Truth Wins Out reports that the vice chairman of the Exodus board, Dennis Jernigan, may have inserted himself into a Uganda like situation in Jamaica, a place with a virulently anti-gay atmosphere. According to quotes in the Jamaican press, Jernigan claimed he was once gay but no more, and mentioned his marriage. He also disparaged President Obama as being “deceived” concerning homosexuality, referring to the President’s recent statement of support for marriage equality.
When asked about what I thought about President Obama’s recent remarks concerning homosexuality, I told them I love my president but I believe he is greatly deceived and risks undermining the very foundation of our nation … the family. Incidentally, the paper began publishing the interview the very next day on the first three pages … the headline being my quote concerning my belief that President Obama is deceived! I felt the grace of God in those interviews. I never felt fear at all … and feel I impacted an entire nation in the process.
In a discussion caught on video, Jernigan makes the absurd statement that “I would have no ministry if fathers simply did their job.” This plays into the classic NARTH habit of blaming the parents for gay offspring. Joseph Nicolosi has repeatedly said, “Fathers, if you don’t hug your sons, another man will.” Blaming the parents is a common ex-gay theme.
Again according to the Jamaican press, the US and Great Britain have been putting pressure on Jamaica to change their anti-sodomy laws — laws which make intimate relationships between two people of the same sex illegal. Jamaica is a dangerous place for gays and lesbians, and Jernigan’s pronouncements are irresponsible at best. There is no excuse for his not researching this situation and the players better.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BeatdcSAXk#![/youtube]
A similar incident in 2009 when Exodus board member Don Schmierer participated in an anti-homosexuality conference in Uganda caused ripples which still have not been resolved. It is clear from his own words (screenshot, post was removed) that Jernigan felt some sort of mandate for his actions and arrogantly stitched together divine approval and guidance with the narrative. That is a dangerous recipe in a powder keg like Jamaica. We find his actions irresponsible and indefensible, especially considering the previous incident in Uganda.
We await statements from both Jernigan and Exodus.
Update: A new statement has appeared on the Exodus website concerning the criminalization of homosexuality:
Exodus International believes that every human life, regardless of sexual orientation, is of inestimable and equal worth to God and that defending this principle is foundational in offering a Christian response to any issue. As such, Exodus International has not supported and will not support any legislation that deprives others of life and dignity based on their sexual orientation or the expression of such within the confines of a consensual adult relationship. We stand with all who are defending this basic, biblical tenet and remain committed to sharing the compassion, hope and life-giving grace and truth of Jesus Christ.
Finally, we stand with the LGBT community both in spirit, and when necessary, legally and physically, when violence rears it’s head in Uganda, Jamaica or anywhere else in the world.
Exodus president Alan Chambers added:
I am truly sorry for not having policies in place prior to now that would have averted another scandal of this nature, where Exodus is concerned, that impacts the dignity of people in these regions.
Another statement on Jamaica is supposedly forthcoming from Exodus.