An organization whose name is synonymous with the “ex-gay” movement, Exodus International, will soon cease to be, after its president apologized for trying to convert gays and lesbians through prayer. The apology from Alan Chambers has been expected, after he reached out to Lisa Ling of Our America and asked for the chance to offer it formally, two years after he appeared on her show for the first time. But the announcement that Exodus was closing came as a surprise on Wednesday. The board of directors of Exodus says it plans to start a new ministry at the still-under-construction URL reducefear.org, and that local branches of Exodus could continue operating autonomously, but not under the name Exodus.
Chambers’s full apology, an extended version of the one he’ll be offering on Our America Thursday, went live on Exodus’s site on Wednesday and opens with a story about Chambers causing an accident by swatting a bee in his car (it’s a metaphor for how he hurt gay people). In a separate post the same day, he explained the reasoning for shutting down the group entirely:
“Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism,” said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus. “For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.”
Chambers continued: “From a Judeo-Christian perspective, gay, straight or otherwise, we’re all prodigal sons and daughters. Exodus International is the prodigal’s older brother, trying to impose its will on God’s promises, and make judgments on who’s worthy of His Kingdom. God is calling us to be the Father – to welcome everyone, to love unhindered.”
One thing we imagine won’t be hurt by the dramatic turnaround: Our America’s ratings.