Two ex-gay ministries from mainline US denominations announced this week that they will be merging with Exodus International.

One by One, representing Presbyterian and Reformed Christians, and Transforming Congregations, from the United Methodist Church, will join together to “break the polarizing debate over homosexuality through an approach that is both biblically orthodox and truly compassionate,” according to Exodus.

The two ministries will continue to have their own identity as “departments” within Exodus.

It appears the main reason for the merger is the isolation of conservatives in mainline churches, increasingly accepting of LGBT Christians. Exodus Vice-President Randy Thomas says the intention is to “reduce the culture-war dichotomy” by “speaking into it redemptively. … [We’re] saying we can hold on to truth but at the same time have compassion, have grace, have mercy.”

Alas, the claim to be forging a middle way beyond the culture war rings rather hollow. The “non-politically involved” Exodus has continuously brushed aside gay rights, denying marriage equality and diminishing the victims of hate crime, in its attempts to protect prejudice and discrimination. Forgive me if this looks like suspiciously like preparation for just another salvo in the culture war.

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