Exodus International, an evangelical Christian group based in the United States, has announced that its board of directors has decided to cease operations, “after a year of dialogue and prayer about the organization’s place in a changing culture.” The group has also apologized for once asserting that homosexuality is a condition that can be 'cured.' The president of Exodus, Alan Chambers, also apologized and said the movement was misguided and even harmful. The group had operated for 37 years.
 
“I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change,” he wrote on June 19. “I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly ‘on my side’ who called you names like sodomite – or worse.”
 
Chambers also said that homosexuals seeking  help from ministries affiliated with Exodus experienced “more trauma,” including “shame, sexual misconduct, and false hope.” He added, “In every case that has been brought to my attention, there has been swift action resulting in the removal of these leaders and/or their organizations. But rarely was there an apology or a public acknowledgment by me.” While is currently married, Chambers admitted “there were several years that I conveniently omitted my ongoing same-sex attractions.”
 
“Looking back, it seems so odd that I thought I could do something to make them stop,” he wrote. “Today, however, I accept these feelings as parts of my life that will likely always be there. The days of feeling shame over being human in that way are long over, and I feel free simply accepting myself as my wife and family does.”
 
Even so, Chambers believes homosexuality is a sin. “I cannot apologize for my deeply held Biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them,” he writes. “I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek.”
 
The board of directors of Exodus International, however, plans to begin a new ministry and has set up a website called reducefear.org, even though details were not immediately available. 
 
An apology from Exodus International had been expected. In 2012, Exodus president Chambers publicly disowned some of the so-called ex-gay movement’s key principles, saying there was no cure for homosexuality. He also said that gay reparative therapy offers false hopes and can be harmful. His statements caused a schism within the movement, and several Evangelical ministries defected, the New York Times reported.
 
In May 2013, Exodus International withdrew from a network of Evangelical ministries called Exodus Global Alliance, which focused on homosexuality. Based in Canada, Exodus Global Alliance still maintains that male and female homosexuals can “overcome their homosexuality.”
 
“This change in relationship between Exodus International and Exodus Global Alliance releases both ministries to serve the Lord, the church and the people impacted by homosexuality according to each ministry’s specific calling,” declared Exodus Global Alliance on its website.
 
In his apology, Chambers said many people who sought help from Exodus-affiliated ministries instead experienced “more trauma,” including “shame, sexual misconduct, and false hope.”
 
“In every case that has been brought to my attention, there has been swift action resulting in the removal of these leaders and/or their organizations. But rarely was there an apology or a public acknowledgment by me,” he wrote.
 
Chambers, who is married to a woman, said “there were several years that I conveniently omitted my ongoing same-sex attractions.”
 
“Looking back, it seems so odd that I thought I could do something to make them stop,” he writes. “Today, however, I accept these feelings as parts of my life that will likely always be there. The days of feeling shame over being human in that way are long over, and I feel free simply accepting myself as my wife and family does.”
 
Despite his apology, Chambers still believes homosexuality is a sin.
 
“I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them,” he writes. “I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek.”


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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