Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Deceptive Danger of Ex-Gay Groups.

I wasn't going to write this entry today, but I feel like I must. I received an email from a guy who is active in his gay Christian church, but who went through all the exgay programs. His story was very typical. First, an exorcism to release the "gay demon," followed by exgay therapy programs, followed by encouraging him to "reject" the "gay identity."

Following in faith, he became a leader of exgay programs, got married, endured this marriage even though he never became opposite sex attracted (but was encouraged to marry by those who said that "God would provide") until he finally lost it completely and ended up doing hard drugs and wasting his life in sex clubs until he contracted HIV and almost died. In fact, they had pulled the plug on him. But, miraculously, his lungs healed and he came back to life.

Now, he's happy as a clam, singing at a Metropolitan Community Church and is partnered with a great guy, and they are deliriously overjoyed at having found each other, and true love.

Now, imagine if he had known from the beginning that he could have by-passed all the snake oil phony exgay theology and the suicidal activity and gone right into a healthy relationship. Unfortunately, the exgay groups don't tell this part of the story. They're too busy pushing their expensive programs and their phony therapies that don't work for anyone.

I stumbled upon an article by Exodus International Vice President, Randy Thomas, where he talks about how a mother sent her 19 year old Christian-raised son into his office to get "fixed."

The boy brought his boyfriend with him and Randy basically told them that they could either be gay or they could be Christian. But that was their only choice. End of story.

In other words, they could choose each other and the love they feel for each other, or they could choose to burn in hell. Naturally, Randy didn't put it to them in just those words. The leaders of Exodus have learned to use more slippery language than that.

But how does a 19 year old tell the difference? Here's what the 19 year old hears in his head: IF YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO THAT BOY SITTING NEXT TO YOU, YOU WILL BURN IN HELL. Randy, of course, doesn't make a distinction to him about the difference, in Baptist theology, of being "saved" and being a "Christian."

In fact, what Randy did tell them was that what they felt for each other wasn't "true" love like perpetual celibate Randy has with his fetishized Jesus figure. (Seriously. You should hear him describe his Penthouse Story version of him and Jesus together in his fantasies). He tells them that what they feel is merely a substitute for the real thing.

This is why so many gay Christian teenagers either try to kill themselves (through drugs and sex or gunshots to the head) or end up depressed. They believe this crap being foisted upon them.

I questioned Randy about whether he meant to imply this in his article but he was uninterested in clarifying. His agenda is solely to sign up recruits, lobby Congress against gay marriage and continue the cult-like teachings of this discredited theology and therapy.

This past summer, Exodus held a national conference and the group Beyond Ex-Gay, which uses language far more kind than I do, held a parallel conference near there where they invited the leaders of Exodus to listen to the stories of the ex-ex-gays, and the damage done to them by the myriad of scattershot "ministries" that fall under their umbrella.

Exodus refused to join in. As I said before, they turn a blind eye to the people they've damaged.

They are afraid to face the truth of the spiritual violence inflicted by their misbegotten programs. They live in this little fantasy world where a Magic Jesus that they conjured up in their mind is going to magically transform them into heteros.

In a way, it's like the lottery. Gay people join these groups with the promise of "change" -- millions of dollars are spent on their advertising campaigns by groups like James Dobsons' -- and the promise of heterosexuality is held out there for them. But it never quite gets achieved. Oh, they hear stories of people who've "changed." Just like we see stories on the news of people who won a billion bucks in the lottery.

But, just as the man who wrote the letter to me testified, no one actually changes into heterosexuals. Randy Thomas is not a heterosexual. Alan Chambers, the President of Exodus International, though married, is not even a heterosexual. He admitted as much in a recent video that he "lives in denial" every single morning. He denies his same sex attraction and goes on in his marriage pretending to be straight, thinking that if he pretends long enough, it will come true.

So, these closet gays in admitted denial are leading others in a classic case of serial denial.

And why do they do this?

Because someone convinced them that if they don't turn straight, they won't get to heaven.

So, they practice their deceit. They wage their war against us. And they get to stand in a room full of everstraights, getting pats on the backs. Uncle Toms who've betrayed their own people in order to score a few good points with a group of folks who, otherwise, wouldn't give them the time of day -- the same way they won't give the time of day to the people they've injured.

Meanwhile, I can only hope that those two 19 year old kids who experienced the emotional and spiritual abuse from Randy Thomas cling as closely to each other as they can. The phony gay-hating Jesus created by Exodus International exists only in the minds of those whose paychecks depend on this fake monstrous creation.

UPDATE: If you think this hate-filled Jesus is not a huge part of the world of Exodus and its supporters, read this account of a man going back to his childhood Baptist church.


Mage said...

This is a terrible entry on which to wish you both a merry Christmas, but here I am anyway. I'm glad your cold is better and that both of you are doing so well. Hugs from down here.

Mike Airhart said...


Thank you for your courage in speaking up about this. Where was Mr. Thomas's article published? Is it online or could I order a copy somewhere?

Steve Schalchlin said...

Mike, the article is here.

P-Dub said...

Steve, I have know both Randy and Alan for years and never heard of their "double-life" denial of which you speak. Can you give me more details of your knowledge of their hearts and desires?

I do know that Christianity can be the most polarizing thing in the world, particularly if your agenda is contrary to orthodox Christianity. I can understand how it would seem that Exodus and others who promote healing from sexual and relational broken-ness are hypocrites when the reason and source of their transformation makes absolutely no sense to some.

The mistake a lot of people make are using their own logic and understanding as a standard for something that is outside of their logic and understanding. They say, "How can it be?" and because they are unable to formulate an answer, reject the whole notion.

The notion that God is loving, just, and merciful; who condemns evil and brings the oppressed justice and mercy; and who cannot be molded into our likeness, is a incredibly tough concept for anyone. That is why it requires faith.

We need faith to believe that God loves the poor when in our minds they do not seem loved. It takes faith to believe that God loves the unlovable when we know how unlovable they are. And it takes faith to believe God can heal a hurt that becomes an identity.

I am sure that in any venture there are those who are sincere, who are insincere, and who are both sincere and insincere at the same time. I believe Randy and Alan are sincere and understand how they can be considered insincere when understanding who they are is so foreign to many.

Steve Schalchlin said...

Sincerity is only useful if you're being honest with yourself.

sonia said...

Although there was no official Exodus engagement with the Beyond Ex-Gay conference, there were a handful of folks who (in addition to attending some portion of the conference) met for dinner to listen, as described here.