A major rift has emerged in the international ex-gay movement with Exodus International president Alan Chambers declaring that homosexuality cannot be cured and admitting that attempts to do so could be harmful.
The organization had been using the slogan ‘change is possible’ as recently as three years ago but Chambers told the New York Times that ‘Exodus needs to move beyond that slogan.’
‘I [still] believe that any sexual expression outside of heterosexual, monogamous marriage is sinful according to the Bible,’ Chambers said.
‘But we’ve been asking people with same-sex attractions to overcome something in a way that we don’t ask of anyone else.’
However Chambers’ change of heart has been attacked by other more hardline members of the ex-gay movement.
‘I think Mr. Chambers is tired of his own personal struggles, so he’s making excuses for them by making sweeping generalizations about others,’ said Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays president Gregg Quinlan, while Robert Gagnon, an associate professor at the Pittsburg Theological Seminary warned that Chambers’ approach put homosexuals at risk of being ‘excluded from the kingdom of God and thrown into hell.’
Earlier in 2012 Chambers had already admitted that reparative therapy did not work for ‘99.9 percent’ of people.
Chambers is only the most recent of a string of office holders at Exodus International to reject the notion that homosexuals can be cured of their same-sex attraction.
Last year the organisation’s former Executive Director, John Smid, came out as gay declaring, ‘One cannot repent of something that is unchangeable.’
‘I used to define homosexuality or heterosexuality in terms describing one’s behavior,’ Smid wrote, ‘I thought it made sense and through the years often wrote articles and talked from that perspective.’
‘[But] I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual.’
The organisation’s founder, Michael Bussee. Famously left the organization to begin a long term relationship with another Exodus International senior office holder, Gary Cooper, and the couple spent the rest of Cooper’s life together before his death from AIDS in 1991.