A Baptist Press interview with Exodus executive director Alan Chambers:

  • misrepresents popular debate about the origins of homosexuality
  • attempts to distract public attention from the potential criminal offenses of ex-gay leader Michael Johnston; and
  • obfuscates discussion over whether homosexuals can “change”

The article begins by asserting that the “homosexual community” claims homosexuality is “genetic.” This assertion is demonstrably false. There is widespread disagreement among gays, and the general public, over the extent to which environment, upbringing, maternal biology during pregnancy, and genetics interact to define a person’s affectional and sexual attractions toward others. Few, if any, gays claim the origins of sexual orientation are “genetic.”

The BP article says Exodus “ministers to homosexuals.” In fact, the national office has no outreach to gay organizations, and it minimizes contact with gay individuals. The Exodus news clipping service refuses to link to gay news media, even though the clipping service consists largely of stories cut-and-pasted, without appropriate attribution, from a gay news clipping service.

Baptist Press quotes Chambers saying that the percentage of people who “change” but then “fall back into homosexuality” is “minute” and that there is “a very high percentage of people who continue to stay true to the Lord and stay true to the fact that their sexuality has changed.”

Before saying that, Chambers should have read the ex-gay movement’s own science studies.

Psychiatric News, Professor David G. Myers of Hope College, Dr. Gregory Herek, and ReligiousTolerance.org note that the ex-gay movement’s most prized study on “change,” by Dr. Robert Spitzer of Columbia University, found that of thousands of ex-gays advertised by the movement, fewer than 150 have achieved any significant change in sexual attraction. Spitzer also found that some of those individuals were bisexual or heterosexual to begin with.

(I wish to thank a participant in the New York Times forums for summarizing the research.)

In the Baptist Press article, Tim Wilkins only further confuses the definition of “change,” saying “[gay activist Wayne] Besen, like many, mistakenly believes that the goal of such ministries is to make homosexuals into heterosexuals. … [Instead,] the ultimate goal for the person with unwanted same-sex attractions is, as with any sinner, to become a follower of Jesus Christ, which in turn brings freedom from homosexuality and restores his true identity in Christ.”

Wilkins recites a selective and literal interpretation of the Biblical creation story, concluding: “Heterosexuality is God’s creative design. After the fall of man, counterfeits to God’s ideal emerged — adultery, fornication, incest, homosexuality, etc. When this differentiation is understood, freedom from homosexuality is accelerated as it was in my case.”

Oddly, the article does not define what Wilkins means by “freedom from homosexuality.”

Chambers complains, “We’re criticized every single day. We’re called liars. We’re called frauds. Our marriages are questioned. Our children that we have are questioned. [Critics ask,] ‘Are these things just ploys?'”

That criticism is likely to persist so long as Chambers, Wilkins, and Baptist Press misstate gay beliefs and deliberately confuse ex-gay definitions of “change.”

I found out about this article from an edition of the Exodus news clipping service. In that news clip, Exodus spokesman Randy Thomas briefly described the Baptist Press article as “redemptive” of Johnston, when in fact the article said little about Johnston.

Far from calling Johnston to redemption, Thomas’s article summary seems to call upon readers to forget about him and move on.

Categorized in:

Tagged in: