Exodus President Alan Chambers, Exodus Executive Vice President Randy Thomas, and disgraced evangelical Ted Haggard all claim two things in common: An egocentric evangelical faith, and the notion that molestation at an early age caused them to “battle with homosexuality.”
In an article written for the religious-rightist publication WorldNetDaily, Chambers declared today that “there are some important lessons that the church can learn from Ted Haggard.” Chambers applies his own egocentrism to a disingenuous commingling of sexual orientation with sexual trauma, resulting in an article that intentionally misinforms readers about gay people’s lives, values, and religious beliefs. Readers are expected to illogically believe that, because Chambers is an amoral victim of sexual trauma, all gay people are just like (or anything like) Alan Chambers.
Chambers surmises, “For every gay activist that shouts in the parades, I’m willing to bet that there’s someone in our congregations who painfully struggles with homosexuality, but is afraid to reach out for help. I know because I was that person.”
With this statement, Chambers stereotypes participants in gay pride events, insinuating that anyone who attends a gay pride event — parents, children, choirs, country square-dancers, rollerbladers, music-lovers, and foodies — is a stereotypical, lockstep “gay activist.” He also stereotypes people who are born with a strong predisposition to same-gender sexual orientation, falsely insinuating that — because he, Thomas, and Haggard say so — real gay people share Chambers’ own lonely, lust-plagued “gay life” that is incompatible with religious faith.
Chambers praises freedom-from-sexuality as a virtue:
While there is freedom through the power of Christ….
and then Chambers complains:
… the sad truth remains that there is still something terribly wrong in many of our congregations, something that all of the marriage protection laws and constitutional amendments cannot fix. Many of our churches are not safe places for us to be vulnerable and seek help and so many continue to suffer in silence.
Exodus is not a solution to the antigay violence and unchecked fear that plague churches: It is a cause.
All too often and all too loudly, Exodus defends murder, rape, and battery as religious “free speech” rights. Randy Thomas routinely opposes all efforts to punish hate crimes in which the victim is targeted for one’s perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, going so far as to accuse antiviolence advocates of being thought police. Meanwhile, he and Chambers offer no concrete objections to existing hate-crime laws that punish violence which targets people for their religion or ethnicity. Exodus joins with religious-rightist allies in promoting paranoia and self-pity over non-existent threats to Christian free speech, while each year hundreds of people are brutally and deliberately murdered — and thousands more are beaten and injured — because of their orientation or gender variance.
Exodus promotes the myth that gay people are promiscuous, unhappy, lonely, faithless and amoral. Instead of discussing sexuality, orientation, and mental health honestly, Exodus leaders project their own unhappiness, loneliness, childhood traumas, self-denial, and past or present sexual compulsions onto the gay population. The natural result is a marginalization of gay people within their churches, as Exodus misinforms churchgoers about gay congregants’ “struggles.” Another result is family breakup, as misinformed relatives stigmatize their gay family members.
Given Exodus’ role in making churches unsafe, it’s sad but unsurprising that Chambers’ article offers no concrete solutions to readers — except to place their blind trust not only in Exodus and its psychobabble, but also in convicted (and largely impenitent) Watergate criminal Chuck Colson, who has made a second career out of scapegoating society’s bogeymen for his own sins while curtailing religious freedom and respect toward Jewish and other non-evangelical prisoners.