In March of 2008, Exodus International announced it was leaving the realm of public policy to focus on what they claim is the heart of their organization, ministering to troubled same-sex attracted people. XGW applauded this move as one in the right direction. But since that time, their actions have spoken very differently. This past week, Randy Thomas made clear why imposing their religious views on the rest of America is so important to Exodus.
Back in 1997-1998 I was complaining to some Exodus leaders about their involvement in public policy. They were very kind and heard me out. But one of them said to me, “Randy, do you know how many times I have defended the gay community in the meetings I go to in Washington DC?”
I looked shocked and haltingly answered, ” … uh … no.”
Then he asked, “Do you know how many bad ideas we have shot down, or tried to prevent, because of how awful and stigmatizing they would be to the gay community and ourselves?”
The specific “bad ideas that would be expoitative for us and them” are not mentioned. On the surface, it sounds like they could be talking about employment non-discrimination, religious freedom for gay-friendly places of worship, and respect for the privacy of an individual’s bedroom. The next paragraph is telling, however.
I hated to admit it but I hadn’t even thought they would be there for that reason as well. I just thought they went and simply parroted what the ” far right” wanted them to say. Then he went on to say that he was there because he genuinely believed in the issues they addressed. He believed that public policy afforded more opportunities for tragic consequences for those dealing with same sex attractions. He explained that with every pro-gay policy that is passed and implemented, the cost of repentance and the potential consequences rise considerably. [Emphasis added]
In a declaration that may leave Orwell turning in his grave, Exodus tells us that gays need to be saved from their own desire for freedom and equality under the law, by being denied those very things. Otherwise, gays will be less likely to feel ashamed that they are gay, and even perhaps turn to organizations like Exodus to facilitate their “repentance.” And of course, Randy immediately felt ashamed he had suggested otherwise.
It was so much easier to buy into the false assumption that public policy was somehow outside the realm of ministry in general and Exodus in particular. I felt convicted for wrongly judging him. I thought that I was “moderate” but in reality … I was more judgmental than he was. [Emphasis added]
So, it turns out that public policy is not outside the realm of ministry in general, and Exodus in particular. It is well within their purpose for existing. Randy expresses his strong personal connection to it, and his opinion that it is vital to stay involved in it. He then ties all of this into the Jenkins-Miller custody battle.
In his view, if Miller and Jenkins had not been allowed to enter into a civil union and then conceive daughter Isabella via artificial insemination, none of these troubling events would have occurred.
Public policy through civil union legislation and the court system facilitated this contract, now broken, between Lisa [Miller] and Janet [Jenkins]. The decisions they made as a lesbian couple are having consequences today even though they are not together and haven’t been for over almost a decade.
Like many families that go through divorce, all parties are devastated and going through a difficult time of transition. But Randy praises the true reason for the rift: Miller’s decision to identify as “ex-gay,” and beyond that, deny visitation and then custody to her former spouse. Instead he places the blame on the public policy of Vermont: if we let gays enter into legal relationships and raise children in those relationships, tragedy will inevitably occur. Same sex couples need to be saved from themselves by being denied the ability to legally declare their union.
All that aside, Miller’s decision to “repent” is not what has driven much of the recent controversy surrounding this case – it’s her decision to run into hiding with her daughter after years of breaking the law that has driven it.
Intimacy is not a commodity to be bartered or option easily discarded. It is an investment of one’s heart and soul. These type of investments always have consequences.
Randy writes this as though Jenkins and Miller obtained a civil union on a whim, as opposed to a mutual decision to commit for life. He fails to mention that it was Miller who broke the union by declaring herself “no longer gay,” and of course he leaves out the fact that these statements apply equally to all relationships, including heterosexual ones. As most are probably aware, half of all marriages in the US end in divorce.
That is why God is so specific and clear about His will concerning relationships in the scriptures.
And Randy and Exodus know exactly what that will is.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of the Exodus article is the confidence that Exodus has in their belief that they are “defending” the gay community. They say with the utmost sincerity that their views on public policy prevent the stigmatization of gays. This brings to mind a famous C.S. Lewis quote that has been posted here before:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.