Analysis of Alan Chambers on CNN – XGW Original Video
Earlier this month Alan was on Anderson Cooper 360 and made some very interesting statements about “change” in three weeks, gay Christians, and his own reasons for leaving homosexuality. Rest assured I’ve done my homework and found Alan and Exodus’ track record on these things don’t match up. Most dramatic is Melissa Fryrear’s claim she’s met exgays who changed instantaneously. Oh yes… we have audio of her saying that at Love Won Out Phoenix. Just watch the video.[googlevideo]-5477987282460690780[/googlevideo]
Video on YouTube / Google Video
Transcript after the jump.
COOPER: It’s been an interesting couple months of Ted Haggard, to say the least. First, there were the allegations involving a male prostitute. Then, after undergoing what is described as intensive counseling, the evangelist says he’s, quote, “completely heterosexual.” Like I said, it’s been interesting. Alan Chambers is the president of Exodus International, an organization that claims to turn gay people straight, and Mark Shields is with the Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group. Gentlemen, I appreciate you being on the program.[quick cut]
COOPER: Alan, you believe it is possible to stop being gay. Ted Haggard, though, says that he — this is something he wrestled with his entire life. Does it make sense to you that he was able to stop this allegedly in three weeks of counseling?
CHAMBERS: Well, the truth is that’s not my story, and it’s not the story of anyone I’ve ever met. I don’t know Ted Haggard’s journey over the last three weeks, but like Mark, I would say that it’s something that — it doesn’t seem like something that is really the case.[cut]
NARRATION: Here’s audio of what former Lesbian Melissa Fryrear said at an Exodus conference in Phoenix only four days later.
FRYREAR: I know some people that God and it’s their testimony that god did an instantaneous work and they never have had homosexual thought or temptation or idea again in their lives and moved on to heterosexuality, that identity, marriage, children and it was an instantaneous moment for them.[cut]
COOPER: So you entered the counseling. Do you still have attraction to men? You’re just choosing not to act on it?
CHAMBERS: My attraction greatly diminished over the course of many years. Sixteen years into it, my life isn’t even remotely the same as it once was, but I often say that I will never be as though I never was. And the truth is that I’m a human being. And for me to say that I could never be attracted to men again, or that I couldn’t be tempted would mean that I’m not human, and that’s just not the case.[cut]
COOPER: Alan, what was it about being gay that you found, I guess, distasteful enough that would lead you into this lifelong journey?[quick cut]
CHAMBERS: And the truth is I didn’t leave homosexuality because it was so bad. I left it because I found something better…[cut]
NARRATION: Alan’s claim of leaving homosexuality not because it was bad but because he found something better is inconsistent with Alan’s own testimony posted on Exodus’ website in which he states, “I also became addicted to anonymous sexual encounters, which lacked the relationship that I was really craving” and “homosexuality was an illegitimate way to meet a legitimate need.”[cut]
CHAMBERS: And for those of us — and there are thousands of people just like me — who choose to live beyond their feelings, who choose to move beyond the issue of homosexuality, we live wonderful lives.[cut]
NARRATION: Again, this statement by Alan claiming “former homosexuals” number in the “thousands” is grossly inconsistent with previous claims. Here he was quoted saying “hundreds of thousands” by WorldNetDaily.com. And here Alan claims “tens of thousands” on NARTH’s website, which is an association of gay conversion therapists. Of course Anderson Cooper’s audience is much less, um… extremist than either World Net Daily or NARTH so it’s not surprising to see Alan tailor his message to something they’d find more believable.
COOPER: And is that based on a belief that you cannot be Christian and gay? I mean, is the wonderful life you’re talking about a religious life which you feel was not accessible to you as an openly, proud, happy gay man?
CHAMBERS: Not at all. I think that there are plenty of gay people out there who are Christians, as well, but for me, homosexuality wasn’t compatible with my faith, and my faith was much more important than that.[cut]
NARRATION: Although Alan has a personal record of acknowledging the existence of gay Christians, his organization, Exodus goes out of its way to convince people you can’t be gay and Christian. Here in Exodus’ online bookstore one can purchase a booklet titled “responding to pro gay theology” in which it is explained why homosexuality and Christianity are scripturally incompatable. And in Exodus’ book “God’s Grace and the Homosexual next door” page 218 reads: The sin is in identifying with anything that is contrary to Christ, which homosexuality clearly is.[END TRANSCRIPT]
I just do not get what motivates people like Alan Chambers. Perhaps it comes down to the ends justifying the means. Perhaps he thinks that all of his lies and all of his changing explanations about his change and Exodus’ work are justified, because he is doing God’s work. I don’t think that the cause of Christianity could possibly be helped by lies and dishonesty.
“What I found in my life is that I had lasting change, a change in identity and something that I don’t feel tempted to be involved in homosexuality at all,” Chambers told Family News in Focus. “It took probably eight years for me to find freedom from the attractions and the desires that really held me captive for decades. But I believe that I have a heterosexual identity.” – Alan Chambers 2/23/07 Family News in Focus (Gay Pressure Threatens Counseling)
My attraction greatly diminished over the course of many years. Sixteen years into it, my life isn’t even remotely the same as it once was, but I often say that I will never be as though I never was. And the truth is that I’m a human being. And for me to say that I could never be attracted to men again, or that I couldn’t be tempted would mean that I’m not human, and that’s just not the case. – Chambers CNN w/ Anderson Cooper
Calling the real Alan Chambers! Dude, you confuse the ever-loving heck out of me. What a shining example of Christ who, believe it or not, did not change His message depending on His audience. Your contradictory messages don’t serve you well at all. You’ve admitted to being a liar prior to escaping homosexuality’s clutches. You apparently have been cured of your “homosexuality” what with having that self-diagnosed heterosexual identity now, but your compulsive twisting of the truth to fit your audience apparently hasn’t changed one iota. Which sincerely makes your message on change awfully suspect. Perhaps the real reason you don’t or can’t get your message straight is because you know the truth that you’re scared to let anyone in on – that the change you proclaim isn’t really change at all…rather a hope (You know…name it and claim it).
So, if it’s possible to be gay and Christian, as Alan has just stated on CNN, then what’s the point of Exodus existing?
Notice also what Alan is not saying in that interview. At no point does he claim, as Melissa does in her “Love Won Out” statement, that anyone has changed into pure and total heterosexuality. He talks about his life being changed, but the possibility of being “tempted” still out there, and he talks about:
And for those of us — and there are thousands of people just like me — who choose to live beyond their feelings, who choose to move beyond the issue of homosexuality, we live wonderful lives
Sounds to me like a bunch of people who have decided to behave in a certain way, but have not changed their underlying feelings or biological make-up.
The king (or queen) of double speak and word play strikes again.
CHAMBERS AC: My attraction greatly diminished over the course of many years.
CHAMBERS CL: I don’t feel tempted to be involved in homosexuality at all
CHAMBERS AC: for me to say that I could never be attracted to men again, or that I couldn’t be tempted would mean that I’m not human, and that’s just not the case.
CHAMBERS CL: What I found in my life is that I had lasting change…I believe that I have a heterosexual identity.
Another HRC spokesman parroting the same lines? Someone from XGW or Wayne Besen would have made a better impact opposing Chambers’ deceitfulness.
A Wayne Besen/Alan Chambers smackdown moderated by Anderson Cooper!
I’d pay to watch.
Steve remarked: “So, if it’s possible to be gay and Christian, as Alan has just stated on CNN, then what’s the point of Exodus existing?”
Alan stated that you can be both gay and Christian? Wow! He better not let Frank Worthen of LIA hear this. Frank believes that the two terms are mutually exclusive and that any person who calls themselves a “gay Christian” is “anathema”, “cursed” and “greatly to be detested” — “condemned” by the very label he applies.
Then you have Joe Dallas admitting that “exgay” is really just a “convenient” way to refer to a homosexual Christian who wishes he didn’t have the “tendendcies” — “it just rolls off the tongue easier.” Maybe EXODUS leaders should hold a conference to get their act together.
Newsflash for Alan:
Heterosexual men are not ever tempted by other men.
If you, as a man, are even occasionally tempted to be attracted to other men that does not mean you are merely human. It means you are GAY!
I disagree Sharon —
Personally, I would classify someone whose sexual attractions are 90 percent or greater toward the opposite gender as heterosexual. I would classify someone with moderate sexual attraction to the same gender as bisexual. It concerns me when people try to redefine and muddy terms such as “homosexual” or “gay.”
I don’t really follow what’s going on here. Yes, MANY of these statements are inconsistent with things Alan has said in the past. I guess my concern is, people’s opinions change, statements get moderated by coming into contact with those you disagree with. If Alan is saying things now that are a step forward from previous statements, why is that a BAD thing?
I guess the question on the floor for me is, has Alan learned something and changed, or is he just moderating his message to reflect his audience?
These are all very recent statements by Alan, so I don’t see any learning-and-unlearning occurring. He’s misleading different audiences in different ways within a very short time frame.
I’m reminded of the old joke:
How do you tell when a politician is lying?
His lips are moving.
melissa seemed to have trouble saying the word heterosexuality.
I know this is off topic. But I want you all to know about my friend Joan Krantz.
I lost a dear friend Monday morning. I was out of town when she was first stricken last week. And now she’s gone.
I want you to know, that she was a wife of forty years to husband Steven….and mother to two sons, Jeff and Paul.
Steven is president of our local chapter for PFLAG and Joanie was a fierce PFLAG mom and advocate for marriage equality. Traveling up to Sacramento and giving the politicos what for.
She was a small woman, with big, bright brown eyes. Lovely and delicate-and mighty in her outreach.
I’m sort of numb and exhausted right now. I will miss her. So, so much.
PFLAG parents are the greatest. PFLAG is anathema to Exodus and every other group that would tell a mother like her, her son isn’t fit to walk the earth….unless he was Christian.
Don’t mess with Jewish moms like Joan on that tip either ALAN CHAMBERS!
Joan, I hope is watching over all over us….especially the gay sons and daughters she represented everywhere.
But especially her best friend and son, Paul.
Rest sister Joan….respect will be paid.
‘It concerns me when people try to redefine and muddy terms such as “homosexual” or “gay.”’
As valid as these concerns are, Mike, I’m not sure it’s possible to muddy up already-muddy terms like “homosexual” or “gay”, both of which seem to mean different things to different people. “Homosexual” (and “heterosexual” and “bisexual”, for that matter), seems to be especially problematic, since there doesn’t seem to be any way to set a definitive point upon the continuum of human sexuality. Your 90% is no less arbitrary than Sharon’s 100% and surely says nothing about the way an individual might self-identify. When I say, “I’m homosexual,” what I mean by that is not likely to match up to what anyone else assumes that word means. While I might agree with you that having sexual attractions for other men does not make one gay, I also agree with Sharon that having sexual attractions for other men does eliminate one from the straight camp. Otherwise, the terms are meaningless.
I think that’s a weakness of the entire discussion about sexuality in general. Until such time as we can all agree on just what part of the continuum falls under “homosexual territory” what falls under “heterosexual territory” and what falls under “bisexual territory” it’s all pretty muddy.
Here’s how it gets muddy: Trying to quantify by degrees or percentage or on a scale just how homo/hetero you are. There is no valid measuring system…so quit quantifying. Saying anything like: “I’m 90% this or that” is plain silly because you have no way to measure such a complex and a non-quantitative quotient as human sexuality.
It’s like being left handed…you either are or you are not. (groan) I know…I know someone will bring up the characteristic of being ambidextrous but … how do you measure just how left-handed someone is? Judging his penmanship with either hand would be arbitrary. Or how far he can kick a ball with either foot? Not really valid. The same goes for measuring someone’s sexual orientation…just how do you quantitatively measure it?
If we could eliminate all outside influences: peer pressure, religious guilt, societal taboos…just how many would admit to being excited about same-sex sex? These sets of conditions are impossible to conduct in a scientific manner but I still will postulate: You either are attracted sexually to the opposite sex or you are not. And if you are attracted sexually to the same-sex in any way… (ding!)… you’re gay.
Therefore: Mr. Chambers: gay. Put a check in the box next to Homosexual on his fact sheet.
I have been blogging back and forth to Ed Hurst — one the the earliest EXODUS leaders and still a proponent of ex-gay therapy. I challenged him on the use of the term ex-gay. Here are some of his particularly revealing comments:
1. “I just want to clarify that the term ‘ex-gay’ was never meant to be misleading; instead, it was meant to be provocative.”
2. “We KNEW we weren’t hetero; as described above, we were no longer homo…so we came up with a new term that said we were no longer gay identified.” (Notice he doesn’t say “we were no longer gay”)
3. “I personally believe that the day after an ex-gay man decides he is beyond temptation, he will be tempted again.”
In other words, people like Ed Hurst, Joe Dallas and Alan Chambers are all still homosexually oriented (straight men are not) and the terms they use are meant to be provocative, not descriptive. Joe Dallas says the term was “convenient”. Ed Hurst explains it was a publicity tactic: “It was intended to make the media ask us what we were about so that we could talk about the somewhat unique journey we had undertaken.”
In my view, Christian ministries have a particular responsibility to be clear and honest about their message — not make up “convenient” and “provocative” new labels to attract publicity and manipulate the media.
Except, cowboy, you ignore bisexuality completely. Unless you want to assert that one can be both gay and straight at the same time, stating that someone is definitively gay if they have same-sex attractions “in any way” is not at all more clear than assigning a percentage to each orientation. I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to redefine sexual orientations in such a way as to make certain dishonesties on the part of certain ex-gays seem plausible.
If having same-sex attractions in any way makes one gay, having opposite-sex attrac tions in any way would thus make one straight, no? So under your assertion, one can be both gay and straight at the same time. That means that when somone like Alan claims to be straight, he could very well be correct, regardless of his same-sex attractions.
This is why I point out that the terms are all too arbitrary to be of any use whatsoever.
Most medical personnel are trained not to ask if someone is gay, striaght or bisexual. Instead, it is generally recommended that you ask the person if they have sex with men, women or both.
With regard to the ex-gay folks, the better question is to ask if they are attracted to men, women or both. Although it is highly unlikely that a professional ex-gay will give you a straight (pardon the pun) answer.
As to Alan Chambers in particular, he recently declared himself completely heterosexual to Terry Gross on NPR’s “Fresh Air” program. By whatever percentage arguement , you would have to interpret that as a 100% heterosexual declaration. Even though Alan generally appears very comfortable with his lies, he seems to be softening on this one with his “I’m only human, etc” line.
It would be so refreshing if the ex-gay movement was honest and said that they have no way of turning a gay person straight. They just advocate that gay people not engage in gay sex. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be anywhere near as attractive to the desparate person who is struggling with their gay feelings. People would also be very unlikely to put out the money that the ex-gay groups demand just to encourage them to remain celebate.
I think that we all are missing the most important part – currently within our culture these words have accepted meaning. In common useage “gay” means solely or primarily attracted to the same sex, “bisexual” means attracted to both sexes fairly evenly, and “straight” means attracted solely or primarily to the opposite sex.
We can argue amongst ourselves and Alan can quibble all he likes but with language it comes down to understanding. If you use words to deliberately portray an image or understanding that is false, then you are being deceptive.
When you tell the public “I’m walking free from homosexuality” you cannot pretend that you think they understand that your subconcious attractions are still toward the same sex. And it is this deliberate deception that is at the base of this discussion, not what percentage of attractions makes one gay vs. bi.
Robi, I don’t ignore bisexuality…I guess this discussion might protract into a debate about bisexuality so, I ask: Does it exist? And by whose definition? What constitutes a clear sexual attraction to the opposite sex? Just because you can have sex with someone of the opposite sex does that make you bisexual?
Definitions…Maybe EGW (XGW?) needs a lexicon/appendix for terms on what constitutes an ex-gay, a former-gay, a bisexual, a full-fledged homo or a naked-lady-mud-flap-trucker hetero.
The media (particularly TV) needs to have definitive definitions and do some clarification on what defining term(s) they display underneath people like Mr. Chambers. I don’t completely fault the media…because definitions are muddy even here within our own group on EGW.
I’m still in the binary mode: you are or you are not.
I agree with Mr. Kincaid. I posted without seeing his post.
Regarding beng honest about using language, John wrote that it would be “refreshing” if “change ministries” clarified their terms. He is completely right when he says, “unfortunately, that wouldn’t be anywhere near as attractive to the desparate person who is struggling with their gay feelings.” And, according to Ed Hurst, not nearly as attractive to the media.
NPR recently published an article about the recent LWO conference in Phoenix in which Chambers said much the same thing (See: (See: Church Hosts Conference on ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy).
cowboy, it’s a bit disingenuous to question whether bisexuality exists when acknowledging that homosexuality is having attractions to the same sex and heterosexuality is having attractions to the opposite sex. Are you suggesting that it is not possible to have attractions to both sexes? Because that’s the only conclusion I can come to when you ask if bisexuality exists. I would gently suggest that such a question is an attempt to avoid the ramifications of statements like “if you are attracted sexually to the same-sex in any way… (ding!)… you’re gay.” That’s no better than the kind of weasel wordplay that groups like Exodus play.
And that’s my main point: we have to be careful when we use words in a way that is politically advantageous for us while finding fault with the way ex-gay interests use those same words in advantageous ways (and I’m not saying Alan is doing that here, BTW—I’ll use plain language and say that he is straight-out lying). I disagree with Timothy, because I disagree that these words have any practical meaning in common usage. When we have studies in which 10% of a particular population are self-identifying as straight but are sexually active exclusively with same-sex partners (as just one example), we can easily see that the meanings of these words have a very wide range depending upon how the individual views themselves. Because self-identification is such an integral part of how anyone uses those words, there really is no such thing as common usage beyond the common denominator of “those who like same-sex are homo, those who like opposite sex are hetero and those who like both are bi.” Any attempt to place a sense of degree on those words is futile.
Robis, I’m clearly not going to win this debate. There is a markedly edukation imbalance here. Therefore I cannot be condescending and I promise I’m not trying to be flippant when I say: I am disingenuous, I guess. Yes, I am saying it is not possible to have sexual attractions to both sexes. For me, sexual attraction is absolute but I see where it can be dangerous to hold that view when societal toleration is at stake.
Ya see, I’m afflicted with BMS…(Brokeback Mountain Syndrome). I could relate to the feelings of the Jack and the Ennis characters in the story and I realize I could never come close to sharing those same feelings with a woman.
So…before the editors of EGW tells us to go to our respective corners and duke it out I just want to say, I appreciate what you say and I am trying to understand.
Fair enough, then, cowboy. I’m flummoxed by the position of only recognizing those things which you personally have perspective on, but if it serves you well in your personal life, far be it from me to judge….
Gay, Bi, Whatever!
Alan’s carefully weaseled words are craftily spoken to give everyone the impression that he is HETEROSEXUAL. He is a spokesperson for Exodus because he is purporting to be 100% heterosexual, as that is the message his audience understands. 100% heterosexuals are not attracted to other men, period. We can debate percentages, but the message Alan is trying to peddle is complete change being completely possible.
If he were honest in saying that only his behavior has changed, but his attractions are the same (whether gay or bi). His keepers would yank the welcome mat out from under him. The RR would also loose the capstone on their argument on why they think GLBT persons should be criminalized. It is a lie of omission and it is premeditated.
Regan: Sorry to hear of your friend’s death.
Moderator Comment (DR): While we appreciate the kudos, this post had to be deleted due to multiple profanities, personal slander and disclosure of personal information, phone, address, etc. bluechipcowboy, you are welcome to comment but please keep things civil and on topic. You must also provide an authentic email address (which will not be disclosed). Thanks.
Good going. You have made a pivotal step in your life now.
During a long drive over the desert a friend once told me a French philosopher said something to the effect:
It struck a cord with me…or illuminated the abyss much like so many people who feel “trapped” and then see the light. It made me re-evaluate my core beliefs, my life and my morals.
The challenge now is to formulate what you will make of your future. Learn from your “good” friends and contrast them with those who lead self-destructive, self-hating and bitter lives. Associate with good people and learn from them. There are erudite, self-actualized and genuinely altruistic people out there…and yes…some of them are gay. Pick the right group to be associated with.
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. Andre Gide – French critic, essayist, & novelist (1869 – 1951)
I’ve have cut&pasted that! Thanks SharonB! You’re so good to give us the proper accredited quote. If I didn’t think I would get electrocuted I would kiss this LCD monitor for what you just provided on my screen.
Reading other things on this blog today, I think a Mr. Chambers might ponder this Frenchman’s quote.
We have a diverse sense of what is being “liberated”. I feel liberated in being hated. Strange, but true. But you understand.
Glad to see you here too, but I’m sure you’re going to get a severe talking to about your language when our editor wakes up and gets his head out of his crispy-puffs and finishes his coffee.
If the post vanishes it will because of the language, not “what” you said. The F-word has no hope in hell of staying here!
Obviously you’re thoroughly burned by what’s happened, but glad to see you’ve got away from it all — and welcome.