It won’t change Exodus International’s habit of conflicting messaging, but the departure this week of executive vice president Jeff Buchanan (pictured here) is likely to bolster the hardline rival group, Restored Hope Ministries.

Buchanan’s public statements about homosexuality have been exceptionally negative, prejudicial, and judgmental, even for Exodus International. We agree with Ex-Gay Watch that he is likely to emerge among the leadership circle of RHM in the near future. His support for certain unbiblical and professionally discredited tenets of reparative therapy will fit in well there.

The return of Randy Thomas as executive vice president — Buchanan had replaced him just last year — might have greatly confused Exodus’ softer approach to antigay activism, were it not for the promotion of Chris Stump (pictured at lower right) to Director of Communications.

Given some of Thomas’ illogical and egocentric statements during his previous nine-year tenure at Exodus HQ, putting him back in charge of public relations would not have been a good idea. Thomas had been responsible for Exodus’ most convoluted efforts, via identity politics, to sidestep the essential nature of sexual orientation. Thomas also reacted less-than-diplomatically to a number of brewing crises. So the assignment of Stump to external communications may signal a move toward clearer messaging.

Thomas’ strengths are in web consulting and art, not non-profit management or religious counseling. Amid the staff changes of recent years, I remain puzzled as to why none of Exodus staff — for all their godtalk — has a robust and balanced background in either theology or the mental-health sciences.

I’m happy for Thomas, but a hire from mainstream psychology or mainline Christian academia would have done more  to improve Exodus’ credibility.