Exodus International, the "ex-gay" Christian organization that in the past practiced “conversion therapy,” announced this week it is shutting down, and I couldn't be happier.
Alan Chambers, president of Exodus, issued a stirring apology in a statement posted to the organization's website. In it, Chambers recounts his own same-sex attractions and says that he hopes to mend the damage done by Exodus over the years to members of the LGBTQ community.
Exodus International was founded in 1976 and was considered by some to be among the most harmful anti-gay organizations. In February 2012, the "Love Won Out" conference sponsored by Exodus came to Georgia and dozens of LGBT activists protested. Among the protesters was Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out, who has spoken for years against Exodus and called gay conversion therapy "junk science."
Reaction from gay groups was mostly positive, reinforcing that it pays to be gracious in victory.
Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, will be in Atlanta Saturday for the “Beyond Pain to Wholeness: Overcoming the Stigma” conference hosted by Healing of the Heart Ministries.
The conference is being hosted at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park, Ga., from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will focus on a range of topics from sexual abuse to homosexuality.
Chambers, who is the conference's luncheon keynote speaker, has been the head of Exodus International since 2001. Exodus is a Christian-rooted organization “offering a biblical message about same-sex attraction,” according to its website.
Exodus International president to speak on "stigma" of homosexuality
Through chants and signs that read "Gay by nature, proud by choice," some 50 people made sure those attending the Love Won Out Conference on Saturday heard their message of "you can't pray away the gay." Exodus International hosted the conference at Midway Church in Villa Rica, Ga.
Timothy Elder, 21, a student at the University of West Georgia, is a devout Christian. But he struggled with his sexual orientation because he was told he would be condemned to hell.
"Before I got accepted to Christ, I was told constantly that God hates gays. And by being a Christian, I was setting myself up for failure," he said.
Atlanta's Queer Justice League announced today plans to protest an upcoming “ex-gay” conference to be held in Villa Rica, Ga. on Feb. 18. The conference is being organized by Exodus International, a religious organization whose mission is “helping others live a life that reflects the Christian faith and to encouraging the global, Christian church to model Christ-like compassion to a hurting world.”
The conference, Love Won Out – Atlanta, will feature Christian “experts” on homosexuality and will address how the church can respond to "homosexual lifestyles with the truth and grace of Christ.” The conference will be held at Midway Church.
Organizers from the QJL, Act Out Savannah, GetEQUAL, Truth Wins Out and the Southern Poverty Law Center are calling for volunteers to protest the anti-gay conference.
In response to an online petition with more than 100,000 signatures, Apple recently pulled an app by Exodus International, a group that preaches “freedom from homosexuality.”
“We removed the Exodus International app from the App Store because it violates our developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people,” Tom Neumayr, an Apple spokesperson, said March 23.
Truth Wins Out, an organization that seeks to counter the so-called ex-gay movement, started the effort against the Exodus app by launching a petition at Change.org. At press time, the petition had 157,130 signatures.