Exodus ministry closes with apology to gays

Exodus, an international Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, has closed down with an apology from its president for inflicting “years of undue suffering” on the gay community.

Founded in 1976 by a gay man, Frank Worthen, Exodus functioned as a support group for men and women who were struggling with their sexual orientation. Early on it embraced the idea that gays and lesbians could become straight through prayer and counseling.

But the belief in “reparative therapy was one of the things that led to the downfall of this organisation”, said its president, Alan Chambers.

He noted that Exodus in recent years had redirected its focus to helping men and women work through their sexual identity.

“I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatised parents,” Chambers said in the apology.

Chambers, who is married to his wife, Leslie, said his core beliefs about sexuality have not changed, and admitted he still wrestles with his own same-sex attraction.

“My beliefs about sex and sexuality and sexual expression are that God created, his original created intent was sexual expression between one man and one woman for one lifetime in the bonds of marriage, and that is the truth I live by,” he said.

“But I do believe so many of us who hold to those scriptural beliefs … have wielded them as a sword so often. We’ve been involved in a culture war that really, literally, has claimed untold lives, and we’ve got to be more careful.”

The decision to close was announced at Exodus’ annual conference, where Chambers said the board had decided to form a new ministry, to be called reducefear.org.

Chambers said there were many influences on his personal decision. Among them, he said, was the interfaith work overseas of the Christian relief group World Vision, which he praised for its co-operation with Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist groups to aid at-risk children.


Washington Post

Religion News Service

Christian Post

Image: Christianity Today

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