The president of Exodus International, Alan Chambers, recently published a book titled Leaving Homosexuality, and the interview he gave to CitizenLink that appears in its July 24, 2009 edition regarding his “leaving homosexuality” is instructive.
This is part of what Alan Chambers said:
For so long I’ve heard gay activists say to me, ‘You’re just in denial. You’re not grasping the reality of the situation. You’re just denying who you really are.’ The truth is, I am in denial, but it is self-denial. I’m not in denial of who I used to be. I’m not in denial of the temptations that I could still experience. I am denying the power that sin has over me.
Sin does not have any power that we don’t give it, and what I’ve found is that my freedom – and the freedom of others I’ve known who’ve left homosexuality – was centered around denying what might come naturally to us regardless of how it got there. And once you deny sin’s power, you can live a free life.
The most authentic part of my life is first and foremost my relationship with Christ, but sitting here where I’m doing this interview in my back yard – with my kids and with my wife – this is who I am. This is who I want to be. This is the truth of my life. This is who I was created to be. And this is what brings me happiness.
Moreover, in his April 20th blog post he wrote the following:
I’m a follower of Christ and believe every word of the Bible is true and infallible . . . [I say] to the gay community: it is my great hope that we as a Christian church will give you no more reasons to justifiably doubt God’s love for you. I am sorry for the times when I have contributed to that.
Jesus does tell us to deny ourselves and pick up our respective crosses and follow Him! However, to view same-sex love as a “cross” is merely internalizing the oppressor’s mind-set, rhetoric, and presumed values rather than seeing same-sex love as one of God’s many gifts!
In that post, Chambers also says that he believes that “every word in the Bible is true and infallible,” and that statement is both specious and tautological (not even the Bible makes that claim for itself!); he presumes that his interpretation of the Bible is the only possible one; he presumes that his exegeses of certain biblical passages are true, undoubtedly because homophobic clergy have been interpreting those passages for him, and he has internalized their erroneous views of both the Bible and of those passages.
He seems to have allowed gay people’s oppressors to create an identity for him that is divorced from his “temptations” and “denying what might come naturally” to him, and replacing them “with my kids and with my wife.” About the latter he alleges: “This is who I am. This is who I want to be. This is the truth of my life. This is who I was created to be. And this is what brings me happiness.”
By creating an identity consistent with what he undoubtedly feels is the worldview of most of the secular world, and with the worldview of most of the institutional church (and certainly of virtually all of the fundamentalist wing of the institutional church with which he seems to identify), his manufactured identity and place in life “brings me happiness,” not necessarily because he is living in accordance with his true identity as a gay man, but because he is conforming to both the expectations of most people in society and with the professing Christians with whom he identifies — those who believe that “every word in the Bible is true and infallible;” living as a gay man or woman is a sin. Hence, he has made himself believe that he was “created to be” something that does not come naturally to him, as he himself says that he is daily struggling with his perceived need for “self-denial” in this crucial area of his life.
He feels that he has “left homosexuality” because he is now married and has children! However, Jesus says that one’s true identity is based on one’s thoughts and not merely on how one acts! (Matthew 5:21-22; 27-28) Indeed, Proverbs 23 states: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. . .” Chambers, along with many others, seems to feel that being gay is what you do! However, being gay is what one is!
Chambers or anyone else can be heterosexually married and have numerous children and yet still be gay, because that’s how God created them, and no amount of self-denial or, more accurately in this area, self-torture, can or should change that fact.
It doesn’t seem to appear to Chambers and others in or out of the “ex-gay” movement that by seeking to deny this emotional/sexual primal part of their very selves, their souls, that they are throwing one of God’s precious gifts back in God’s face, and that they are preventing themselves from living “abundant” lives that Jesus promises His disciples so that they can fulfill the ministries that God has given each of them to do.
By viewing as an axiom that living as a gay man or woman is a sin, Chambers sets himself and many other gay people up for seeing their sexual orientation and the thoughts, “temptations,” behaviors, and relationships that go along with that sexual orientation as being inherently sinful! He doesn’t seem to ask himself why God would create gay people if God didn’t approve of gay people and their faithful relationships in the first place?
He seems to feel that the Bible condemns as sinful one’s living life as a gay man or woman, which it clearly doesn’t, despite repeated homophobic messages from assorted clergy and others who ignorantly think that one can “leave homosexuality;” tellingly, he omits consideration of the passage in Matthew 19:12 where Jesus is clearly talking about gay people: “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb. . . ”
“Eunuchs” who are born that way are undoubtedly God’s gay children! I’m not surprised that Chambers and so many others who are fundamentalist professing Christians never refer to this verse, as their homophobic assumptions and commensurate reading of the Bible hide this important truth from them.
I have genuine compassion for the Alan Chamberses of the world! And I have even greater compassion for all of God’s gay children who have been cruelly victimized by the mind-set that would in any way bear false witness against them!
Professor Emeritus of Sociology at California State University, Chico, Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker served as an ordained priest in the Congregational Catholic Church, a division of the Independent Catholic Churches International (ICCI). For many years he published a weekly column in the Sacramento Valley Mirror titled “Christianity and Society” where he dealt with a variety of social issues from a biblical and sociological perspective. He also published a blog called A Christian Voice for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights and the website Radical Christianity.