Well. This was unexpected.
The board of directors of Exodus International, the world’s largest ministry claiming to be able to “cure homosexuality” and turn gay men towards a “heterosexual lifestyle”, announced the ministry is shutting down.
Writing on the official website, Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus International, publicly apologized to the gay community saying he is “deeply sorry [...] for the pain and hurt” caused to so many by his ministry’s practices.
You can read the apology in its entirety by clicking on the link above. This is a far cry from the standard non-apology apologies you get from politicians and religious figures where they express regret “if anyone was offended”, putting the blame for whatever controversy had been started firmly on the shoulders of those who they feel over-reacted. This is, as far as I can tell, what you would write if you genuinely stood back and confronted the horrific reality that you’ve spent years of your life causing pain and misery because you adopted a set of beliefs that rendered you blind to mercy, empathy and compassion.
Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.
He later emphasizes that while his beliefs regarding sex may not be undergoing as much of an evolution as his means of engaging the homosexual community, he promises to hold a far greater respect for the reality that some people aren’t going to share his point of view. By acknowledging a “pluralistic culture” and expressing a desire to spread “peace and good”, it’s my hope that this means he’s making a sincere transition from the Michelle Bachmann / Rick Warren Christian to the Bob Ross / Mr. Rogers variety.
It might also help the reconciliation process if he were to spend a significant percentage of time in his new career to speak out against the pseudoscience of gay reparative therapy, with emphasis on the fact that there is no evidence to support the notion that homosexuality is a choice, but rather something we are born with. Putting an end to a program that is based not on science but fear and ignorance wrapped inside of a bible should be his first priority, and would probably go a long way to ameliorate the psychological harm done to the victims of Exodus International’s “therapy sessions.”