Saturday, January 13, 2007

Exodus Without Guidelines

My friend Peterson Toscano has recently gone public with a discussion he has been having privately with Alan Chambers, the President of Exodus International, about having them establish guidelines for youth working with adults. Peterson received some disturbing reports about "inappropriate" conduct in Exodus-sponsored "ministries" which treat being gay as some kind of disorder that needs to be cured. Peterson, who was, himself, a victim of the "Love In Action" detention camp where teens are locked up simply because they're gay, takes a very cautious attitude towards public criticism of Exodus. He's a measured and careful person who had preferred to keep this problem private, as long as it got solved. Unfortunately, the politically minded Mr. Chambers, who seems to be more interested in his career as a religious politician, is less interested in the welfare of young people than in making sure he has a paycheck. So, Peterson has gone public with the dispute. It's worth reading about.

I contrast this situation to my work with Youth Guardian Services where we adults on the Board are not even allowed to see the names of youth participants, much less have any contact with them. We put up a strict firewall between youth and adults so that each age group is counseled solely by people of their own age group. Apparently, Exodus has no guidelines for working with youth and seems to not care about having any.
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