(Randy Thomas, Left)

Exodus Blatantly Lies In Local Media And Unveils Deceptive “Asheville Talking Points’ To Appeal To Progressives, Says TWO

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — TruthWinsOut.org (TWO) teamed-up with an inspiring group of state and local GLBT advocates to fight back against the “ex-gay” group Exodus International, which invaded the progressive city of Asheville, North Carolina this week with its cruel message of false hope. This Friday, TWO founder Wayne Besen will also appear on a panel, to discuss the movie “Fish Can’t Fly,” an expose on the ex-gay industry.

“I have been honored to speak out against lies and intolerance with so many incredible activists in Western North Carolina,” said Truth Wins Out’ Executive Director Wayne Besen. “We are having an impact and making a difference in the lives of many people.”

The Exodus conference has been a hot topic and covered by the local mainstream media — which has generally done a decent job. However, Exodus leaders Randy Thomas and Alan Chambers have been chronically lying to the press and spinning the truth. Chambers began the mendacious marathon by claiming in the Asheville Citizen-Times that Exodus’ message is “not about fire and brimstone.” Oh, really?

Exodus leader, Alan Chambers, said in a 2005 Exodus Newsletter, “One of the many evils this world has to offer is the sin of homosexuality. Satan, the enemy, is using people to further his agenda to destroy the Kingdom of God and as many souls as he can.”

At the “Family Impact Summit,” a right wing conference in Brandon, Florida held on Sept. 21, 2007, Chambers told the crowd of social conservatives, “We have to stand up against an evil agenda. It is an evil agenda and it will take anyone captive that is willing, or that is standing idly by.”

TWO’ Besen said Chambers is opportunistically spinning his message to appeal to a local tradition of moderation and tolerance.

“Exodus has taken their campaign to new levels of insincerity,” said TWO’ Besen. “They have disgracefully unveiled “Asheville Talking Points’ to appeal to people who live in this progressive community. This is the most shameful bearing of false witness I have ever seen.”

In a statement in the same article, Chambers told the reporter that as many as 80 percent of those who attend Exodus conferences were sexually abused, clearly linking homosexuality with sexual abuse. Nowhere is this false link confirmed in the scientific literature, nor does any respected mental health association back Chambers’ politically motivated claim.

“Homosexuality has nothing to so with sexual abuse any more than heterosexuality does,” said Besen. “If a disproportionate number of Exodus recruits have been molested, they need immediate support from trained mental health professionals, not the unlicensed Exodus televangelists who dabble in the latest right wing pop psychology.”

Using slick double-talk, Chambers went on to say that, “One of the most common misconceptions is that we do conversion. We don’t fix people, and we don’t change people, but we have experienced a change in our lives.”

Chambers, however, is being dishonest and deliberately misleading people. His organization hyped the conference by Chambers disingenuously claiming, “There is a biblical alternative, that we can find freedom from homosexuality.” Clearly, anyone who is troubled with being gay is going to perceive “freedom from homosexuality” as a transition to heterosexuality. To say otherwise is to be a charlatan who is taking advantage of desperate and vulnerable people.

The most outrageous lie of the week came from Exodus activist Randy Thomas who told the Citizen-Times, “We get lumped into the groups that do reparative therapy, when it’ just not true.”

“The entire Exodus conference — from the books sold to the seminars — is based on the theories of reparative therapy,” said Besen. “Without reparative therapy, there would be virtually no program in Asheville. Randy Thomas is lying to the people of Asheville to make his extreme organization appear mainstream. The ease at which Chambers and Thomas habitually twist the truth is alarming.”

If you would like to meet Wayne Besen, he will be at the following events in Asheville:

Friday, July 18, 7:00 PM
Film: “Fish Can’t Fly”
Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville
Charlotte St. at Edwin Place, Asheville, NC 28801
Discussion follows. Wayne Besen will discuss appearing in the film

Saturday, July 19, 11 AM — 2 PM Real-Families Picnic!!
Recreation Park – 69 Gashes Creek Rd. Asheville, NC 28805
(off Swannanoa River Rd. next to WNC Nature Center)