Ex-Gay Group Warns: Change Or Die

Jim Burroway

December 6th, 2011

Phillip Lee, of Bakersfield's His Way Out Ministries

It has been reported recently that Exodus International president Alan Chambers is trying to save his organization from financial ruin by rebranding itself with some sort of a softer, kinder image. An Exodus member ministry in Bakersfield, California, however appears to have taken the opposite tack. Pastor Phillip Lee, executive director of His Way Out Ministries at Chester Avenue Community Church penned an op-ed in Sunday’s Bakersfield Californian that looks like it came straight out of 1985. The upshot is this: everyone has a choice to either become straight or die of AIDS:

While AIDS is not solely a homosexual disease, the disease was confined almost exclusively to homosexuals in the beginning years of the epidemic in the United States. I personally witnessed this horrific tragedy unfold while living in San Francisco, having several personal friends die of AIDS at the beginning stages of what is now a pandemic. Tragically, the reality and threat of AIDS has not stopped men from engaging in unprotected sex and the continued risk-taking by many does not appear to result from a lack of awareness.

There is, therefore, little to no evidence that homosexual practice can be anything other than a severe threat to the sanctity of life. That said, all efforts should and must continue to better understand and find a cure for AIDS and AIDS-related diseases. However, if the sexual behavior that is fundamental to most homosexual practice constitutes the primary means of transmitting such disease, then it only makes sense for society to do all it can to decrease such behavior, which ultimately protects the sanctity of life.

I guess gay and bisexual women are off the hook. But what Lee fails to understand is that AIDS is the result of unprotected sex — whether that sex is gay or straight. It is not the product of being gay. If it were, AIDS wouldn’t be a predominantly heterosexual disease worldwide. But there’s no sense in grounding an ex-gay message in reality when the entire ex-gay movement is predicated on training people to ignore their own reality and embark on an lifelong struggle to try to achieve what does not come naturally to them. Stigmatizing people with AIDS is no small thing for people who have still have to deal with routine ignorance, but as far as Exodus-affiliated His Way Out Ministries is concerned, that stigma is just another tool in its toolbox.

This tactic is beyond merely deplorable. It is an outrageous throwback to the hysteria of twenty years ago. If Chambers really wants to rebrand his organization’s image, he really has his work cut out for him among his own affiliates.


December 6th, 2011

For the record, before I say anything else, Mr. Lee’s arguments are loathesome. To disapprove of them on the basis of facts is to misunderstand them. He’s not uninformed factually. He’s making a theological case.

His argument is based on “sanctity of life” theology, the same basis for the anti-abortion movement. Any sexual practice that does not have the potential of resulting in an unborn child should be “decreased.” If pressed, this man would oppose the use of any form of contraception, too. Two men having sex cannot become pregnant and, therefore, are not “sanctifying life.” At least lesbian or bisexual women have the potential of becoming pregnant, so they are not attacked.

Perhaps one way for Exodus and similar groups to rebrand is to tie themselves to “sanctity of life” arguments. “Don’t you really WANT to be a father, the natural way, by impregnating a woman yourself, and having the honor of bringing a child to life?” There’s money in the anti-abortion movement.

I wonder when they will try to make condoms available only by prescription.

Priya Lynn

December 6th, 2011

“But what Lee fails to understand is that AIDS is the result of unprotected sex — whether that sex is gay or straight. It is not the product of being gay.”.

I find it so exasperating that the anti-gays still perpetuate this lie and I think they must know its a lie.

Timothy Kincaid

December 6th, 2011

Alan, step one: disavow this clown and disassociate his “ministry”. Your ongoing willingness to tolerate this sort of vileness is a sin against my community.


December 6th, 2011

“But what Lee fails to understand is that AIDS is the result of unprotected sex — whether that sex is gay or straight. It is not the product of being gay.”

Mr. Lee believes in a beneficent, loving God Who does not allow evil to befall His chosen ones. If (when!) evil does befall them, the cause is insufficient piety, because only then would God lift His loving hand.

It’s not an error of logic; it’s a condition of worldview.

Richard Rush

December 6th, 2011

Because AIDS is “a predominantly heterosexual disease worldwide,” I’m wondering if people in any areas are campaigning to stamp out heterosexuality – you know, the way U.S. anti-gays use AIDS to help justify their campaign against homosexuality.

And on a related note, isn’t it interesting how God has allowed medical science to rapidly develop drugs so that HIV, a relatively recent discovery, is no longer a death sentence, whereas many diseases that have been around much longer, and affect the general population everywhere, are still death sentences after many more years of research.

I agree with the Christianists that GOD is the Gay Obsessed Deity, but what they don’t realize is that His obsession is with finally improving our lives. The more the Christianists cry out to God in desperation, the more we keep winning.


December 6th, 2011

God wanted us to have AIDS, otherwise he wouldn’t have made chimpanzees so tasty. If you want to blame anyone for AIDS, start with the butchers of the bush meat markets of central Africa.

Personally, I think the blame game is a waste of time and the anti-gay Christianists are only using it as a cover for their own prejudices. They should just be honest and state the obvious…they don’t like people fucking unless they’re married and making a baby. The same applies to their anti-abortion stance. They couldn’t care less for the life of an infant(witness their support of cuts to all forms of family assistance, health care and education), they just don’t want people having sex for fun.


December 6th, 2011

The organization should die rather than continue to pay people to keep telling lies. Alan Chambers is probably to lazy to get an honest job, or incompetent to make his current salary in an honest job.

Timothy Kincaid

December 6th, 2011


Exactly. If we use Lee’s logic, you could say that God noticed gay folks a few decades ago, bopped to a disco beat for a decade, and then remembered that he was supposed to smite these people. But after the smiting, He missed them. So he blessed them with highly effective medication to ease the smite, and political support to reach for equality, and declared them to be the arbiters of fashion and taste on his favorite means of communicating his will, television.

And he’s getting annoyed at those nutty folk who are opposing his new favorite tribe. He keeps throwing scandals in their way, but they keep babbling on. Maybe he’ll have to pull out the lightning bolts.

Richard Rush

December 6th, 2011

Imagine, another guy with an anti-gay ministry: Phillip Lee is just one more dumb ASS (American Sanctimonious Simpleton)

And by the way, that photo of him set of my gaydar alarm.

Ben In Oakland

December 6th, 2011

As we used to say in the ’70’s, when mustasches on castro clones were all the rage:

You know why gay men have mustasches?


December 6th, 2011

Ignorance and the closet killed your supposed friends, you tool: The very same crap you continue to sling.


December 6th, 2011

Bakersfield is where mother nature breaks wind. Take it from a fourth generation Californian, I know…


December 6th, 2011

This guy is so deep in the closet he has a Narnian passport…


December 6th, 2011

I was in the 4th grade in the early 80’s when I first became aware of AIDS. I understood it as something that grew out of gay sex. By 6th grade I knew better… this guy should as well.


December 7th, 2011

“But what Lee fails to understand is that AIDS is the result of unprotected sex — whether that sex is gay or straight. It is not the product of being gay.”

He understands it perfectly well. He doesn’t care — factual accuracy would get in the way of his ideology.

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