In the comment section of my previous post I kind of promised to one of commenters (thanks Trev) that I would write a sequel, a follow-up text on my claim that homosexuality is neither genetically nor biologically nor environmentally caused. The article has been written and was scheduled to be published today.
But then, something extraordinary happened which I felt I couldn’t ignore commenting and which caused me to write a completely new text while rescheduling already prepared one for a latter date.
So, what’s the buzz? No, it is not the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. With all due respect, I consider the ruling a pathetic distraction. I expressed my stance on the issue here and here and that’s pretty much all have to say. It isn’t worth any more of my time and energy. But the story that follows definitely is.
My Two Cents
Exodus International, a prominent interdenominational Christian organization which for decades advocated reorientation of same-sex attraction and had been for many years a proponent of so called “reparative therapy” publicly announced on June 19th, 2013 that it’s board of directors made a decision to close the organization and cease all it’s activities.
About the same time, it’s president Alan Chambers published a letter of apology to members of LGBT community in which he expressed regret for whatever hurt the organization has caused to homosexuals, transgendered people and their families since it’s inception.
If anyone else from the North Star community had commented this breaking news, I probably wouldn’t have done it myself. As you know, I’m not an American nor have ever lived in the US, so Exodus’ shutdown isn’t something that has any impact on me or my neighborhood. However, since no one from North Star so far felt prompted to write anything about this (I argue) seminal event in the realm of religious gaydom, let me give my two cents on the issue.
I do not know great deal about Exodus International. I do remember, however, watching Alan Chambers many years ago in a television debate. I’m not sure, but I think it was a CNN panel in which he participated by defending his position of a faithful Christian and a gay man married to a woman. He was definitely the first person in such a situation that I’ve ever seen or heard of. I can’t remember much from that public appearance, except the impression that he came across as a genuine, humble and yet somewhat frightened individual. At that time I myself wasn’t married and I remember wondering how on earth he was able to make it. However, his public appearance did not cause me to search more about him and his organization, probably because I did not perceive it as grounded enough on religious principles I believed in.
It’s a Sin
Fast forward to today. I’m reading Alan Chamber’s letter of apology to LBGT community and I cannot but to conclude that this man is still genuine, humble but somewhat frightened. He realizes that his stance towards homosexuality has evolved and he implicitly admits it. He feels that he had unintentionally hurt quite a few gay people, both those who strive to be faithful to the Gospel as they understand it and those who are more inclined to live traditional gay lifestyle.
It is of course great that Alan Chambers is genuine and humble, but if I’m correct, I wonder what is he frightened of? Could it be that he is concerned that judgement of God may fall upon him and his associates from the Exodus International because of their past mistakes which were made out of ignorance? Or is it perhaps that he is afraid that he will never be able to make up for the unintentional damage that he admits the organization had caused in the course of it’s existence?
Many in the LGBT community watch the demise of Exodus International with gusto, and I can understand them to a degree. I find reparative therapy in any shape and form rather abhorring. Some of my fellow faithful gay Mormon sojourners would disagree with me and would say that some aspects of the therapy is legitimate. I personally believe that any aspect of reparative therapy that is successful cannot be called reparative, and all aspects of a therapy that can be called reparative is by definition a failure. I believe homosexuality is spiritual in it’s origin and nature, so I argue it is a sin to try to hammer it out of existence. A proper way of handling it is by searching blessings in disguise within.
How He Understands Homosexuality
I believe that the reason why Exodus International fundamentally failed in it’s mission is because it didn’t recognize early enough a fundamental truth that homosexual feelings are God given and that they should be regarded as such. Homosexual behavior is a choice, but same-sex attraction is demonstrably not.
I’m sorry that Exodus International ended up being dismantled the way it did by it’s own members, because I think there are some good and decent things it had done, particularly in recent years. That’s why I think part of LBGT community that is non-religious shouldn’t be overly excited by it’s demise. We are losing a counter-party in a debate on homosexuality with almost four decades long tradition. I hope that people who constituted Exodus International will be able to raise up a new organization from the ashes of the old one and on a sounder foundation. I also hope that organization will become as prominent as the old had been.
There is something intriguing in the fact that Exodus International ceased to exist. It seems that God wants to convey to all of us religious people that we didn’t understand homosexuality the way He wants us to. We were (and still are) prideful in dismissing ourselves and our fellow brothers and sisters as we face the challenge of same-sex attraction. And that’s wrong. We need to embrace our feelings and take responsibility for our actions. I also believe that God through all this ordeal with Exodus International is telling us that He will not allow anyone to mock or belittle homosexuals, particularly not in His name. Many of gay people took paths that are not consistent with God’s will, but that doesn’t mean they are out of His reach and that they shouldn’t be reached by those who proclaim they are Christians.
Before I close, let me say that I’m so glad that I am part of the North Star community rather than the community of Exodus International. I believe the principles on which North Star is founded are precisely in accordance with God’s intents for homosexuals slash gays slash same-sex attracted. We are not here to judge. We are here to support each other with whatever challenges we face and regardless of where we are on the path towards God.