Exodus International, a large Christian ministry that claimed to offer a “cure” for homosexuality, announced on its website Wednesday that it was shutting down and apologized to the gay community “for years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of the organization and the Church as a whole.”
The apology dovetails with the Wednesday airing of the television broadcast “God & Gays” on OWN’s “Our America” with Lisa Ling.
“We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change — and they want to be heard,” Exodus board member Tony Moore said.
Exodus President Alan Chambers said he apologizes for “being part of the very system of ignorance that perpetuated that hurt. Today it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church.”
“I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him, I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart,” Mr. Chambers says on Miss Ling’s program. “I am sorry I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.”
“More than anything,” he added, “I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection. I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives. You have never been my enemy. I am very sorry that I have been yours.”
“For the better part of 10 years, I was an advocate and spokesman for what’s known as the ‘ex-gay movement,’ where we declared that sexual orientation could be changed through a close-knit relationship with God, intensive therapy and strong determination,” former Exodus Chairman John Paulk said, according to the Huffington Post.
“Today, I do not consider myself ‘ex-gay,’ and I no longer support or promote the movement,” he added. “Please allow me to be clear: I do not believe that reparative therapy changes sexual orientation; in fact, it does great harm to many people.”
Exodus plans to launch a separate ministry that aims to be more welcoming, the Huffington Post reported.