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12/12/2011

It's the lion's homophone that concerns us, Alan

by Jeremy Hooper

Exodus International president Alan Chambers on how he handles those who challenge his "ex-gay" advocacy:

Screen Shot 2011-12-12 At 11.28.05 Am"Personally, I’ve tried to engage the lions. Tried to have conversations and build relationships with the lions. I think what I’ve noticed is there is less of a desire to dialogue, to agree to disagree, than there ever has been before. It’s like (our opposition is saying), ‘We are out to win, and if you will not completely come to our side, we will not relent.’ That’s not our message. I wouldn’t do to the other side what’s being done to ours. I don’t go after their friends or connections, I don’t picket their parades or infiltrate their meetings, but that’s what the new normal is as far as how the other side fights this. For me, winning the debate is no longer important. I’m simply trying to help people know Jesus."
[SOURCE: Focus on the Family Citizenlink]

"I wouldn't do to the other side what's being done to ours"? Right. But here's the thing with A.C. 180°: He is, by virtue of his contrived work, doing far more to "the other side" than anyone could ever do to him. More than he might even know!

The "ex-gay" side is a complete connection that, in a perfect world, would not be a "side" in any sort of debate. Science rejects it. Virtually every single LGBT person rejects it, with even most of its vocal supporters admitting to celibacy rather than any kind of real "change." The only reason why "ex-gay" advocacy rose to any sort of prominence is because (a) our society is still quite hostile towards LGBT people's benign existence within this shared world, and (b) the religious right needs these kind of programs to justify they "love the sinner, hate the sin" mindset. The entire "ex-gay" movement advanced because groups like Focus on the Family wanted to fight against LGBT people in the policy arena and then turn around and say, "Oh but we're not discriminating because homosexuality is a choice." So again, in an ideal world without anti-LGBT advocacy, there probably would've never existed an "ex-gay" movement, at least not in the way that it does.

Back to Alan's comments about what the "lions" are doing to him: Well he started it! Neither I nor virtually any other gay person could give a snake oil drop's less how any one person stewards his or her sexual orientation. The only reason why we care about the "ex-gay" movement is because of the harms they inflict on our lives, loves, families, and associated rights! In recent years, Alan's taken great strides to act like he's removed from policy work. And yes, it's true that Exodus has been more ministry focused in the past handful of months. But don't be fooled: All of the usual, wholly policy-focused arms within the socially conservative world still highlight groups like Alan's Exodus as "evidence" that gays can and should "change." And Alan is still collecting a profile and paycheck off of the idea that faith in Jesus and homosexuality are incompatible, and that everyone in this world is either a married heterosexual or a "struggler." Science be damned. Real world evidence be damned. Demonstrated harms be damned.

Alan's not picketing pro-equality parades? So what?

Alan's not going after anyone's friends? Yeah, well what about their sexual orientations?

Alan's simply helping people know Jesus? What about gay Christians? What about people of other faiths? What about the credible science?

Alan's not out to "win" a debate? But wait, isn't he the one telling people that homosexual is an innately losing game?!

I'm sorry, but I refuse to let Alan put himself above this fray. The debate over LGBT rights is forever damaged because of the bizarre movement that tells people to identify by what they once were rather than what they now claim to be, then uses those supposed "changes" to obfuscate our collective understanding. We are not going to "agree to disagree" about something so crucial.

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