After Exodus International apologized last week for its past practice of blaming parents for homosexuality and ostracizing people who were no more sinful than they, the New York Times followed up with a report on Andy Comiskey, a co-founder of the hardline ex-gay Restored Hope Network. RHN continues to scapegoat parents and to accuse survivors of ex-gay therapy of not praying hard enough for God to make their sexuality disappear.
The Restored Hope Network, which was founded last year after Mr. Chambers’s announcement, will hold its own conference this weekend in Oklahoma, competing with the annual Exodus conference.
Andrew Comiskey, a Restored Hope board member, wrote on Twitter, “How merciful of God to shut down Exodus, which under Alan Chambers leadership had completely veered off the course of its mission.” The Restored Hope Network did not respond to requests for comment.
Aaron Bitzer, a plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging California’s ban on gay conversion therapy, said that Exodus’s closing would do nothing to diminish his faith that such treatment can work, as he said it had for him. A Christian who said he had been attracted to men all his life, he still hoped to one day marry a woman.
“Will the orientation change completely? I don’t know,” Mr. Bitzer, 36, said. “I don’t think any organization should ever promise 100 percent change. But I have noticed changes in myself. I am satisfied with what I’ve experienced so far with reparative therapy.”
Further anti-Exodus commentary is available on Comiskey’s blog.
Gay activist Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out reported this weekend from RHN’s second annual conference:
I am now in Oklahoma City where the group is holding its event. In spite of all the media swirl surrounding the downfall of Exodus and the launch of this new hate group, the Restored Hope Network only drew an estimated 100 participants. By the way, this number includes media and conference speakers. This paltry number is far below the heyday of the “ex-gay” myth, when Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out road show brought in thousands of people.
RHN may find it difficult to win additional support with blame games and anti-parent propaganda that has no basis in the Bible.