USA Today had a fairly good piece this morning by Thomas Krattenmaker. He opined that the LGBT rights movement has won and the Religious Right should back off before they humiliate themselves in the history books and give Christianity a black eye.
You get the sense, observing the shifting cultural landscape, that we’ve reached a point on gay rights that is similar to that moment in a football game, or an election, or a relationship, when you know it’s over even though it’s not over. It appears increasingly obvious that social acceptance of gay men and lesbians and insistence on their equal rights are inexorable.
Unfortunately, he botched one minor point in his article. Krattenmaker used Exodus International as an example of how some groups are moderating their tone. This, however, is not true of this “ex-gay” organization, which continues to employ some of the nastiest, homophobic rhetoric in the anti-gay industry. The author selectively highlights a quote from an Exodus press release where the organization explains why it is dropping its Day of Truth program, which gave succor to bullies in schools.
“We need to equip kids to live out biblical tolerance and grace,” Exodus President Alan Chambers explained, “while treating their neighbors as they’d like to be treated, whether we agree with them or not.”
What Krattenmaker and other journalists must understand about Exodus is that the group is expert at double-talk and semantic games. Exodus backed away from the Day of Truth for PR reasons after a spate of gay teen suicides. The writer overlooked a heinous video posted to Exodus blog’ that POST DATED this seemingly innocuous press release. In the video, Alan Chambers said that gay relationships are a “counterfeit”, will “make your heart sick” and “disappoint you”. Does such rhetoric really signal a new tone for Exodus? Judge for yourself:
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Here is a video of Exodus’ TV show Pure Passion — showcasing the red meat Exodus regularly delivers to fundamentalist audiences when they know journalists like Krattenmaker aren’t looking.
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Clearly, Krattenmaker did a disservice by pointing to Exodus as a voice of reason and moderation. The truth is, Exodus speaks out of both sides of its mouth, depending on its audience. The writer clearly got duped.
That said, we commend Krattenmaker for his overall article. He got the big picture right and had his pulse on what is happening. But the one error in his piece allows Exodus to present itself in a false light that belies the group’s actual work.
The next opportunity for journalistic malpractice is on the Oprah Winfrey Network with the “Our America” series. Lisa Ling will be profiling Alan Chambers and his wife Leslie.
The “ex-gay” episode is set to premier on March 8 at 10PM. We weren’t contacted by Ling, so I’m unpersuaded that she is truly committed to knowing the facts surrounding Exodus. We hope to be pleasantly surprised, (and that very well could happen) because the last thing we need is another shallow puff-piece on Exodus, that distorts reality and softens the cruel, surreal world of this organization.
Truth Wins Out contacted GLAAD about this show and we hope they get to preview it to make sure it is not yet another infomercial that unwittingly promotes consumer fraud disguised as a legitimate ministry.
We are watching very closely and Truth Wins Out is still here if Ling wants to learn more about these groups before this segment hits the airwaves.
The media used to do its homework and tried to tell the real story. Now it is often he said/she said stories that take the lazy route — which fails to portray reality. If a journalist does not tell what is actually going on because they trade accuracy for access — has he or she done her job?
(Journalists who want to capture the true essence of “ex-gay” groups should read THIS STORY by the Dallas Voice)
Again, let’s hope for the best and prepare to take immediate action against the worst.