan is happy about this coming out right now, but it’s part of the burden of leadership to deal with these things. I look forward to Alan’s response…

Stephen
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

Seems to have been taken down. Links don’t work and it doesn’t appear on Charisma’s ‘front page’.

Timothy Kincaid
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

Stephen, Alan insisted it be removed.

Michael, I think he most definitely will be contacting Charisma

Michael Bussee
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

This just in from Alan: “Charisma Mag edited an 8 year old article I wrote and republished it as if I’d written it in 2012. I have asked them to remove the post and they have complied. Sorry for this confusion.”

I’m glad he took action, but I don’t think it’s enough to say, “Sorry for this confusion.” I think he needs to say, “Sorry I ever wrote it. Here’s how my thinking has changed since then.” Then ask Charisma to print it.

Fg68at
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

One CMS sytem works with the creation date, the other with the update date. To edit single facts (except typos) in an old article is not a good thing.

johnson
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

I’d wager Nicolosi had something to do with it. He’s mighty pissed at Chambers right now. And as anyone familiar with him knows, he has major anger issues.

TampaZeke
July 20th, 2012 | LINK

Wow, Chambers is getting a taste of how dishonest and vile the ex-gay industry can be. An industry that he lead for a very long time. When it’s all said and done he’ll probably find more compassion and acceptance with the people he worked so long and so hard to destroy (even if he didn’t see it that way) than from the people he’s been in bed with for the last 25+ years.

Gene in L.A.
July 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Nicolosi having something to do with this makes too much sense not to have at least an element of truth. As someone who became aware of him and his machinations when I worked at The Advocate in the early 90s, this sort of sabotage is just what I’d expect.

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