Exodus International, a religious organization whose motto for the past three decades has to been to "help" gays find "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ," has decided to close down and apologize to the gay community.
In an unprecedented move for a Christian organization with the mission to "cure" the gay out of homosexuals, the group has issued an apology on its website, taking the blame for what it calls "years of undue judgment by the organization and the Christian Church as a whole."
The president of Exodus, Alan Chambers, who is married with children but has also confessed to being attracted to other men, issued a personal apology on the group's blog, writing:
"Our ministry has been public and therefore any acknowledgement of wrong must also be public. I haven't always been the leader of Exodus, but I am now and someone must finally own and acknowledge the hurt of others. I do so anxiously, but willingly."
For years, Exodus has used a conversion therapy, the sole aim of which is to change a person from homosexual to straight through therapy sessions. But recently, the group began to abandon the project. Chambers says he recognizes that method as destructive.
"For quite some time, we've been imprisoned in a worldview that's neither honoring toward our fellow human beings nor biblical," he says.
And while Chambers is himself gay and has opening apologized to the gay community and shutting down Exodus, he still clings to his beliefs about homosexuality, as he believes it from Scripture.
"I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in Scripture surrounding sex," he says. "But I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them. I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek."
Chambers and the Exodus board of directors are starting up a new ministry, called Reduce Fear, which aims to make Christian churches more tolerant of gays.
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