After witnessing Exodus’s inexcusable inaction on the anti-gay bill that would effectively see all Uganda’s “practicing” homosexuals and their supporters executed, Ex-Gay Watch (justifiably) wondered what exactly it would take to spur Exodus into immediate, urgent action.
We found our answer. Number of days it takes Exodus to respond to the threat to tens of thousands of homosexual and heterosexual lives? 180. Number of days it takes Exodus to respond to a radio show dropping its services? Approximately seven – and there was outrage.
Earlier this month, Christian radio host Dawson McAllister received disapproval from the LGBT community after a gay blogger went undercover and discovered that Hopeline, the teenage advice line operated in conjunction with McAllister’s weekly radio show, was referring young gay people to Exodus International.
But Exodus President Alan Chambers was so grieved, he did something he admits he hardly ever does – he publicly denounced McAllister’s actions in an official statement:
While Exodus is no stranger to controversy, we are usually reluctant to make public statements critical of other organizations or leaders, particularly those for whom we have high personal regard. But the very public nature of this situation leaves us no choice but to clarify our feelings and position on the matter.
It is clear that Chambers is personally embittered by the situation. McAllister was the catalyst for his own “ex-gay” conversion:
In 1991 we met in Lakeland, Florida. I was 19 at the time, and it was through his personal referral that I found Exodus International. Dawson McAllister was the catalyst for my journey, which eventually led me to direct the organization he’s now unwilling to officially associate with. (Could the irony be any more bitter?)
This personal upset that Chambers feels at having himself and his organization slighted leads to him painting the situation as an all-out assault on free speech, freedom of religion and biblical truth:
While Exodus is the group being marginalized in this case, it’s the freedom to express a traditional viewpoint of sexuality that’s really at stake, raising the obvious question: Who’s Next? Should all on-air ministries who teach that homosexuality falls short of God’s will expect a knock on the door, demanding they either water it down or close shop? … [We] wonder what other Biblical truths are up for negotiation when on-air visibility is at stake.
Chambers goes on to question McAllister’s integrity, seemingly believing that severing a link to Exodus International is the equivalent of rejecting Christian principles in favor of success:
But when someone publicly dumps you then privately whispers “We still believe in what you’re doing”, isn’t some kind of double-mindedness at play? Both of them also stressed to me their desire to stay on Clear Channel, which is understandable. But at what cost? When a Christian leader is forced to choose between truth and market numbers, should market numbers really be the deciding factor?
He even questions whether McAllister is truly serving Christ:
But if he serves the One who warned “Woe unto you when all men speak well of you”, and follows in the steps of the Apostle who said, “If I seek the favor of men, I should not be a servant of Jesus Christ”, then his response to pressure from gay activists and Clear Channel is distressing.
I’m not about to defend McAllister’s character. The Exodus spat is, frankly, neither here nor there – McAllister retains associations with anti-gay, right-wing Christian organizations such as Focus on the Family and Aglow International. And even with Exodus gone, will McAllister’s team continue to give out the same advice? The audio of blogger Greg Kimball’s conversation with a Hopeline counselor reveals the extent of the appalling advice offered to a gay 16-year old (audio courtesy KnowThyNeighbor.org):
(Alan Chambers and radio host Pat Campbell (audio here) made much of 22-year-old Greg Kimball’s “deception” in pretending to be 16, but this pales next to the poor guidance given to someone McAllister’s Hopeline counselors believed was a gay teen – and the questionable means used by Kimball do not negate his findings.)
So while I don’t much care to defend McAllister, I do find Alan’s response very revealing. Months of silence on gay genocide in Uganda, and yet barely a week goes by on this issue and he is seething publicly. At least now we know what it takes to kick Exodus into action.