A post titled Ugandan Statement Issued From Exodus Board & North American Leaders appeared on the official Exodus blog today.  To our knowledge, this is the first official statement on the issue from Exodus.

Last November, a letter signed by Exodus president Alan Chambers, vice president Randy Thomas, Christopher Yuan of Moody Bible Institute and Grove City professor Warren Throckmorton was sent to Ugandan president Museveni.  That letter condemned the Anti-Homosexuality Bill being considered there but was not signed by a member of the board and was not a statement but a letter.

The statement released today is certainly welcome and anything which helps dissuade Ugandans from enacting such an inhumane law is a good thing. However, there is no way around the glaring fact that this statement is extremely late.  Mega-Pastor Rick Warren made a rather bold statement, both in a video and a letter directly to President Museveni, last December.  And the original conference which put this legislation in overdrive occurred over a year ago.  An Exodus board member, Don Schmierer, attended that conference and signed today’s statement.

No one can go back and undo the past, but we sincerely hope that Exodus leadership can take lessons from this.  Be very careful when becoming involved with potential hot-spots abroad — know who you are dealing with and the effect your message can have, especially when no healthy counterbalance exists.  And act fast to admit mistakes and minimize the damage you might have done, whether intentional or not.

The official statement from Exodus:

Exodus International believes that every human life, regardless of an individual’s sexual behavior, is of inestimable worth to God and that defending this principle is foundational in offering a Christian response to any issue. As such, Exodus International has not and will not support any legislation that deprives others of life and dignity including, but not limited to, Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009. We stand with all who are defending this basic, biblical tenet and remain committed to sharing the compassion, hope and life-giving truth and grace of Jesus Christ.

In November of 2009, several of us sent a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and First Lady Musenevi expressing our concerns regarding The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009. The legislation would render some homosexual practices crimes punishable by life imprisonment and possible death. We believe that sexual crimes against children, whether committed by someone of the same or opposite sex, are the most serious of offenses and should be punished; we consider same-sex behavior in consensual adult relationships another matter.

Since the Bible clearly states that homosexual behavior was not part of God’s creative intent for human sexual expression, the Christian church must remain a safe, compassionate and confidential place. If homosexual behavior and knowledge of such behavior is criminalized and prosecuted, as proposed in this bill, church and ministry leaders will be unable to assist hurting men, women and youth who might otherwise seek help in addressing this personal issue. The Christian church must be permitted to extend the love and compassion of Christ to all, regardless of an individual’s adherence to scripture. We believe that such legislation would make this mission a difficult, if not impossible, task to carry out.

Many of us, and those we know and work with, have personally struggled with same-sex attractions and some have lived as gay-identified individuals, but we have since found a new identity in Jesus Christ. We now live our lives to reflect the transformation that is available to those who submit their mind, will and emotions to the Lordship of Christ. We sincerely believe that such transformation cannot be achieved in an environment of government coercion where the vital support, care and compassion of the Christian community is discouraged and prosecuted. In addition, it wasn’t through coercion that Christ set us free, but through the gracious invitation He extended to us for relationship and the freedom He gave us to choose our own path.

Alan Chambers
Exodus International

Rev. Bob Ragan
Regeneration of Northern Virginia
Chairman of the Board, Exodus International
Exodus Membership Council

Mike Goeke
Counseling Pastor
Stonegate Fellowship
Vice Chairman of the Board, Exodus International

Jayson Graves, M.MFT
Christian counselor & Neurotherapist
Healing for the Soul
Secretary of the Board, Exodus International

Clark and Martha Whitten
Grace Church
Treasurer of the Board, Exodus International

Jeff Winter
Board Member, Exodus International
Founder, One by One

Don and Diana Schmierer
Board Members, Exodus International

Bob Stith
National Strategist for Gender Issues
Southern Baptist Convention
Chairman of the Board , Living Hope Ministries
Board Member, Exodus International

Melissa A. Ingraham, MA, NCC
Mental Health Counselor
Christian Counseling Center

McKrae Game
Executive Director
Truth Ministry

Dave and Diane Rasmussen
Simon Ministries

Tony Moore
Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator
Exodus International

Tommy Corman
Executive Director
Love In Action International

Jim Katsoudas
Executive Director
Clean Heart Ministries

Kenny Warkentin
Resource Outreach Coordinator
Living Waters Central Region

Gregory C. Wallace
Executive Director
Hope & New Life Ministries

Mark Culligan
New Hearts Outreach

Tammi Wilds
Interim Director
New Hearts Outreach

Ryan Ortega
Client Relations & Technical Support
New Hearts Outreach

Bob Jones
Executive Director
Fresh Word Ministries

Ron Smith
New Hope Ministries

Russell Willingham
Executive Director
New Creation Ministries

Mike Levenhagen
Reclamation Resource Center

Richard Holloman
Executive Director
The Sight Ministry

Billie Jimenez
Florida Regional Coordinator
Exodus International

Judy Williams
In His Time Ministry

Sonia Balcer
Safe Passage

Warren Lamb, Th.M.

Pastor, Truth In Love Fellowship
Director, Vancouver Bible Institute

Stephen Black
First Stone Ministries
Exodus Membership Council

Jim Venice
Executive Director
Clean Heart Ministries

Jerry Armelli
Prodigal Ministries

Michael R. Newman

Executive Director
Christian Coalition for Reconciliation

Allen Hildreth

Walking in Freedom Ministries

Lewis E. Palmer & Carol A. Palmer

Director and Co-Director
Love and Grace Ministry

Jim Duran
Lead Pastor
The River Community

Randy Thomas

Executive Vice President
Exodus International

Paula Mcnabb
Director of Business and Public Affairs
Exodus International

David Fountain

Senior Director of Communications and Events
Exodus International

Leslie Chambers

Director of Ministry Events
Exodus International

Chris Stump
Director of Exodus Books
Exodus International

Jeff Buchanan
Director of Church Association
Exodus International

Angela Buchanan

Director of Communications
Exodus International

Kristin Tremba
Director of One By One
Exodus International

Dr. Marc Dillworth
Director of the Professional Counselor Network
Exodus International

Terri Brown
Director of Exodus Membership
Exodus International

Karen Eaglin

Director of Equipping Events
Exodus International

Paul Webster
Director of Ministry Advancement
Exodus International

Yvette Schneider

Director of Women’s Ministry
Exodus International

Amber Russelburg
Exodus International

Melissa Condrey
Exodus International

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