With Buchanan, A Change of Tone at Exodus
With Jeff Buchanan laterally promoted to VP and former Exodus blogger Randy Thomas out of the organization, there has already been an immediate shift in tone on their website. Three posts have gone up since the personnel-change announcement – two of them targeted at vulnerable gay youth – and all are denigrating to gays and lesbians.
Gays pursue “counterfeit relationships,” writes Exodus President Alan Chambers. Gay Christians “serve two masters” while claiming to serve God alone.
“Study Shows Gay, Bisexual Teens More Prone to Risky Behavior” reads the headline of Buchanan’s latest post. The final line states “[t]he CDC report seeks to link the tendency among gay and bisexual teens to engage in risk behaviors to their sense of societal rejection,” as if this is a simple hypothesis rather than established reality. Buchanan turns data which reinforces the need for more support of LGBT youth into ammunition to further stigmatize and pressure them.
“My heart breaks a little more each day as false hope is communicated to susceptible youth with slogans like ‘It gets better’,” writes ex-gay Matthew Walker, blasting a campaign started in reaction to the suicides of several gay youth last year. Walker makes clear that his struggles with suicide were not caused by the condemnation of the Church, “as the liberal media would have you believe,” but rather caused by a “very real spiritual enemy” whose “whispers and lies twisted the Bible into a condemnation of [him] rather than the sin that was overtaking [him].”
In other words, Queer and questioning kids, we at Exodus don’t hate you, just your “sin” that’s overtaking you. The boy you fell for from afar in History class, the girl you go out of your way to pass by in the hallway before 3rd period – those things are caused by an evil force controlling you. If these things involved people of the opposite sex, it would be considered perfectly normal and even the stuff of high school movies. But it involves people of the same sex. Because of this detail, your feelings are of the Devil.
“Today we desperately need courageous Christians who are willing to stand up against the gay agenda and say enough is enough,” concludes Walker. Exodus is taking the gloves off. With finances, membership, and staff dwindling, Buchanan’s hardline blog posting may represent their last viable method of action.
For what it’s worth, I don’t even think Randy Thomas would have said many of the things that have been said on the Exodus website recently. And he did at least allow comments and discussion (most of the time), something that the new blog doesn’t allow. Is it possible that his transition out of Exodus was related to his rhetoric not being strong enough? Because this new stuff is pretty harsh… Harsher than Exodus has been in awhile, at least publicly.
They closed comments down during the iPhone app kerfuffle. They got a lot more publicity from the general public than they anticipated, I think, and that general public was not pleased with Exodus’ mission. they left some pretty harsh comments; probably too many to delete or monitor- so they just shut down discussion. Alan Chambers even tweeted exasperatedly about how people just “didn’t understand Exodus’ mission.”
I welcome this new harshness. I’d rather have the unvarnished truth from them. It does half of our job for us.
The youth blog still has comments open, but nobody is commenting there.
I don’t know much about this Buchanan character. Is he an ex-gay or does he just work for the organisation?
“My heart breaks a little more each day as false hope is communicated to susceptible youth with slogans like ‘It gets better’,” writes ex-gay Matthew Walker – except its not false. I, and a great many of my friends, have lived it. It is a powerful truth and I am so grateful to Dan Savage for starting the campaign. I hope and pray that the hardening of the line from “Exodus” is a sign that they are increasingly desperate. They are loosing ground and they have to know it. BUT – as they get more desperate, they will hurt more vulnerable people. That breaks my heart more than a little.
Unfortunately, with a recent series of published statements from the far political-religious right, I think we are again hearing cues that the speakers/leaders involved intend to get harder in targeting gay/lesbian/bi/trans people. Familiar lies – which scripture condemns as false witness against neighbors – are being repeated even more loudly than in our more mellowed out past. Folk beliefs / theories of all negative sorts are again being used to “explain” (decode as, vilify) what is innately wrong with all queer folks, per these folk traditions. I again find myself relying, prayerfully as it happens, on two remedies. One, I do hope that equally loud voices of queer folks plus a wider range of straight ally voices, will take occasion to speak up in public. Two, I do hope that the more this very flat earth nasty stuff about queer folks gets so loudly repeated, the more audiences will take strong occasion to reality test the flat earth claims. Alas, Lord have mercy. It’s going to get frankly false and probably quite demeaning of queer folks (plus straight allies among church, family, friends, coworkers, and all) … before we have again passed through the coming rightwing religious and political and public policy or public law storms.
I find it interesting how ppl interpret the closing down of comments on the blog like they have … actually if you’ve been following you would have noticed that they closed down the comments section just because the majority of ppl actually post blog posts on their fb page and generate conversation that way more so then posting comments on the actual blog itself… and this decision was made before the iPhone app controversy. And as somebody who happens to follow the Exodus blog the tone has not changed… it hasn’t changed at all but what you will note as a change is perhaps personality … we’re all different and we all have different ways of communicating. Just one thing though, it’s really spreading false information when you make an assumption factual or at least continue on as though your assumptions regarding Randy’s recent resignation are factual but right now you’re only making an assumption. Sometimes ppl want and need a change… I think ppl need their space don’t you?
Sarah, the bit about Exodus shutting down comments at their blog was a comment by College Jay, not the OP. However, Exodus has closed or limited comments in the past depending not only on their ideological content, but on who made them. Do you have some evidence to support your statement beyond your own speculation?
I can’t agree with you there, and we have followed it closely for nearly a decade. Others have also noticed the shift. You seem to have as well, describing it as a “different way of communicating” due to a “change [in] personality.” I’m not sure really how that differs from the statements by the OP and commenters.
I’m not entirely sure what you mean here. There has been speculation over Randy’s departure from Exodus, but I don’t know of any instance where we have reported that as anything but speculation. In the end, the general consensus is that Randy is probably better off away from Exodus — something I’ve been saying for years. Now that he has left the professional ex-gay stage, there is little reason to mention him at all.