Target: President Alan Chambers of Exodus International
Goal: Support decision to cease promoting therapy meant to change sexual attraction
For years, the organization Exodus International has promoted the idea that homosexual men and women could overcome their attractions through prayer and closeness to God. Now, president Alan Chambers is backing down from that stance. Last month, Exodus announced that they would no longer promote or associate with the process known as ‘conversion therapy,’ through which gay men and women can supposedly become straight. There is no evidence to support this claim, and members of the psychiatric community have long stood against it, due in part to the often harmful consequences the therapy has on patients, who are at increased risk for depression and suicide.
Doctor Robert Spitzer, the researcher whose work has been most often cited in support of conversion therapy, has since recanted the relevant study and issued an apology to those it has affected. Additionally, both Chambers himself and Alan Smid, executive director of another ‘ex-gay’ ministry, have admitted that they still experience homosexual urges, despite undergoing conversion therapy and entering into heterosexual marriages. Chambers has also stated his concern that at times, conversion therapy can just make things worse as it makes the men and women who undergo it feel like outcasts in church and elsewhere.
As conversion therapy loses support in the evangelical community, Exodus’s decision to officially dissociate itself from what was once its primary cause is a breakthrough. In time, it may prove one of the most important strikes in the battle to end conversion therapy forever. As gay rights remain at the forefront of the news, it is more important than ever to assert that sexual orientation cannot be changed.
Dear President Alan Chambers,
Exodus International was once one of the most major backers of the harmful process known as conversion therapy. Now, with Exodus having officially stopped promoting and associating with conversion therapy, we are one step closer to stopping the practice altogether. There is no evidence showing that the possibility of complete conversion is realistic, and the psychiatric community has voiced serious concerns about unintended effects conversion therapy may have.
I applaud your decision to end Exodus’s association with conversion therapy. Thank you for supporting human rights for homosexual men and women, and for the honesty you have displayed in speaking up and taking a stand. I hope you will continue to consider other points of view and allow your stance on homosexuality to grow and change.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Flickr via Zolk