In Straight to Jesus, Tanya Erzen notes that after Alan Chambers took the helm of Exodus International in 2001 the organization became much more political. Prior to 2001, the statement of intent was
Exodus is an international Christian effort to reach homosexuals and lesbians. Exodus upholds God’s standard of righteousness and holiness, which declares that homosexuality is sin and affirms His love and redemptive power to recreate the individual. It is the goal of Exodus International to communicate this message to the Church, the gay community, and to society.
Today Exodus International’s mission statement reads:
Proclaiming to, educating and impacting the world with the Biblical truth that freedom from homosexuality is possible when Jesus is Lord of one’s life.
Missing is any mention of actual gay people or efforts to reach them. The message of love and redemption is gone and communication with the Church is replaced with impacting the world.
Perhaps this change in purpose was necessary for Exodus to take its part in the culture war against the lives of gay people. When you’re making a Christian effort to reach people, you can’t also campaign to take away their healthcare. But when you’re impacting the world, you don’t have to care who you hurt in the process.
The greatest victims of this shift may be those Exodus was created to serve. Erzen noted:
Most men at New Hope balk at the label “anti-gay”. In conversations, they often opposed any legislative efforts against gay civil rights, and they frequently spoke of their own identification with gay men and women, even as they rejected that label for themselves. … They assert that they have a right to change their sexuality and participate in ministries, but they also feel their stories should not be appropriated by larger organizations to promulgate a message that they feel is misleading and false.
I believe that in their efforts to move forward with a political agenda and in order to give its leaders a higher profile in the political landscape, Exodus has abandoned not only gay and lesbian people and the gay community, but also those ex-gay strugglers that Exodus and its leaders so freely claim to represent.