Chambers Discusses Motivation for Focus on Youth
In an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Alan Chambers discussed the motivation behind Exodus International’s focus on youth.
“There’s definitely an absolute push in Hollywood, in the sitcom world, to really normalize and legitimize homosexual relationships and homosexuality. Because it’s so prominent on television, we’re talking about it more and there’s more acceptance of it,” said Alan Chambers, president of Orlando-based Exodus International, an evangelical organization that tries to guide gay people toward heterosexuality. As a result, Exodus created a youth component six years ago.
“We thought, rather than wait until they were immersed in a homosexual identity and wanting help, let’s catch them before they have to make a decision,” said Chambers, who as a gay teenager, said he was “devastated” when a guidance counselor told him he could not change the fact that he was gay.
Even in this small quote we can deduce three things about Exodus:
1. Exodus’ intent is not to provide pastoral or counseling care to persons struggling with their same-sex attractions but rather to counter efforts to “normalize and legitimize homosexual relationships and homosexuality”.
2. Exodus assumes being unhappy (“wanting help”) naturally results from being gay (“immersed in a homosexual identity”). This demonstrates a willful ignorance of the lives and testimony of happy healthy gay individuals and couples.
3. Exodus’ strategy is in the form of entrapment and indoctrination of youth. Had any gay organization or representative said “let’s catch them before they have to make a decision” there would be great social outrage. And I’d join it. This idea of catching and imposing their sexual agenda on children is very disturbing.
Alan Chambers and others at Exodus completely rely on the assumption that being gay means a poorer quality of life. What is so ironic, is that these people are the ones pushing more difficult lives upon gay people. Chambers has to realize his struggle with anonymous sex was not because he was/is gay: http://newsfittopost.wordpress.com/2006/06/23/animosity-towards-the-ex-gay-movement-not-ex-gays/
I saw that article, and it seriously PISSED ME OFF, what Chambers said.
What I gleaned from Chamber’s statement is this:
He and Exodus really don’t care if a young person has expressed a struggle with their sexuality or decided it’s unwanted.
For as long as I can remember, it’s been their assertion that they wait until struggle or undesirable homosexuality is evident and the person comes to Exodus for help and support.
By going to the parents first whether it’s the gay kid’s , the parents can exert pressure and be supported by the community in doing so.
After that, a young gay person would have little options for asserting their OWN feelings about the matter.
So, homosexuality is a choice, eh?
Well, if they really believed that, they wouldn’t engage in these tactics.
Not only that…why are they allowed to, as if choosing one’s orientation or even the need to change it is necessary?
First they better have to prove that changing is urgent….EXCLUDING religious belief.
Religious belief should ALSO be the choice of a kid to make.
Even parents don’t force their children to continue religious education if they don’t want to.
There MUST be a court challenge that can be brought to Exdous’s behavior and tactics.
They are ALL over the damn map, just so it comes out that gay people get messed with up and down their entire lives.
What gives them the license and by whose order is it their damn business?
God hasn’t shown up to do it and proven he’d given them the job.
And in the meantime…does it make STRAIGHT people’s lives any better?
The unwanted same sex attraction is coming from STRAIGHT people.
The struggle with homosexuality, is gay people struggling with straight people to have their own identity respected.
I’m SO OVER this bull***t!
Interesting article, and from my hometown newspaper no less! This was in reference to the Pride Festival taking place in one of our beautiful parks this weekend. Ironically, the past president of Pride St. Louis (Rolf Rathmann) is serving some serious jail time for sexually assaulting a 14-year old boy. That is probably one reason the issue of opening doors (both ways) to gay/questioning youth strikes a chord for many people in this town.
The overall tone of the article was quite positive. More gay teens coming out at earlier ages, living their lives as other teens do. Millions of ordinary day to day interactions between gays and others will grow to a tide of understanding and acceptance which will wash Chambers and others like him away. Let patience and perseverance prevail and those who promote hatred of gays will soon be the ones who are shunned.
An excellent analysis of Alan’s remarks. They do recruit the young, don’t they?
This is what I mean too about the broadness of the words ‘struggle’ and ‘unwanted.’
All of us will struggle with SOMETHING about what our love lives mean and how we’ll engage others in such relationships.
Young people in particular are confused because they haven’t yet learned how to communicate their feelings, with each other or the adults in their lives.
Inappropriate behavior, premature sexualization or just plain hormonal flucuations can cause struggles.
And perhaps one might argue that intense hormonal surges or crushes on someone unavailable to us are ‘unwanted’, painful feelings.
These are common issues and resolved only with honesty and understanding and practical universal instructions on ethical behavior towards another person and oneself throughout your life.
Would I be wrong to expect these broad emotional and gender based terms to be challenged by lawyers and a court?
And their uses of stereotypes against gay lives.
The Exodus member’s lack of success in their gay sex lives can also be a factor in hetero sex lives.
As pointed out here: it’s not a gay thing, it’s problems with sex. Period.
Young people are naturally curious and will try to experiment with sex for many reasons, but most of which are pretty basic.
We just wouldn’t want any of it to be health or life threatening or a detriment to the psyche.
The people in Exodus were confused themselves, and they STILL are.
I think people who were THIS messed up are definitely in no place to be counseling youth who never WERE in their situation and but for the dishonesty of Exodus, never have to be.
Your anaylisis of Exodus is correct. I have found recently that there was more than one reason I entered Exodus and choose to go into the ex-gay residential program. Of course, there is the obvious, but the other is that the program offered solice from my additions. I didn’t think there was any way out of the sexual addition. Exoudus uses this to pray on young people. They use this as a tactic I believe to help fuel there mission. I realize that being gay had nothing to do with it. I was just upset with the way I was living my life.
Again this level of control always concerns me. At what point does self determination get over ruled by “concern for the public”?
Exactly Randy….especially when that self determination isn’t criminal, nor does it compromise another person’s options to do the same?
The pursuit of happiness is a guaranteed option to be respected in the Bill of Rights.
Since when does Exodus get to say…’we’ll decide when you’re happy, unhappy and how’?
And for this reason ALONE this could be a challenge IN COURT to how Exodus is imposing itself on the unwilling and unsuspecting of their agenda.
This isn’t just about free speech and stating an opinion.
This is about pursuing other people for the express purpose of making them feel guilty, shamed, unhappy and confused about their inherent identity.
This would be unconscionable for any other kind of human attribute that wasn’t harming or deliberately offending someone else.
Chambers seems to be using circular logic, or at least circular justifications. It ends up as something like “Society forces SSA kids to determine themselves as ‘gay’ before they have a chance to consider otherwise, so in the name of self-determination, we’ll do our damnedest to determine them as ‘not-gay’ before they have a chance to consider otherwise!”
Essentially they’re doing precisely what they accuse everyone else of doing– trying to force a specific answer on questioning kids.
Regan, you said:
“This isn’t just about free speech and stating an opinion. This is about pursuing other people for the express purpose of making them feel guilty, shamed, unhappy and confused about their inherent identity.”
Similarly, Timothy said:
“This idea of catching and imposing their sexual agenda on children is very disturbing.”
I think you all have unknowingly hit the nail on the head with why this article has a pretty deep underlying meaning in St. Louis (see my previous post above) which may not be evident to the most of the people reading it on this board.
When Rolf Rathmann (former president of Pride St. Louis) was convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year old boy, it understandably raised quite a bit of concern in my hometown about people pursuing children for the very purposes Regan mentioned. Although you’d never guess it from the tone of the article, many people in St. Louis welcome the efforts of organizations like Exodus as they attempt to provide options to questioning young people.
Singer, I’m having some difficulty finding it “understandable” only in the sense that one gay man’s crime is now being transferred to the entire idea of being ‘gay’. When an older man sexually attacks a 14 year old girl, people don’t start supporting groups trying to change young girls heterosexual orientations. This is just another example of homophobia – and specifically the misconception that homosexuals are more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexuals.
Sorry, I worked some long hours this weekend and am functioning on very little sleep – my last post should really read:
Singer, I’m having some difficulty finding it “understandable” except in the sense that one gay man’s crime is now being transferred… etc.
Exodus may well have leapt on this as a marketing ploy, but that is highly offensive of itself and is deliberately playing on a disgusting and false stereotype.
Having some experience in this area, actually having sent people down for this, if there is one thing sexual abusers (in this case, child molesters) do it is to keep themself hidden from view. They don’t advertise. They are highly secretive. And dishonest. And they attempt to weasel their way into positions of trust or opportunity.
Hence, rarely will this be a sceamingly openly gay man (and almost never a lesbian). That alone is drawing attention to yourself — it’s almost a good as indication as you can get that they are NOT a child molester for that very reason.
Instead, they present as if they are family guys. Regular guys. Priests. Scout Masters. And they all rely on the trust of others.
14 year old (gay) kids need open role models. They don’t need a creepy closet case. One says “You’ll be just fine, kiddo”, the other thinks “Hmmm, possibility”; particularly if you figure that being closeted is a sign of immature “gay” development.
Perhaps it is a reaction to that vile stereotype, but we’re both also extremely tough on this matter — gay or straight. They’d have a snowball’s hope in hell talking their way out of our suspicions when the alarm bells go off.
Rarely are such people obvious. But when you know what to watch for, they are frightenly obvious. And being gay doesn’t even figure in the equation.
I totally agree with what you’re saying about the typical pedophile vs. the “false stereotypes” regarding gay people. I think that’s why this event was so shocking to people who know anything about what it means to be openly gay. Based on that, you’d think the president of Pride would be the last person to prey on a child, considering he has no reason to try to hide his sexuality.
Unfortunately his actions only reinforced the false stereotypes, which is why so many parents in St. Louis invite the efforts of Exodus as well as GSA’s, etc. to help questioning youth.
As for your comment about Exodus exploiting this as a marketing ploy, I’ve not seen evidence of that. In fact, I’ve never even heard them acknowledge the case.
The LGTB community on the other hand did draw attention to it, but in productive ways for the most part. I tried to find the article — I think it was in an issue of the Vital Voice, but one of the (female) leaders of the community used this case to issue a “wake up call to my brothers who are engaging in dangerous, anonymous encounters that only serve to further the stereotypes about gay men.” (I’m paraphrasing.) It was a great statement and I wish I could find it again. Of course, there were a few Rathmann supporters who had the nerve to villify the boy.
Hava Israel, I’m not sure I really understand what you’re communicating in your post to me, but I do know what it’s like to type stuff when I’m tired. :o) I hope it’s clear that I’m simply trying comment on the context of this article, as it relates to recent events in St. Louis involving gay/questioning youth.
Singer, I get now that you were stating that the publication of the article ‘makes sense’ within the context of the communities fears, however mistaken those fears are, and that you weren’t saying the fears were logical or correct.
I really do need some sleep right now!
You’ve now posted three times this story about Rolf Rathmann. With all due respect, Rathmann was charged in December 2002 and sentenced in November 2003 and I don’t think he is in the forefront of the minds of most St. Louis citizens.
You claim that “many people in St. Louis welcome the efforts of organizations like Exodus as they attempt to provide options to questioning young people” but you provide nothing to show that there is any clamoring for Exodus Youth on the part of the good people of St. Louis. In fact, there are only two Exodus affiliated Christian Ministries in St. Louis and one is geared towards neither adolescents nor sex-abuse survivors.
In addition, your claim is not tied in any rational way to the situation of the single youth involved. There is nothing suggesting that this case in any way made St. Louis more receptive to Exodus than they would otherwise be.
Further, your repetitive posting seems more designed to negatively portray the gay community by means of innuendo and anecdote than it does on explaining Exodus’ obsession with youth.
Let’s get back to the subject. (and please do not make your response an excuse to again bring up the details of this irrelevant single case)
“… an irrelevant single case” I discussed in reference to an article you posted regarding gay youth in St. Louis a couple of days before the St. Louis Pride Festival. I really can’t imagine a “single case” that would be more relevant to the topic than this one, but that of course is a matter of opinion and we’re both certainly entitled to our own.
Being a St. Louis native I may just have a slightly better anectodal understanding of any “clamor” in that town than you might find through your google search. Similarly, I would hope you’d feel comfortable expressing your personal observations regarding communities with which you are personally familiar.
Timothy, all of that aside, it’s your following statement I find particularly troubling:
“your repetitive posting seems more designed to negatively portray the gay community by means of innuendo and anecdote”
I recently began participating in this forum to learn from others and respectfully present my own observations related to the topics at hand and hopefully experience a meaningful interchange with the other participants in the process. I feel, for the most part, this is happened. That said, I fully recognize that the primary purpose for this forum is not for people like me. If my postings come across as “designed to negatively portray the gay community” I’m terribly sorry. That certainly isn’t my intent.
I apologize if I misconstrued your intentions. And please don’t feel that you are not part of this site. You and your perspective are very welcome here.
Thanks for saying that Timothy. I really appreciate it. It’s hard to read “tone” in these posts sometimes. I do hope you’ll let me know if something I write comes across as disrespectful to the gay community.
Grantdale brought up an important point. Those who are predatory, will be secretive and unassuming.
Their true intentions are never stated or easily revealed.
The straight world has it backwards. Gays and lesbians work hard at having the ability and right to reveal their orientation and intentions in the mainstream.
The straight world doesn’t appreciate this intent, nor is honest about how a gay person is compromised for that honesty, rather than appreciated.
Only until a gay person seems suspicious by omission do straight people draw their own conclusions, rather than believe what a gay person just comes right out and says.
And I think the most homophobic people of influence out there are doing the public at large a serious disservice.
Joe Citizen should just call up or work with their local law enforcement and gain as much truthful and correct information they can about sex offenders.
Such information will reveal who the real sexual predators are, not only that but the average orientation of those who have committed other violent offenses.
The results shouldn’t surprise anyone. And should be a relief for those who believed the stereotypes.
Singer said “many people in St. Louis welcome the efforts of organizations like Exodus as they attempt to provide options to questioning young people”
Singer, Exodus and these people are certainly not trying to provide options, if they were one of them would have to be the option for gays to accept their natural same sex attractions and live happily with a same sex partner. Exodus is about coercing gays into only one route that Exodus and its supporters choose, giving in to societal oppression and sacrificing one’s happiness and self-determination to those who care about themselves at the expense of gays. Exodus is most certainly not about providing options, its about using whatever force is legal.
That initial post wasn’t very clear on my part. I tried to clarify in my followup response to grantdale when I said:
“…many parents in St. Louis invite the efforts of Exodus as well as GSA’s, etc. to help questioning youth”
When talking about options, I was referring to the combined efforts of all organizations that reach out to gay/questioning youth, including Exodus as well as organizations that are gay-affirming. I think youth need all of the above for there to truly be options for them to consider.
Hope that helps.
Singer, no, that doesn’t “help”. Exodus isn’t helping youth, they’re doing their best to make it as hard as possible for gay youth to find happiness with same sex attraction.
Exopdus’s promotion of societal rejection of gays who harm no one simply isn’t an acceptable option. If you want youth to consider options, first they need to be free of the anti-gay oppression which Exodus uses to prevent the social acceptance of gays before youth are free to choose whether or not to accept their nature.
Lies and actions like those of Exodus are directly responsible for psychologically torturing LGBTs like me and I take offense at your attempts to portray them as doing good when quite the opposite is true. The last thing same sex attracted youth need is Exodus’s message that that is evil and they must change to appease others they aren’t hurting.
First, I’m sorry for any psychological torture you feel you’ve endured. But, I don’t think I portrayed “Exodus” as “doing good” in my posts as you’ve stated — at least no differently than other organizations that target youth. I just think it’s very important for questioning youth to be aware of the options available to them, as not all of them will choose to embrace a gay identity for whatever reason.
If all that we as a society offered our questioning youth was one path, be it “you must embrace a gay identity” or “you must embrace a heterosexual identity”, we would do to them the same disservice many of us received.
Singer- you’ve created a false equivalency between Exodus and gay-affirming groups. There are no groups pressuring kids to “embrace a gay identity.” Exodus, however, is all about pressuring people to embrace an “exgay” identity.
Singer, gay affirming groups don’t say its bad to be heterosexual but Exodus does say its bad to be gay. Gay youth are fully aware that they can choose to pursue men or women – they don’t need to be told they have to follow Exodus’s path or experience hell both in this life and a next.
You can claim you didn’t portray Exodus as doing good, but that doesn’t square with your statement that its important for youth to be aware of the path Exodus advocates- if you felt Exodus were doing other than good you certainly wouldn’t be advocating awareness of the self-hating path they push. At the very least you haven’t acknowledged the lies and social oppression that Exodus purveys. If you weren’t trying to portray Exodus as doing good you wouldn’t be saying its important for people to be aware of their anti-gay agenda.
It is Exodus and society who do a disservice to questioning youth by making them feel bad about being same sex attracted. Thats an evil and unacceptable “option”. If you want youth to be free to choose between heterosexual and gay they have to first be free to dispassionately consider both. That’s the last thing Exodus wants to allow.
Gay youth are fully aware that they can choose to pursue men or women.
Huh? Sometimes you leave me quite confused Randi.
David what I mean by that is that regardless of where one find’s oneself on the Kinsey scale its obvious that both men and women exist as potential partners. Granted someone who is 100% same sex attracted probably isn’t going to view the opposite sex as a desirable partner, but I assert its obvious to that person that they could ignore their desires and pursue a relationship with the opposite sex. In the same way someone who finds sports cars desirable and pickup trucks undesirable is implicitely aware they could buy a pickup truck and make the best of it.
I’d say the only reason gay youth are questioning is that they’ve been told they should partner with the sex they’re not attracted to and they can’t partner with the one they are. They don’t need to keep having that message forced down their throats by Exodus, it IS what is confusing them. If anything society needs to recognize this imbalance and favour the message that its okay to be gay over the message that its wrong. That would be doing the right thing.
Singer you said “I’m sorry for any psychological torture you feel you’ve endured.”. You’re implying any psychological torture exists only in my mind, not in the actions of Exodus and a rejecting society. I don’t need your discrediting statements disguished as sincere concern. Your ongoing attempts to soft peddle the idea that its good to reject same sex attractions lumps you in with those I consider responsible for the pain of rejection I’ve felt since the age of eight.
Posted by: Randi Schimnosky at June 28, 2006 01:38 PM
That makes sense, thanks.
From this interchange I get the feeling that you will find a way to be offended by pretty much anything I post in this thread, and will discount the sincerity of virtually any statement of sympathy or support I might make.
That said, I’m going to bow out of this discussion now.
Singer, it’s not just Randi.
When you say something like this:
“If all that we as a society offered our questioning youth was one path, be it “you must embrace a gay identity” or “you must embrace a heterosexual identity”, we would do to them the same disservice many of us received.”
It appears that you believe that society actually tells questioning youth that they ‘must accept a gay identity’ simply because there has recently been more acceptance of homosexuality so that young people do not feel they need to be ashamed of having same sex attractions. Exodus’ position is that homosexuality IS something that people should be ashamed of and they consistently misrepresent gay people as miserable, suffering victims of some kind of abuse who are in need of change. Randi is simply stating that Exodus is not providing a positive service, but seeking to bring back the stigma of shame. I agree.
I wish that the people who needed to read and understand this, would. You called them on their hypocrisy so well.
Show an image to a kid = recruitment
Give a kid multiple choices = recruitment
Actively seek to remove all other options in a kid’s mind, censor media, and scare his or her parents = guiding of the willing?