Joe Dallas, who heads the Exodus International-affiliated Genesis Counseling in Tustin, California, appeared on The Steve Deace Show on Tuesday, where the topic was the growing acceptance of LGBT people in general and same-sex marriage in particular. Dallas blamed the Internet and its easy access to porn for the rise of “sexual immorality” in the culture. “Where you have high accessibility, you will have more consumer use,” Dallas told Deace (Second hour, 23:16):
Dallas: And that has not only in and of itself been a problem to have it and using porn, but it’s also a gateway to a number of other behaviors because through the Internet, people begin exploring options like hiring a prostitute or consider going to a massage parlor or hooking up anonymously with someone. And because all of that is so accessible now, we absolutely have a higher percentage of people who become literally dependent on these very hyper-stimulating experiences whether its the viewing of pornography or going to a strip club or hiring a prostitute. And that dependency absolutely disrupts many of their lives.
Of course, I certainly don’t think that everyone who is homosexual is sexually addicted and when we’re speaking about same-sex marriage I certainly don’t believe that because someone is attracted to the same sex that means they use pornography or engage in these types of behaviors. Those are really two different issues. But they both do get to the heart of on what we base as a nation our system of sexual ethics, and it seems that that base is shifting.
Beyond porn, Dallas also blamed the media — television, openly gay celebrities, etc — for increasing broader acceptance of LGBT people, and he argued that the increased visibility of LGBT people has meant that more people are “succumbing” to homosexuality. And when that increased visibility is combined with a forty-year movement, “a movement which has built for decades without as much public awareness as we have now, now that momentum has reached a critical mass.” At this point, Deace asked, “where does this end”? (31:11):
Deace: Joe, I wrote a piece for USA Today over the weekend asking, why not polygamy then? Why not polyamory? Why not everything? Why just draw the line here. We’ve got stories at CNN about six year old boys demanding that they’re actually girls and they are transgendered, they get to use the girls’ bathroom, and so we change all of social policy at a public school for a six year old. And where does this end ultimately? What happens to the individuals here that are struggling with their sexuality when we allow public policy to essentially say, “do whatever you want.” What ultimately will be the price they will pay?
Dallas: The individuals will be given a green light to express their desires as they see fit. Some will claim to find deep fulfillment in that, some will form relationships that they report as being very healthy and satisfying, others will find that their lives take directions that they didn’t expect and they’ll be deeply disappointed.
There’s really two ways I look at this: one is theologically and one is socially. Socially I think it will be one more step down the ladder towards a much lower standard of human behavior. Theologically, I think it will be a green light to engage in behaviors that bring the judgment of God. So either one looks pretty dismal to me.
I think that ultimately, this is just as you said: It’s not going to end just at homosexuality. I can’t think of too many logical arguments you can make polygamy if you are in favor of revising our norms to include homosexuality. And in fact, as you know Steve, I believe they call it the polyamorous movement is riding the coat tails of the push for same-sex marriage. And no doubt, if we legitimize same-sex marriage, we will see the legitimization of polygamy as well.
Alan Chambers began changing Exodus International’s direction more than a year ago by acknowledging that “the majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them, have not experienced a change in their orientation.” He repudiated the particular from of conversion therapy known as “reparative therapy,” he swiftly responded with a statement opposing criminalization soon after a board member spoke in Jamaica in support of its anti-gay laws (that board member quickly resigned), he condemned the Family Research Council for honoring a pastor who called gays “worse than maggots” and that God had an “urban renewal plan for Sodom and Gomorrah,” and declined to oppose a California law that bans sexual orientation change efforts for minors. More generally, Exodus has refused to take political positions on hot-button topics, with Chambers recently posting videos saying that Exodus no longer has an official position on same-sex marriage, and encouraging students to cooperate with rather than confront gay-straight alliances in the schools.
Those changes within Exodus has prompted other prominent ex-gay leaders to publicly denounce Exodus’ change in direction, and a number of ministries have left the organization. Many of those ministries have joined up to form a rival organization called the Restored Hope Network. Dallas was a founding member of RHN and was a no-show at Exodus International’s annual conference in St. Paul, MN in 2012 (his wife was there to present a couple of workshops), but he retained his ties to Exodus in an attempt to be a member in good standing with both groups. But with this week’s statements on Deace’s radio program, I don’t see how Dallas’s continued association with Exodus is tenable.