Invisible Ex-Gays in Orlando?
The controversy surrounding Orlando city council member Vicki Vargo’s proclamation of Exodus International Day on July 21 was noted in an earlier Ex-Gay Watch item by Mike.
He mentions that activists have challenged the proclamation, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel. It is worth noting that voices of protest include one of Vargo’s city council colleagues, as described by Orlando Weekly (OW):
Commissioner Patty Sheehan … wrote the mayor an e-mail expressing disgust at Vargo’s proclamation. “As an openly gay public official, I am personally and professionally offended by this action,” Sheehan wrote.
Protester Royce Mathew has created a satire page promoting a fictional group called Exodu Sin Ternational which professes to be ex-gay but mixes Nazi-like goals with its outreach. More importantly, he has posted the actual wording of the proclamation. He compares his pseudo-group to Exodus and has asked the mayor and city council to rescind Vargo’s proclamation because of the purported similarities between the two.
Mathew’s logic for naming Exodus as a hate group starts here:
Based on their religious beliefs as it’s operating doctrine, Exodus International is a self proclaimed “freedom from homosexuality” operation presenting homosexuals as mentally ill, perverted, disease carriers, hurting and sinful individuals who will perish if they don’t conform to their religious imposed views of society.
From there he makes a giant leap:
Vicki Vargo’s proclamation honors discrimination and the self proclaimed religious aspects, views and beliefs of Exodus International, an organization whose ultimate goal, like the Nazi Party, is to eliminate a group of individuals, homosexuals, who themselves were supposed to be protected from discrimination by the city’s own statues.
Exodus attempts to walk, however irrationally, the fine line of reaching out only to “unhappy” gay people while assuming that it’s not possible to be healthy, Christian, and gay. Mathew discredits himself when he leaps from that sort of illogic to equating Exodus and Nazi goals.
But, council member Vargo and Exodus leader Alan Chambers discredit themselves as well. (Vargo told OW that she issued the proclamation after Exodus sought it “several times”.) It’s not unusual for cities to make proclamations noting the contributions of its citizens, welcoming visitors, or celebrating church centennials. Vargo and Chambers missed a valid opportunity to:
- Salute contributions by Orlando ex-gays to the betterment of the city (instead of demeaning gays vaguely as being “hurting people in our community”).
- Cite specific examples of Exodus’ contributions to the well-being of the people of Orlando (instead of unsubstantiated claims that it is “honorable and worthy of recognition”).
- Thank Exodus for the benefits Orlando has received based on their substance and merit (instead of using scripture to imply that the city council was conferring a spiritual blessing).
And that highlights a common gap in ex-gay outreach: Where are the ex-gays? Why must they live primarily in the shadows of their leaders?
As a gay man, I fully understand the complexity of coming-out issues. It is not easy to begin standing up to shame by identifying ourselves. There are ways to do so without putting our faces on the front pages of newspapers, though.
But that is precisely where the Orlando proclamation fell flat. Vicki Vargo apparently she didn’t hear from or get to know any vibrant, contented, healthy ex-gays, and based on that she assumed Alan Chambers was some sort of exalted, compassionate leader ministering to sad and lonely folks. (And he didn’t redirect her.)
Exodus International can earn the respect of people in Orlando to the extent its members begin speaking publicly for themselves, taking small steps out of the shadows, letting folks understand the ordinariness of their lives. It could take lessons from the many gay folks who are familiar with earning respect from people with whom they disagree by doing exactly that, as well as by showing respect for others.
Steve, don’t be presumptuous.
Dear Exodus International, Randy Thomas & Alan Chambers
I have lost half .. “HALF” of my family to the Nazi’s. They were eliminated in “OVENS” based on the beliefs of a group of people. Like Exodus International’s motto, freedom from homosexuality. FREEDOM from homosexuals and jews was Hitler’s motto. Freedom from gypsies and freedom from Jehovah Witnesses was also Hitler’s motto. People cheered as they got freedom from these people.
You claim you are not a hate group. The Nazi party too, is not a hate group. It had loyal followers who wanted to simply uphold their beliefs. Exodus International’s goal is to simply rid the world of homosexuals in a more friendly Christian process.
I don’t believe in gods or devils. I believe the universe is an incredible mystery with imperfect designs yet most religions have a problem accepting that. Please, don’t cast me in your play of myths. Yes, I believe the bible is a book of both myths and logic used to create intimidation and use the fear of the world’s mysteries, such as diseases and other natural occurrences to prey upon the hearts of people who wonder why we are here.
Therefore, if Hitler was the ruler today, I would be labeled with three stars. Yellow, pink & another for not being Christian. Jesus Christ no doubt was a wise, humble and loving person. Yet it is an abomination to see how religions have cast his legacy into their religious play to carry out actions for profit and control.
Exodus International has placed itself into the business to harm homosexuals. People will take what you teach and claim it’s reason to condemn other people. That is a hate group. You are in denial if you think otherwise.
I am new to Florida. I don’t know Patty Sheehan. What I have seen, she has done more to protect yours and everyone’s rights by helping people. However, Commissioner Vicki Vargo has gone out of her way to present homosexuals as being “hurting & sinful” people. Exodus International too presents all homosexuals as sinners and who are mentally troubled.. Bottom line… You are incorrect. Your religious teachings have taught you to hate any other beliefs or people. One set of religious beliefs over another is the reason of most wars.
Interesting, Christians want to stop the abortions to save babies. Yet if these babies grow up and don’t accept your myths as the truth and accept Jesus Christ as lord and savior, your bible teaches god will burn, torture and send these people to damnation in a day of “Armageddon”. That proves the bible is a hypocritical tool created by man to control the masses with double standards, intimidation and fear. Yet this is the same bible which fuels Exodus International rational thinking.
You quote the bible as reason for your “freedom from homosexuality” operation. Yet I have found passages in that bible….in the same section used in your proclamation, which states “god will kill the children” of w****s as “punishment”. Your bible also speaks of the sins of eating shellfish and the beating of wives and the upkeep of slavery. Why isn’t Exodus International promoting the “freedom from w****s and shellfish eaters”?
Eventually, Exodus International and other groups like Jerry Falwell will help bring the destruction of our world and it’s humanity and pass it off as the wrath of god. Calling injustice, ignorance, fear and intimidation “tradition” is just as evil. With that logic, only white male presidents should be in office because that too can be called tradition.
A family is who you bring in .. not who you keep out.
Perhaps those of you who claim to be “ex-gay” were never homosexual. You just fooled yourself, because you wanted to be loved or you were looking for something. (But not me. I am proud to be who I am.) Or perhaps you have fooled yourself into thinking you have solved your problems by denying who you are. (But not me. I am proud to be who I am.) Haven’t you realized shoving yourself into your heterosexual closet doesn’t make you straight. It makes you a liar. I don’t have a problem with my sexuality. It’s your religious beliefs who have a problem with it. How’s this one.. GOD MADE ME THIS WAY. You don’t believe me? Because you don’t know “my god”.
Vicki Vargo goes out of her way to label homosexuals as “HURTING” people. Why didn’t Vicki Vargo use Exodus International’s joyous motto “freedom from homosexuality” on your official government proclamation? Why hide this wonderful motto and simply call it to help “hurting” people? How dare you label anyone as a “hurting” person based on who they are.
Don’t tell me god loves the sinner but hates the sin. I don’t believe in your gods and devils. Obviously, you don’t believe in the teaching we should have love and respect of each of our diversities without double standards or intimidation. You don’t believe we are all part of the rainbow, no matter what religion or beliefs we hold or who we are.
I AM PROUD TO BE WHO I AM. Yet it’s your business to create, have and uphold a problem with who I am. Clearly you are the ones full of hurt, ignorance and denial. Don’t attempt to wipe out and eliminate the people whom I love in the name of your religious beliefs. Other adults, who I spend my life with, is none of your business. Other adults, who I have intimacy with, is none of your business. It’s long over due, Exodus International should be proud of it’s hate legacy, for your goal is to “eliminate” homosexuals from the world based on your religious views. Your actions and legacy are of hate and you are all in denial.
The journey together is the destination. This should be a lesson and motto for all people here on earth. The journey together is the destination not the other way around.
Teach the love, respect and the diversity of all people, for you haven’t walked in my shoes to say otherwise. In the name and memory of all of the victims of the legacy which you uphold.
You are so way out there Raj. You should not talk about things you have no idea about. Your twisted warp sense of purpose leds everyone to thing you are “queer”. Out of the norm. Go live in France, they are Lovours not Fighters!!