Exodus International executed a political stunt in July when it asked an Orlando city councilwoman to proclaim July 21 “Exodus International Day.”
When some Orlando council members — one of whom, Patty Sheehan, was lesbian — protested, Exodus executive director Alan Chambers singled out the lesbian councilwoman and accused her of exploiting the proclamation for political purposes.
The proclamation was indeed an affront to gay Orlando residents, because Mr. Chambers and Exodus national chairman Mike Haley use their positions in Exodus to promote discrimination against gays in employment, housing, and government services, among other categories.
To be sure, Ms. Sheehan’s effort to associate Exodus with the KKK was reckless: The KKK has murdered hundreds, perhaps thousands, of African Americans; Exodus, on the other hand, does not encourage physical violence against gays.
While Ms. Sheehan stoops to namecalling, Mr. Chambers and spokesman Randy Thomas resort to unsubstantiated allegations of their own.
In the past year, Mr. Chambers publicly lobbied the Orlando city government to protect and affirm antigay discrimination as if it were a Christian duty. Now, apparently counting on its readers to be forgetful, Exodus says:
Exodus and our member ministries have never attempted to force people to embrace our opinions. We are here for those who want our help. A few in gay leadership roles are willing to use their influence against us by lying and defaming. They have successfully done so for so long that many of good hearted and well intentioned people in the gay or pro-gay communities basically view rational, intelligent and serious “ex-gays” as cartoons. When in reality most seeking freedom from homosexuality are average people just trying to live a content life under the radar of volatility surrounding this politically over dramatized issue.
As a source of public criticism against Exodus, XGW welcomes the presentation of evidence that we have lied or defamed Exodus.
I believe it is Messrs. Chambers, Haley, and Thomas who have, sadly, made Exodus the subject of political cartoons.
Most ex-gays do just want to live a content life below the public radar. But Exodus’ political activities in support of discrimination, exclusion from church, and selective sex laws make the wish for anonymity futile for those ex-gays who fall victim to Exodus’ own public-policy positions and stereotypes.
XGW recommends that Mr. Chambers stop playing politics with people’s lives. Both he and the Orlando city council should refrain from wasting time and taxpayer money promoting any “Day” other than official holidays.