Thursday, June 20, 2013

Turning Points

Exodus International Closes Its Doors

When the news first broke last night I was stunned, but in reality the writing had been on the wall ever since Alan Chambers admitted that orientation change almost never happens at the 2012 GCN conference.  Of course, Exodus isn't really going away completely, but it is morphing into something that appears at first glimpse to be considerably more honest.

It's not the end of the ex-gay movement by any means, but it is a crossroads - a parting of the ways between the ideologues (who have already formed their own splinter group, the ironically named Restored Hope Network) and those who genuinely value people ahead of dogma.  Exodus is going away because Alan Chambers and some of his colleagues cared enough to listen to the people they were trying to serve - and for that they have my appreciation, even if we still disagree on some important things.

So today we have something to celebrate, though I still find it to be a bittersweet occasion.  I'm happy for the progress that this represents, but sad that it took so long to get even this far, and more than a little frustrated that so many of us had to spend so many years trapped in a wilderness of false expectations and self-hatred before the evangelical church could begin to awaken to its error.  For me, those lost years lie largely in the past; for others, the damage runs deeper.  For a few, the wounds ran so deep that it cost them their lives - human sacrifices on the altar of doctrinal purity.

And the struggle isn't over.  While it's unlikely that RHN will ever be as large or as influential as Exodus once was, it still wields enough power to cause harm to thousands before history finally reduces it to a footnote.  Numerous conservative Christian groups continue to fight hard against equality and would still take away the right of LGBT people to even exist, if they could.  And in many parts of the globe, religiously motivated governments still do deny our right to exist.

Today we celebrate, but there's still much work to be done.

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