The reorganization of the ex-gay network Exodus International — into a new entity with no affiliates — accomplishes five objectives:
- Going forward, it insulates the current leadership from decades of accumulated scandals at Exodus member ministries. It also insulates now-severed Exodus ministries from fresh complaints about Exodus’ past psychological warfare. After all, if Exodus no longer exists, what’re folks whinin’ about?
- It insulates international antigay activists, who haven’t received Exodus’ recent apology. (Hat tip: Andrés Duque.)
- It releases Exodus leadership from serious financial obligations.
- It eliminates the possibility of Exodus being held liable for damage done to individuals and families by its amateur “counselors” — though local ministries could still face scrutiny.
- It frees member ministries to go their own way, to support the new organization, or to join hardline antigay activists at the Restored Hope Network (RHN).
RHN is a hardline ex-gay network that was launched in 2012 by some of Exodus’ most abusive former ministries. Thus far, RHN refuses to listen to reports of abuse committed by its member ministers; it refuses to oppose antigay laws and the imprisonment of sexual minorities; it encourages churches to ostracize and stigmatize sexual minorities and their supporters; and it contends that anyone can change one’s sexual orientation through “reparative therapy,” which falsely blames inadequate parenting for the formation of sexual orientation.
Exodus has apologized for its past, but much of that past now resides — impenitently — at RHN.
Bottom line: While the apology was a moral and spiritual leap forward, Exodus’ “closure” leaves behind unfulfilled responsibilities.