Alan Chambers just doesn’t get it. The Exodus International President expects gays and lesbians to be moved by his words of compassion, but any gay or lesbian who knows their worth will hear only patronizing and insulting condescension in his words.
Here is Chambers speaking at the Third International Congress on World Evangelization (the Lausanne Conference), held in Cape Town, South Africa, last month:
Here is Chambers castigating Christians for what he believes is their greatest sin towards homosexuals:
We, as the Church, have not viewed homosexual people, gay and lesbian men and women, as starving, hurting, broken, lost people in need of compassion.
Could he tug any harder at those heart strings? LGBT people don’t want pity, Mr Chambers. We want respect and equality. The caricature only gets worse:
I believe that God looks upon these people in the very same way that he looks upon those AIDS orphans, those starving orphans in parts of the world that have no alternative.
This hideously paternalistic view of gays as desperate, pitiful victims is positively Victorian. Yet Chambers believes such a view is the key to reaching out and helping gays. It seems only if we live up to this strange stereotype will Chambers accept us. He does not mince his words when describing what reaching out might entail:
Maybe sometimes that will mean that they walk into the church with their fishnet stockings coming in from the job that they had all night.
There is room in Chambers’s church for gays who dress up in tights and prostitute themselves, who are desperately unhappy and crying out for affection, who are so starved for love they’ll be amazed that Christians pay them a bit of attention. But there’s no room for content, well-adjusted gays and lesbians. This type of homosexual can’t exist in Exodus’s mythology, for its entire ethos relies on gays being sad victims.
Not only does Chambers not get that some of us are quite content being gay and don’t take kindly to such offensive nannying, but he doesn’t even seem to get Christianity. In his version, everything that exists outside the evangelical church is a big fake:
I lived in the gay community for a period of time and it was one of the best counterfeits that I’ve ever experienced.
He acknowledges he found love in the gay community, but dismisses it as “counterfeit.” He declares that Christians “are the only people in the world who have the real answer.” Chambers can’t even bring himself to acknowledge love and grace where it exists without denouncing it as phoney.
At least there was room for a bit of honesty toward the end of the speech:
We are largely the most uneducated people on the face of the planet about compassion and reaching out. We have a long way to go.
You said it, Alan. You said it.