A new website brings a fresh look to Exodus International, and XGW took a fresh look at their Frequently Asked Questions to check on what their official positions are concerning several topics, including political and civil topics.
1. They refuse to talk about a success rate for sexual orientation change.
When asked, they redirect the question so that the one actually posed never gets answered – and that’s the one we want answered: whether people can successfully change from homosexual to heterosexual.
Let’s rephrase that question. Is there realistic hope that men and women who experience same-sex attraction can overcome those temptations and lead a life of sexual integrity? Can they reasonably expect a time when same-sex attraction will no longer dominate their existence, determine their behavior, or define their identity? The answer to those questions is yes!
They eagerly emphasize that behavior can change. You can go from being a creature with a sexual appetite to one that is sexless. You can be celibate. But nobody, gay or straight, seriously denies that you can do any of these things. The question people really want to know is “can someone change their core sexual orientation from gay to straight?” And they refuse to provide an answer.
2. You cannot be gay and Christian – the two are incompatible.
No, you’re not supposed to judge others, and you are not to presume you know the heart of another human being as intimately as, for example, God would – but that doesn’t mean you can’t question it, to yourself, out loud, within their earshot.
if someone actively pursues homosexual involvement and refuses to acknowledge this behavior as sin, it’s valid to humbly question whether his or her commitment to Christ – and especially to growth in holiness – is genuine.
It’s not enough to let it go as yet another schism; “pro-gay theology” must be “refuted.”
That’s why it’s critical to understand, confront and refute so-called “pro-gay theology,” which alleges that Scripture has been mistranslated and misinterpreted when it comes to the issue of homosexuality.
Exodus knows the correct way to read the Bible concerning the topic of homosexuality. It is unequivocal for them.
The Bible is very clear about its condemnation of homosexual conduct. Both the Old and New Testaments speak with one voice on this subject. In spite of the publicity given to pro-gay theologians in recent years, serious and consistent exegetical study still allows no other interpretation.
Exodus gives an unusually direct answer to the question “Did God intend some people to be homosexual?”
The short answer is “No!”
Although they try to backtrack a bit afterwards with the “long answer,” it’s clear that “no” means “no.”
3. They still cling to the “gay gene” canard, claim the APA is supportive of reparative therapy, and ignore recent scientific discoveries regarding sexual orientation.
They try to cover all their bases with this one. First they insist since the “gay gene” has never been discovered, being gay is not biological. Then they go and say even if it were genetic, your genes “do not dictate” your life. The only people still talking about the gay gene theory with any seriousness are ex-gay organizations trying to “prove” that science does not support homosexuality is inborn. The only “scientific” study they have to back them up is the pitiful Jones & Yarhouse report, which gives a dismal look at sexual orientation change.
Regarding sexual orientation change therapy, Exodus clings to outdated information:
What does the American Psychological Association say about reparative therapy?
While the APA has been vocal about many political topics including gay marriage and gay adoption, the organization continues to support a client’s autonomy and right to self-determination. At a Town Hall Meeting at the organization’s 2006 convention, APA President Gerald P. Koocher stated, “APA has no conflict with psychologists who help those distressed by unwanted homosexual attraction.”
Today, in 2011, the APA says the following about such “therapy:”
Can therapy change sexual orientation?
No; even though most homosexuals live successful, happy lives, some homosexual or bisexual people may seek to change their sexual orientation through therapy, often coerced by family members or religious groups to try and do so. The reality is that homosexuality is not an illness. It does not require treatment and is not changeable.
What about so-called “conversion therapies?”
Some therapists who undertake so-called conversion therapy report that they have been able to change their clients’ sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. Close scrutiny of these reports, however show several factors that cast doubt on their claims. For example, many of these claims come from organizations with an ideological perspective that condemns homosexuality. Furthermore, their claims are poorly documented; for example, treatment outcome is not followed and reported over time, as would be the standard to test the validity of any mental health intervention.
The American Psychological Association is concerned about such therapies and their potential harm to patients. In 1997, the Association’s Council of Representatives passed a resolution reaffirming psychology’s opposition to homophobia in treatment and spelling out a client’s right to unbiased treatment and self-determination. Any person who enters into therapy to deal with issues of sexual orientation has a right to expect that such therapy will take place in a professionally neutral environment, without any social bias.
4. Exodus and Politics still indeed mix.
Exodus made a public exit from public policy a couple of years ago and have since then done a pretty good job keeping clear of politics. But this section of the FAQ completely reverses that action.
Hate Crimes laws are derided as “thought crimes laws,” because they claim thinking homosexuality is a sin or expressing that opinion publicly will land you in jail. They provide a link to an article explaining how hate crimes protections will end religious freedom. They also claim that ex-gays are now worth “less” under the law than they were as gays. What they fail to notice is that adding sexual orientation to hate crimes protections does not limit protection to gay people – it protects people of ALL sexual orientations. This includes a crime involving a gay person murdering a straight person for being straight. A straight person murdered because they are perceived to be gay would also be protected. I would think a man like Randy Thomas or Alan Chambers, hardly bastions of stereotypical straight masculinity, would appreciate this protection. Someone going after them for acting a bit too “swishy” on the street would not care about their “post-gay journey” and their “daily struggles.” They would only care that they look gay. By the way, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Act has been in effect for more than a year, and not a single person has been arrested for preaching that “homosexuality is a sin.”
Same sex marriage is obviously out of the question, but not just because they believe the Bible tells them so. God’s Word isn’t enough for them; they must have secular enforcement of their religious beliefs. They even put the important parts in bold.
Homosexuality is not an immutable trait — therefore, marriage is not a civil right to be granted to anyone who demands it. Over the years, the evidence relied upon by legal scholars concerning “civil rights” protection requires several factors. Those factors include immutable characteristics such as race, gender and disabilities along with widespread pattern and documentation of discrimination because of these immutable characteristics. Furthermore, there must be overwhelming evidence of financial disenfranchisement of these groups as well. Equating homosexual partnerships with heterosexual marriage sends the wrong message to those who are confused and questioning their sexuality. [emphasis in original]
How exactly is religious affiliation an “immutable trait,” again? And yet this too is covered under Hate Crimes protection.
There is no question Exodus denies that gay people – people whose sexuality is an integral part of them rather than just a symptom of some past trauma – exist in the world. There are only traumatized heterosexuals who have turned to same-sex behavior. Any attractions are simply “temptations.”
For us, life as homosexuals was not a positive experience and homosexual marriage would have only further complicated it. Had marriage been legal, many formerly gay identified men and women would have chosen it over and over again adding the chaos of legal separation to an already emotionally confusing and devastating experience.
Equating homosexual partnerships with heterosexual marriage sends the wrong message to those who are confused and questioning their sexuality. … As people overcoming homosexuality, we know by experience that heterosexual and homosexual relationships are vastly different. Telling men and women struggling with their sexual identity that it is the same will only further add to their confusion, misunderstanding of sexuality and for some, their sense of desperation. [emphasis in original]
Alan Chambers has expressed this thought personally – that if society treated gays equally to straights, he probably would not have become an ex-gay. Therefor, the political climate must remain hostile to gays in order to foster a friendlier environment to ex-gays. After all, if gays are told they are fine just the way they are, and that their relationships are just as likely to be successful as heterosexual relationships, what motivation would they have to change? Apparently, ex-gays have such little control over their own behaviors and convictions that they need secular institutions to keep them in line. God simply isn’t enough.
And it isn’t enough that gay relationships be maligned, Exodus also supports legal action that prevents children from being adopted by same sex couples.
[T]he biblical design for the family and the best environment for raising a biological or adoptive child is one in which the child’s mother and father are married to one another and are present in the home. While legitimate and difficult circumstances often prevent this, the intentional deprivation of a mother or father through same-sex parenting and adoption, is not in the best interest of children. As such, social policy and adoption law should be governed by a desire to ensure the health and well being of future generations. [emphasis mine]
How exactly does preventing same sex couples from adopting children serve a ministry that claims to cater only to those who “seek change?” For a ministry that supports “self-determination” so loudly, they sure want the secular government to place restrictions on people (even those who don’t seek change).
In the article asking if God made some people homosexual, they declare that the only reason society accepts gay people as unable to change their sexual orientation is due to “special interest groups.”
One reason for this is the pressure applied by powerful special interest groups. The Wall Street Journal reported on August 12, 1993, that to suggest that current biological-cause theories are unsubstantiated is to risk one’s career. New York psychiatrist William Byne said, “I’m told my criticism is not politically correct…What they are saying, therefore, is that I should subjugate scientific rigor to political expediency.”
Those who want to insist on genetic determination are perpetuating a tragic myth and robbing those who genuinely want to turn from what they believe to be sin.
5. Exodus espouses ideas that contribute to youth suicide and blames gay youths for their own misery.
DID YOU KNOW?
“The researchers say that suicide attempts appear to be related to “‘coming out’ at a younger age, gender atypicality, low self-esteem, substance abuse, running away, involvement in prostitution, and other psychosocial morbidities.” In 44% of cases, subjects attributed the suicide attempts to ‘family problems,’ including conflict with family members and parents’ marital discord, divorce, or alcoholism.
In fact, psychology has long known that homosexuality is associated with dysfunctional family structures. Statistically, gay men tend to report poor childhood relationships with their fathers, while lesbian women tend to report poor childhood relationships with their mothers (Bell, Weinberg and Hammersmith). Thus ‘society’s oppression’ seems a simplistic and misleading explanation for suicidal ideation in gay teenagers.” [emphasis mine]
Don’t come out, kids, that will only make you a pariah, leading to people rejecting you and torturing you. So if you commit suicide after being so miserable, blame coming out at your “early age,” not your tormenters.
DID YOU KNOW?
Domestic violence is the “third most severe health problem facing gay men today,” with AIDS being the first and substance abuse being the second. –“Battered Husbands: Domestic Violence in Gay relationships,” Genre Magazine, (1991 Fall Issue), pp. 36-37. Szymanski. M.
48% of lesbians and 38% of gay male couples reported physical abuse in one study (compared to 28% of heterosexual couples).
-“Violence in Lesbian and Gay Relationships: Theory, Prevalence, and Correlational Factors,” Clinical Psychology Review (1999) 19(5), 487-512
Being gay means being miserable. That is what Exodus is attempting to prove here. And while they have the gall to say teens deserve to be empowered by education, they also have the gall to oppose Gay-Straight Alliances in schools.
Exodus International believes that adults with the intent of promoting one viewpoint over another often initiate Gay Straight Alliances which ignores biblical teaching on sexuality and may foster unhealthy isolation for many impressionable youth.
For the record, at MY high school, the GSA was initiated and headed by a lesbian student, not by an adult. She broke ground for the club; she did the legwork to make it happen. Nobody needed to come in and “recruit” anybody to start a GSA.
School policy must present Exodus’ lies about gay people and “gay lifestyles” in order to be considered open, uncensored places.
Pro-Gay Curriculum: Exodus International believes that if a school chooses to address the issue of homosexuality that all perspectives and facts should be presented in an unbiased fashion. If a school’s true goal is to promote authentic tolerance and diversity, they must allow for a balance of viewpoints to be represented by those who embrace a gay-identity and those who do not.
Acknowledging the fact that gay people exist, that they are equal to straights in everything except the fact that they are attracted to the same sex, and that there is nothing wrong with someone for being gay, is not “biased.” There is no room for debate on this issue. Our humanity and dignity are not up for discussion.
The irony is that many schools have become a breeding ground for intolerance — intolerance towards anyone with an opposing viewpoint. This is unacceptable as a school’s primary purpose is to equip students with the essentials to succeed in life. Neither activist groups nor educators have any business dictating or denying a student’s belief system.
Exodus International, being a Christian Ministry and neither a counseling nor educational organization, has absolutely no business judging the merits of gradeschool curricula. Their stated mission is not to stifle an accepting environment for gays in the place they are most vulnerable to attack and isolation. It’s to help people who choose to try to change unwanted same-sex attraction. But then, that is only their stated mission.
They also emphasize change comes “through Jesus Christ” – but they still try to put science on their team. Yet again, Exodus is not above out and out lying to bend reality:
According to the therapeutic manual of the American Psychiatric Association, there are at least 20 different “sexual orientations” that are recognized today. Creating school policy around a myriad of perceptions regarding one’s sexual attractions is asking for a chaotic, potentially irresolvable diversion from teaching educational essentials youth must learn to successfully face the future.
The APA recognizes 4 sexual orientations: homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, and asexual. It also recognizes dozens of paraphilias, which include pedophilia – these are not orientations. Exodus has perpetuated this lie before, but removed it from their website quietly and without a public retraction.
Such dishonesty is unfortunately the norm for Exodus. It would be unsurprising to see some of these FAQ’s quietly disappear after this article is published. That is not good enough to be considered a retraction, however. If Exodus truly does not subscribe to such odious statements, including statements which denigrate queer youth and blame them for their own suicides, they must make a public retraction. Otherwise, they’re not saying they’ve denounced these beliefs, just that they’re putting them back into the closet.