After almost forty years, Exodus International has closed its doors. It was the oldest Christian services organization of its type and the market leader in reparative/ex-gay/sexual orientation change therapy. Soulforce, an interfaith organization that works to free lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people from religious and political oppression, acknowledges Exodus International Executive Director Alan Chambers’ apology to the LGBTQ community and welcomes his decision to shutter the organization.
Rev. Dr. Cindi Love, Executive Director of Soulforce said, “The closing of one of the major engines of LGBTQ oppression is an affirmation of Soulforce’s work of more than 15 years. The goal of all Soulforce actions has always been reconciliation rather than ‘victory.’ Alan Chambers’ heart was softened by the actions of thousands of advocates and the stories of suffering of families hurt by Exodus. Faced with this overwhelming evidence of the damage Exodus has caused, Chambers and the Exodus board took the only humane course of action available to them — they shut the organization down.
“It is our hope that other ex-gay organizations like Restored Hope Network, Genesis Counseling, Evergreen International, and Desert Stream Ministries will take the only humane course of action available to them, and shutter their organizations as well. We hope that Alan Chambers and former Exodus International board members will now dedicate themselves to eradicating ex-gay therapy around the world.”
Opposition to so-called “reparative therapy,” which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity has been central to Soulforce’s mission since its founding by former religious right ghostwriter and Exodus member Rev. Dr. Mel White in 1998. All of White’s books on the religious right have addressed the tragic consequences of the false claims of organizations like Exodus International, Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out conferences, and NARTH, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.
As an organization, Soulforce has worked relentlessly to oppose the notion that LGBTQ people are in any way “sick” or “sinful,” and has asked all religious people to join them in rejecting “ministries” intended to change God-given expressions of sexuality and gender identity.
Rev. Dr. Love said the closing of Exodus was, “A good start. And not nearly enough. I hope that Chambers will find it in his heart to confront any ministry in which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons are targeted for ‘fixing,’ ‘inclusion,’ ‘affirmation’ or ‘reconciliation.’ God already included us, affirmed us and reconciled us. And we don’t need fixing.”