November 30, 2011 | by Phil Reese
Is ‘ex-gay’ group Exodus on the verge of collapse?

Attendees of a November 16th meeting have reported to LGBT blog Ex-Gay Watch that ‘ex-gay’ group Exodus International may be near the brink financial ruin.

According to Ex-Gay watch Exodus leadership, prominent religious leaders and former heavy-weights in the ‘ex-gay’ world gathered in New York to discuss “rebranding” Exodus with an eye on survival; with Exodus President Alan Chambers allegedly saying “everything is on the table.”

“It was also clear from the meeting that this is their last resort, their “Hail Mary” so to speak — they’ve tried everything else,” David Roberts of Ex-Gay Watch writes. “Indeed, it seems certain that Chambers would have made pleas to anyone he knew with money before taking this drastic action. And we’ve all seen the odd inconsistencies apparent in their public face.”

Exodus International has traditionally taught that same-sex attraction can be overcome with discipline and prayer. Exodus has been linked to the discredited “Love Won Out” tour with Focus on the Family, as well as other ‘ex-gay’ movements and promoters. Recently, Exodus board member, Don Schmierer played a part in helping push for a law in Uganda that would criminalize ‘homosexual behavior’ as well as even outlaw heterosexuals from advocating for LGBT people, and most notably, would impose capital punishment for HIV+ gays and lesbians.

Both Ex-Gay Watch and Truth Wins Out — an organization that directly confronts ‘ex-gay’ messaging — expressed belief that Exodus may follow the lead of former ex-gay camp leader John Smid in releasing an ‘apology’ of sorts in order to change its public image.

“…[W]e know that Chambers plans to make some announcements at the Exodus Leadership Conference in January, 2012,” the Ex-Gay Watch post says. “Speakers unusual for such an event have been invited, along with a church communications expert who was also present at the meeting. It may be through their voices that Chambers will frame the plan for re-branding Exodus. It will be after this conference that Exodus announces whatever it is they decide, presumably some sort of apology which allows them to maintain their core ideology, while claiming to have gone about expressing it badly — too much truth and not enough grace, etc.”

Truth Wins Out distributed a press release on Wednesday warning of an impending “fake apology” from Exodus.

“The problem with Exodus International is that it peddles a faulty product that causes harm to its clients,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Rebranding efforts for Exodus are no different than putting a new car body over a sputtering engine. It won’t be long before people realize it’s the same old lemon.”

 

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