Exodus President Alan Chambers will speak at the late Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. The theme of the February 12th conference is “Consequences of Same-Gender Attraction.” The description sounds familiar, with tired jargon and old assumptions:
Those struggling with same-sex attractions need understanding and hope for a life without conflict, so it is imperative to understand the implications of same-sex attraction and the broader homosexual agenda. The broader homosexual agenda has politicized radicalism of homosexuality that is aggressive and intent on trampling upon the fundamental freedoms of anyone who may disapprove.
This conference is vitally important because the conference will focus on the issues underlying same-sex attractions as well as the legal implications of same-sex relationships.
The second day will focus on the legal implications arising from the clash between the quest for homosexual rights and freedom of speech, religion and association.
The topic of “underlying issues” suggests ex-gay theories of causation, where one’s life story is contorted to fit a pseudo-Freudian reparative framework, allowing the confused and shamed to point and say, “There, that’s what caused all this,” while for years their testimonies will be honed on stages, in pulpits and on conference room floors. Chambers, gay-free and with a wife and two children, is usually brought out as a sort of proof, an ex-gay success story.
But although this is troubling, it is expected – that’s what the show is about. Chambers is not expected to stop doing that; at least I do not expect him to. But as is often the case, there is more sinister stuff here, and an almost unbelievable poor judgment by the Exodus chief, on a level not seen since last year’s Uganda Homosexuality Conference.
Readers may recall that, after intolerable delays, Exodus seemed to finally get the issue with Uganda. They issued a statement that was pretty clear (after a false start) and wrote a letter directly to the Ugandan President expressing strong disagreement with the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, legislation which we continue to believe was at least partly fueled by the March 5th, 2009 conference. Some things have happened since then, and the world has been nearly unanimous in opposition to this bill, but some have taken the opportunity to become even more shrill, even daring to claim that the Ugandans have the right idea.
Another conference contributor, Robert Knight, sounds like such a person. He recently defended Scott Lively from criticism in an earlier NYT article, saying:
I don’t know Mr. [Caleb Lee] Brundidge, but I do know Mr. Lively and Mr. Schmierer. Both are honest and courageous men who, out of Christian compassion, dare to tell the truth about homosexuality. For this, the Times brands them as hatemongers.
While Mr. Lively has written perceptively and passionately about countering the homosexual activists’ political and cultural agenda, there is no evidence of “hate.” Trying to steer someone away from destructive, immoral, changeable behavior is an act of love, not hate.
For those few who may not yet have read about him, Lively has made a life’s work of falsely denigrating GLBTs and recklessly inflaming the hatred and bigotry already present in some non-western regions of the world. He boasts that he knows more about homosexuality than almost any other person. Fancying himself a researcher and historian, he published a book called The Pink Swastika which purports to offer historical evidence that the Nazis were really radical gays and that the modern gay rights movement is an outgrowth of them.
Lively met with government leaders in Uganda just before the Anti-Homosexuality Bill there was offered up, death penalty and all. He is a major figure in this, and he has earned his hate group standing with the SPLC. For Knight to offer the passionate defense quoted above is almost unconscionable. And yet Chambers will participate in a conference where such attitudes are apparently welcome and part of the mix. This is a colossal slap in the face to those in Uganda, and here, who might actually have put some trust in his earlier actions.
Adding insult to injury, also participating is Liberty Counsel Dean Matt Barber. Barber does his best to “re-stigmatize” homosexuality (a la Peter LaBarbera). One of his recent utterances even managed to draw fire from Exodus VP Randy Thomas. A Google search will give a clear picture of Barber, but here we have a recent, personal conflict between Barber and Exodus, one that Chambers must know about.
When called out in such situations, Chambers usually has one of two reactions. He will either claim to be going to represent “the moderate voice,” a defense of “gay- identified” people if you will. Or he will appear clueless. The latter would be hard to claim here, at least credibly.
This is just another occasion when the right thing to do should be screaming out to Chambers, and yet he doesn’t do it. This is what got Exodus so deep on the wrong side of the Uganda issue, and it’s what leads others to distrust most anything Exodus says. Again, they’ve earned it, and they keep on earning it.