Friday, July 26th, 2013

I’m even more dubious about “apologies” from ex-gay ministers

“Apologies” from staffers of Exodus as it “shuts down” seem to be all the rage now.

Last month, the president of Exodus, Alan Chambers, announced the closing of that ex-gay ministry and issued an apology of sorts. However, Chambers was very clear that he was not “apologiz[ing] for [his] deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries [he] see[s] in scripture surrounding sex” or “for [his] beliefs about marriage.” My response to Chambers’ apology was profane.

Randy Thomas
Randy Thomas of Exodus, another ex-gay issuing a vague apology to teh gayz
This month Exodus’s executive vice president, Randy Thomas, released “An Open Apology to the Gay Community.” Thomas’s apology is interesting both for what it says and what it does not say.

Thomas explicitly apologizes “for idealizing and reinforcing the institutional groupthink of Exodus,” “for remaining publicly silent about the hurt caused by some of Exodus’ leaders and actions,” and “for [his] inexperienced participation in public policy.”

Unlike Chambers, Thomas does not make any specific exclusions in his apology. He doesn’t say that he cannot apologize for his Biblical beliefs or for his views on marriage.

Another difference between Thomas’s apology and Chambers’ is that Chambers’ apology on the Exodus website did not allow for comments while Thomas’s apology on his own website did allow for comments. And Thomas got plenty of comments, so many that today he announced that comments on his blog would be moderated.

I was someone who commented on Thomas’s apology post. Unlike with my own blog post in response to Alan Chambers (in which I told Chambers to just shut the fuck up!), I was not profane in my comment on Thomas’s blog. I simply said that I didn’t put much value in Chambers’ apology given his specific disclaimers on his views of marriage and what the Bible says about sex and given that Chambers seemed not to be closing Exodus so much as rebranding it by opening the new Reduce Fear ministry.

Do apologizing ex-gays now acknowledge a right to civil marriage for queers who don’t want to be ex-gay? I also asked Thomas what his current views on homosexuality were. Does he, for example, acknowledge the right of those who do not think homosexuality is sinful to have full rights to civil marriage equality?

I would give you a link to my comment on Thomas’s blog except that I cannot. Thomas has deleted my comment.

He’s also deleted other people’s comments. Thomas deleted a comment made by David Philip Norris, who emailed me after I commented on Thomas’s blog to thank me for what I said there. Another comment Thomas deleted was one that called his apology a P/R move; Thomas had even replied to this comment to say that no, it wasn’t a P/R move, but Thomas has deleted his own reply now too.

That Thomas is deleting challenging comments on his blog was a bit surprising to me, although it wasn’t to Norris, who told me that Thomas has been known to delete any comments that are negative or aren’t wildly supportive.

Deleting such comments does go against the dialogue that Thomas says he welcomes. In his announcement of his new comment policy, Thomas says, “I love comments and hearing from you. Especially if it is honest, on topic (or somehow related to the topic blogged about), and doesn’t attack other people.” Right above his comment form, Thomas says, “Please note: I love comments! I prefer civil discussion but don’t mind a bit of ‘rowdy’ dialog as long as it is honest.”

Randy Thomas “loves comments”
(except the ones he deletes)
Thomas has every right to do what he wants on his own blog. I don’t even allow comments on my site.

However, his saying one thing (“I love comments!”) while doing another (deleting comments that aren’t profane attacks) makes me even more dubious about the validity of this supposed apology.

Sorry, Randy, but I would have thought more of you if you had left critical questions up on your blog. If you’d never even allowed for comments, I wouldn’t have had such a negative view of you as I do now that I know you delete critical comments.

The really fun thing is that you can delete comments on your own blog but you can’t control the Internet. I might not even have blogged about your stupid fake apology at all, but since you’ve deleted my comment on your blog, I’ve written this post here on my own blog. Norris also wrote something on his blog.

Good luck trying to shut the whole Internet up, Randy.

tl;dr — Shut the fuck up, Randy Thomas! And frankly I think that unless you shut the fuck up yourself and go work in a homeless shelter for as long as you’ve worked to warp the minds of queers afraid of what your God thinks, your apology really is, as Norris says, a joke.

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Just shut the fuck up, Alan Chambers!

You may have heard that Exodus International, which for 37 years has been “proclaiming freedom from homosexuality,” has finally apologized to the queers and announced that they are closing their “ministry.”

Except Exodus isn’t really closing their ministry—they’re just rebranding. Their closing announcement says that they “unanimously voted to close Exodus International and begin a separate ministry,” to be named Reduce Fear.

Alan Chambers
Alan Chambers has said way more than enough and should just shut the fuck up.
Alan Chambers, the ex-gay heterosexually-married with kids but still struggling with same sex attractions President of Exodus, wants to “come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities.”

And to that, I say: Don’t. Just don’t.

You’ve done more than enough damage, Alan, and you’re not going to fix it by continuing to be an attention-seeking charlatan earning money going around now in the guise of trying to “host thoughtful and safe conversations about gender and sexuality.”

There are already plenty of people hosting such conversations, Alan, and you don’t really have any credibility, so just what makes you think you’d be a good facilitator for these conversations?

It’s great that you're shutting down one of the world’s most harmful ex-gay ministries, “We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people.”
— Tony Moore, Exodus board member
and it’s good that you’re kind of apologizing for the harm you’ve done, although at the same time Exodus wants to be absolutely clear that it’s “not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people.”

Alan, perhaps instead of continuing to talk, you could just shut the fuck up for a while.

Stop blathering the evangelical Christian talk of God and “His Kingdom” and the “whole truth of the Gospel” and “coming to Christ” and “surrendering [your] sexuality to Him.”

Just stop talking.

If you want to be in ministry, great. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and then go serve silently in a homeless shelter or a food pantry. You've been talking for so long that it’s way past time for you to let your actions, not your words, show your beliefs.

If you’d do a few years of silent atonement in this manner, then, and only then, would I and others in the LGBT community give a damn about what you might then have to say.

Update 8:00 p.m.: I love John Shore’s “open letter to Exodus International’s super-remorseful Alan Chambers.”

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