In a Feb. 15 American Family Association article that is reprinted as a Feb. 18 press release, exgay umbrella group Exodus accuses unnamed "homosexual activists" of intolerance toward Focus on the Family’s "Love Won Out" exgay road show this weekend.
Chambers quotes no actual gay activists; instead, Chambers offers strawman arguments, claiming that unidentified gay people view Focus on the Family’s ideology as "hateful" and alleging that "many people involved in or supportive of the homosexual lifestyle don’t want the truth to be told."
But Chambers offers no evidence of an effort to obstruct the event. He seems unable distinguish between repressive intolerance — what Exodus practices when it promotes discrimination and opposes free speech for tolerance advocates in the schools — and principled public disagreement, which is what the Houston Voice reports finding among pro-tolerance advocates protesting "Love Won Out."
It turns out that many of the "homosexual activists" are Christian church-goers. Far from obstructing the event, many of them plan to quietly engage event attendees in discussion about moral alternatives to exgay ideology, while others will stand peacefully at a distance.
Chambers claims in the article to have left "the homosexual lifestyle" in 1991. But his lifestyle wasn’t "the" homosexual lifestyle back then, nor does Chambers live a heterosexually charged lifestyle now — his marriage, unfortunately, is infertile, and awaiting an adopted girl.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Focus on the Family spokesman Christopher Norfleet believes the conference will help teach people "to interact with the gay community." But Chambers’ rant suggests that Exodus is a poor resource for constructive communication. And activist Ray Hill asserts that the event instead drives an unnecessary wedge between gay people and the conservative Christians — mostly antigay parents — who attend "Love Won Out."
Mike Haley, who is both Exodus board chairman and a policy wonk employed by Focus on the Family, says the event simply promotes freedom of choice. But, as it happens, both Exodus and Focus on the Family support legal bans on private homosexual behavior and public discrimination against gay people in housing, employment, and family law. Haley’s idea of "choice," in other words, is the choice to either adopt Focus on the Family’s ideology — or be fired, evicted, and separated from loved ones.
Addendum: Regarding Chambers’ infertility and adoption:
I believe it is Chambers, not I, who made his sex life an issue when he frankly discussed his unsuccessful struggles to conceive last year in Exodus publications — while at the same time Chambers was using the Exodus soapbox to lobby Florida to ban gay adoption.
Given the following:
- Chambers’ public disclosures about infertility,
- his refusal to clearly define "change" (and its scope, or lack thereof),
- his broad insinuations about the "lifestyle" of gay people as a class, and
- his opposition to adoption by any gay individual or couple, no matter their values or qualifications,
I believe that that the procreative capacity of Chambers’ marriage is on-topic, as is his level of sexual arousal during intercourse. To what extent has Chambers "changed" since leaving "the" homosexual lifestyle, and to what extent can his marriage generate the children that he understandably believes are essential to marriage? These are pertinent questions, in my opinion.
Also on-topic: A comparison of the welfare of children raised under intolerant and sexist branches of fundamentalism, with the welfare of children raised in households that are tolerant of religious and sexual differences of opinion. Chambers wants states to ask subjective questions such as this one, when granting adoption. So, by all means, I say, let’s ask the question.
To repeat: It is Chambers who has linked his "lifestyle," his claim to have changed, and his marriage’s procreative capacity to his right to adopt.
At the same time, I realize that I may sound unreasonably harsh or intrusive, and some readers may support a selective right to intrusion — that is, fundamentalists are entitled to intrusive politics but not may not be questioned in return.
I welcome feedback about whether I have been unduly intrusive or rude toward Chambers, and whether it is appropriate to respond to fundamentalist intrusions of others’ privacy with pointed, on-topic questions about the intruder.