Christian "gay cure" group apologizes

In a public statement, Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus Ministries, apologized for his group's practice of offering cruel "gay cure" camps.

I am sorry for the pain and hurt that many of you have experienced. I am sorry some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents.

I am sorry I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite — or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him, I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.

More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection. I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives.

The letter goes on to reiterate the group's opposition to gay sex, but to hint that they would support marriage equality nevertheless.

“Ex-gay” Christian group to LGBT people: We’re sorry [Katie McDonough/Salon]


    1. I think I’d rather them just shrivel up and go away entirely, but I guess this is the best they can muster to contribute to society at this point and practice some soft of damage control.

      I wonder how many suicides they’ve contributed to over the years?  How much blood is on their hands?

        1. Zero! Those crafty, closeted, self-loathing, homophobic homosexuals know better. They burn the underoo evidence soon after doing the nasty.

      1. I think I’d rather them just shrivel up and go away entirely…

        Sure, but I still think it’s better for them to slink away with a “sorry, we totally fucked up and destroyed lives” than a “burn in hell, sodomites!”

        1. Agreed, but it doesn’t appear to me that they’ee really going away and slinking into the night:

          ” … Exodus’ mission remains “Mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality … ”

          It was probably just damage control and perhaps business as usual later minus the most hateful rhetoric they can muster. The KKK did the same thing. And, yes, I’m most definitely comfortable comparing them to that ignorant, hate organization as well.

        2. Except that, if you read Chambers’ apology, he’s saying he still believes any gay or lesbian individual who doesn’t renounce homosexuality and at least lead a celibate life will still burn in hell, and he still actively opposes allowing same-sex couples to marry.

          He’s just not going to continue peddling a quack “therapy” that he admits doesn’t work and has only caused unhappiness.

          I’m glad he’s acknowledged that he’s created a lot of misery, but, at the moment, he seems to be saying he thinks it’s enough that he’s only going to scale back his activities.

  1. i…did someone hack his account?
    i mean it would be amazing if he had some huge change of heart like that but…there is part of me that cannot accept someone can make that big of a change overnight and is waiting for him to come out and retract all that and re-affirm that he in fact still a huge bigoted homophobe and still believes that only faith can cure people of their gayness.
    maybe im cynical..

    1. In one word: polls happened. 

      Leaders of the religious nutwing across the US have had a good hard look at poll trends, and saw the desperation of their predicament. Maintaining a hardline stance on gay marriage, they’ll force themselves into irrelevancy in a very short time, and (worse) will make it impossible for their political associates to get back into the Oval Office and make the money flow again. 

    2. “there is part of me that cannot accept someone can make that big of a change overnight”

      It does happen, if not often. A fellow at my mother’s church, apparently, had been bitter about them accepting gay/lesbian congregants for years when he saw a woman straighten her wife’s camisole strap in front of him in the communion line, something he’d done many times for his own wife. Somehow that simple, loving gesture brought home to him all at once that their marriage really was just the same as his own. After the service, he went and apologized to the priest for speaking against GLBT acceptance.

      1.  OTOH my cousin, a nice and decent fellow in every respect but one, let his church entirely after it started accepting gay priests and gay marriage.  He became a Mormom (!) in protest.  I remain astonished, ten years later. 

  2. His apology still reflects his views on the matter, rendering it empty and insulting. I am not interested in hearing him blather about what he thinks he did wrong. A person who really wanted to mend the damage he has done would ask how he could begin to do that. 

    1. His apology still reflects his views on the matter, rendering it empty and insulting. I am not interested in hearing him blather about what he thinks he did wrong.

      I think that’s more or less the definition of an “apology.”

      1. When someone makes a huge mistake and carries it on for years, then does a 180 and now claims to know exactly what they did wrong, that is not an apology. He is still claiming that he sees the situation clearly, when clearly he does not. That’s called “Sorry-I-got-caught” damage control.

        1. When someone makes a huge mistake and carries it on for years, then does a 180 and now claims to know exactly what they did wrong, that is not an apology.

          Again, I think that’s actually pretty much the definition of an apology. Whether you think it’s sincere or choose to accept it is another matter.

          1. I think he’s trying to say “this apology is inadequate atonement for past actions,” which is a perfectly valid viewpoint. But that’s not what he actually said.

          2.  He’s apologizing and showing contrition for his actions, not his beliefs. I respect that, because that’s hard to do. I agree that coming to a realization requiring him to acknowledge that his beliefs are faulty is what I too would prefer, but just admitting he’s *done* and *been* wrong is a big step.

            You can question his sincerity, but that’s for him to know. Applying your own assumptions doesn’t make his apology any more or less sincere, except in your mind and anyone willing to listen to you.

            It took a lot of courage to make the statement, as he potentially opens himself up to all sorts of legal issues and condemnation from people on both sides of the issue. I’m going to respect that, and hope that he comes full circle eventually.

        2. Agreed, this seems more like damage control that anything else.  While it’s a step in the right direction (to say the least) I’m not fooled by his motives.

  3. It’s good that you’re apologizing now, but it’s TOO FUCKING LATE NOW, ISN’T IT?  Maybe this is why you don’t start down dangerous and unproven courses of “therapy” BEFORE you find out if there’s any fucking reason to even do so.  Your “theories” about gay people living in “sin” and being able to “recover” by being sent to camps full of unaccountable and unregulated “therapists” have lead to ruined lives and suicide.  Good work.

    Also, glad to see you’re still sticking by your guns about gays being teh evul and not seeing your “beliefs” as anything other than the same monstrous bigotry that caused you to harm so many others.  Fuck you, Alan.

    1. It is clearly not too late now.  That means tomorrow won’t see this horrible, horrible course of action undertaken by his group.

      It is wholly unfortunate that people who had been harmed will have to live with that harm, but would you honestly rather have this guy go on as he did?  No?  Then it’s obviously not too late to change.

      Don’t be an ass just because this guy was.

          1. It doesn’t change your point, Dr. I just reject his so-called apology along with his original actions. Though it is worth noting that it is indeed too late for the unfortunate people he hounded into suicide.

          2. Righteous anger at an apology
            just seems as stupid to me as his actions.

            Further, it is worth nothing that I acknowledge that his apology undoes precisely zero prior harm.

          3. Righteous anger at an apology just seems as stupid to me as his actions.

            Well, at least you’ve put it into a single, easy-to-use false equivalency.

          4. The primary reason there is not widespread marriage equality is because of the actions and beliefs of assholes like this guy. In a supposedly secular society the fact that nutters who believe absolute bunk (any religion, pick your flavour – they all taste like shit) get to write the rules on how people can live their lives is fucking ridiculous. What’s worse is that this doucheknuckle isn’t even speaking against gay marriage, he’s speaking against gay sex.

            It’s as if they think they have IP rights to the concept of marriage which, by the way religiofacists, was created naturally by evolution (as was homosexuality which they claim to be unnatural). I’m not even sorry.. fuck this guy and fuck anyone stupid enough to be fooled into buying this asshole’s efforts at PR.

      1. “Unfortunate” and “Ass” seem a trifle mild when describing what this man has done. Malpractice and Malfeasance seems more appropriate. Alas, he was never accredited by the AMA or the APA, so it’s not like any of his members victims can take him to court.

  4. this is welcome, but i still feel some sort of monetary retribution, maybe a donation to a counseling organization or something, would be better. how many lives have they harmed with their business? “sorry, we were wrong, and lost the culture war” just doesn’t cut it to me.

  5. Is it just me or is anyone else waiting for the lawsuit form the wings over a sex scandal or wrongful death suits?
    While seeing someone evolve is nice, it is out of character and I’m suspicious of ‘real’ motives..

    1.  If he’s been sued for Wrongful Death then this whole confession/apology pretty much seals his guilt. I don’t know the motivation, but an act such as this is the exact opposite of a defense against a Wrongful Death suit.

      1. But a Jury of his peers might be moved by such an act of contrition.
        I’m thinking there is something else motivating this change, it might be horrible on my part but the only time people ever apoligize any more is just before something bigger is about to break and they are hoping to offset the bad news.

        1. … or, conversely, the bad news has already happened off-the-record, and the public statement is one of the stipulations in a legal settlement.

          1. Or a nice media blitz for the kinder gentler we’ll torture you till your normal version 2.0 of the group.

            Gee happened before the coverage on OWN.


            Oh and they are starting a whole new group with the same people…

            I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again..


      1. They are probably just mad cause a bunch of peoples lives and relationships were ruined and more than a few ended by suicide because they were preaching lies and calling it gods holy mission to cure what isn’t a disease. 

        He did say sorry though.

        Imagine the response when he apologizes about that Christianity being a hoax, and no one goes to heaven thing…

    1. “We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change – and they want to be heard,

      I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them.  I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek.

      I get this with a number of conservative Christians who express regret about the way gay people are treated by the church. At the end of the day, you might have some lip service to the concept of their right to peaceful coexistence and even to the idea that they could have some sort of not-marriage civil partnership. There is talk of pluralism and acceptance, and regret that people’s impression of the church is of a group of intolerant bigots. But this isn’t God’s fault, or our group’s fault, or even really the church’s fault. We’ve discovered a new reading of the biblical texts and now everything will be different. However, the underlying message remains the same: homosexuality is wrong, we’ll just try to be nicer about disagreeing with you in the future.

      While [the closing of Exodus] is a painful thing … something better is coming. There is more. This doesn’t negate our stories. It doesn’t negate what God is calling you to do. It’s just simply a new time.

      It might be possible to read the letter as a sincere apology, but only in isolation and without reading between the lines.

      My opinion on this is that groups like this recognize that the church is morally bankrupt. They don’t accept LGBT people, but they need them to come to the church in order to try to validate their own existence.

      It’s good that you pointed this letter out; it does make it a bit more obvious how hollow the apology really was. Anyone who is truly apologetic about the horrific effects of their legacy (whether intentional or not) doesn’t celebrate how wonderful the group is the next day and talk about starting something ‘better’.

  6. The other half of the story here is that shortly after posting this apology, Exodus announced that they are shutting down, as in going out of business. CF

    No news yet on what the agenda and activities of the “” group that Chambers is starting up plans to be about.

  7. Context…

    He’s not just the president. He’s also a client… 

    Alan Chambers was gay, and apparently still is. He was one of their ‘I’m cured!’ posterboys… but now lives a hetero lifestyle and talks about being attracted to men (cause that isn’t curable).
    They did have civil lawsuits filed against them… at least two. A few years ago.This isn’t recent news. It pretty much bankrupted them, it seems. I’m sure more are in the works…

    They have been reforming as a group since 2009. They stopped being quite the assholes they were before when they realized their anti-gay youth rally days were just excuses for dickish youth to bully gay kids, and stopped holding them.

    This apology is issued the same day they unanimously voted to shut down. What does that mean? Not much. They are an umbrella group for many “pray the gay away” groups, who may just go on doing what they have always done.

    Interesting note..  two dudes who founding Exodus International in 1979 ended up divorcing their wives and getting “married” to each other in 1982. Married is in quotes cause it wasn’t legal anywhere in 1982, as far as I know. Another scandal was when one board member was spotted in drag. He was ousted from the group. Because men in women’s clothing made baby Jesus cry.

    Interesting angle… what about the women married to these supposedly cured gay dudes? When they find out their newly hetero hubby now only has a .1% chance of being straight. Interesting conversational topic I’m sure.

    Congrats on being less of a bigoted asshole Alan! Or at least a bigoted asshole with realistic expectations… he still seems to think Sodomites are sinners, but he not pretending its curable.

    I’m sure the rest of the Christian bigots will see this as a sign that there is no hope for homos, but hey they tried, right?

    1. Spooky analysis. I’m wondering how many pastors are rolling up their sleeves in preparation for the “If you can’t pray it away, kill ’em and let god sort it out” sermons.

      I’d like to think that this isn’t actually going to happen and that I’m being completely over dramatic and this announcement will in no way contribute to the rising level of violence against the LGBT community.

      I really really hope I’m wrong.

      1. If there really is a rise in violence against the LGBT community (over a larger period of time, I can’t tell from that article) I’d think it was because its obvious the right wing is losing the culture wars, and that makes their fringe lunatics foam at the mouth.

        I’ve got right wing religious parents (they are dolts) and I get to see the stuff right wing religious wackos send each other via email. It makes Fox news seem like C-span.  There was a huge bump in the fervor when Obama was elected. I’m sure marriage equality has had a similar effect. Its shrill, and scary, and the premise is their back is against the wall and they are losing the country (whatever that means). Its also nothing new. 

        However moral panic + gun culture = travesties.

          1. Love it! I’d watch a TV show about a gun-toting monkey in charlton heston’s house anytime!

  8. My apology to religious people:

    I am sorry for the pain and hurt that many of you have caused. I am sorry some of you spent your lives praying to a non-existant being, believing bullshit and that you wasted your life because your beliefs didn’t change. I am sorry you promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation since it’s none of your fucking business and I can think of no group less appropriate for issuing advice on how to live a good life.

    I am sorry more of you don’t stand up to people publicly “on your side” who make you all look bad and make people like me tar you all with the same brush. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you are so well deluded, failed to share more publicly that religious people I know are every bit as, if not more capable of being complete assholes as the non-religious people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming out of the crack-addiction that is christianity, surrendering the simplistic world view for the complexity and confusion of reality, I didn’t callously celebrate more loudly in order to help other recovering christ-whores. I am sorry I have not communicated more clearly that you and your families beliefs are less legitimate than mine as mine don’t require leaps of faith and ignorance of scientific fact.

    More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious bullshit practiced by christians and all religions as somehow legitimate or sensible. I am profoundly sorry that many more haven’t walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to effectively end their lives by continuing to believe in a bunch of lies that has long age reached its use-by date.

  9. I’m sorry that you somehow thought your faith trumped everyone else’s rights.
    That the only way you could feel better about your hollow lives was to make sure you held others down.
    You speak of a higher power and these high ideals and fail to follow them at every turn.
    May whatever higher power you believe in have greater mercy on you than you had for your fellow man.

  10. So they get coverage on OWN and start a new group.
    Can you say PR stunt?
    I knew you could.

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