FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Fight Against The Fraudulent “Ex-Gay” Industry, However, Is Far From Over, Says TWO’s Wayne Besen
Oklahoma City, Okla. — Truth Wins Out applauded Alan Chambers and his board for unanimously voting to shut down Exodus International, historically one of the most influential organizations perpetuating the fraud of “ex-gay” reparative therapy. The announcement came hours after Chambers issued an extensive apology to the LGBTQ community, for the pain and suffering Exodus and its affiliated organizations have inflicted upon LGBTQ people and their families over the course of their thirty-seven year history.
“We applaud and congratulate Alan Chambers for his willingness to approach this decision with honesty, integrity and authenticity,” said Truth Wins Out’s Associate Director Evan Hurst. “It takes a real man to publicly confront the people whose lives were destroyed by his organization’s work, and to take real, concrete action to begin to repair that damage, and to work to ensure that no more lives are destroyed by harmful, discredited ‘ex-gay’ therapy. We look forward to a day when we can truly consider Alan to be an ally.”
Chambers explained their decision in a press release on the Exodus website:
“Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism,” said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus. “For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.”
Chambers continued: “From a Judeo-Christian perspective, gay, straight or otherwise, we’re all prodigal sons and daughters. Exodus International is the prodigal’s older brother, trying to impose its will on God’s promises, and make judgments on who’s worthy of His Kingdom. God is calling us to be the Father – to welcome everyone, to love unhindered.”
For these reasons, the Board of Directors unanimously voted to close Exodus International and begin a separate ministry. “This is a new season of ministry, to a new generation,” said Chambers. “Our goals are to reduce fear, and come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities.”
Exodus International has come under fire over the last couple of years, starting with Chambers’ admission at the 2012 Gay Christian Network conference that ninety-nine percent of the people he had met during his tenure had not experienced any change in their sexual orientation. Over the last year, it has been clear that the organization has been moderating its message, removing links and references to so-called “reparative therapy” from its website. Recently, Exodus announced that it was leaving the Exodus Global Alliance, an international organization that it founded, as it moved away from its “pray away the gay” mission.
However, the fight to put a stop to these harmful “therapeutic” practices is far from over. In response to Exodus’s movements of late, hardcore fundamentalist “ex-gay” figures have moved to create their own new group, the Restored Hope Network, which is chaired by Anne Paulk, the estranged wife of John Paulk, the former poster-boy for the “ex-gay” movement who now admits that he is an openly gay man. Restored Hope’s co-founder, Andrew Comiskey, has claimed that “Satan delights in homosexual perversion,” which shows that this new group is committed to doing as much as or more damage than Exodus ever did.
The Restored Hope Network is holding a concurrent conference in Oklahoma today and tomorrow, and Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen traveled there for a joint event with the Cimarron Alliance to counter the harmful, fraudulent message of the newly formed fundamentalist group.
According to Besen, “While we are overjoyed to see Alan Chambers and the board of Exodus do the right thing by closing their doors, there is still far more work to do to put an end to the awful practice of ‘ex-gay’ reparative therapy. As we’ve seen with the recent formation of the Restored Hope Network, there are still enough charlatans and hucksters out there committed to pushing their discredited worldview, at the expense of LGBTQ people and their families, to keep us busy. We must remain vigilant in exposing and countering the terrible, damaging work of people like Anne Paulk and Andrew Comiskey, until the day we can safely say that no LGBTQ adult or youth runs the risk of being driven into depression or suicide by the false gods of ‘Pray Away The Gay.’”
Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit organization that fights anti-LGBT extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.