Watchdog Groups Demand “Ex-Gay’ Organization Dismiss Leader, Alan Chambers, After Exodus International Participates In Ugandan Anti-Gay Hate Conference
Exodus Under Fire After Group Remains Silent As Speakers At Ugandan Event Seek To “Wipe Out’ Homosexuality And Imprison Gays
NEW YORK — The three leading watchdog organizations that monitor “ex-gay” ministries today called on the largest such group, Exodus International, to fire its leader, Alan Chambers. The coalition charged in a letter to Bob Ragan, chair of the Exodus Board of Directors, that Chambers allowed the organization to be used and give credibility to a conference that promoted human rights abuses against gay and lesbian people.
Representatives from Ex-Gay Watch, Box Turtle Bulletin and Truth Wins Out signed the letter, which stated:
“We, the undersigned organizations, have monitored the ex-gay industry for more than a decade. To our great horror, prominent members of the ex-gay organization Exodus International participated last week in a conference in Uganda that promoted shocking abuses of basic human rights. This included draconian measures against gay and lesbian people such as forced ex-gay therapy, life imprisonment for people convicted of homosexuality and the formation of an organization designed to ‘wipe out’ gay practices in Uganda. The conference also featured Scott Lively, a holocaust revisionist who at the event also blamed the 1994 Rwandan genocide on gay people.”
“Alan Chambers has shown a serious lack of leadership by allowing Exodus to become part of such a horrible event,” said David Roberts, Editor of Ex-Gay Watch. “The participation of board member Don Schmierer in the Ugandan anti-gay conference undermines any credibility they may have had, and puts them right in the middle of serious human rights abuses. What on earth were they thinking?”
“I’m outraged that Don Schmierer used his position with Exodus to legitimize calls for further criminalizing and forced “therapy’ for gays and lesbians,” said Jim Burroway, founder and editor of Box Turtle Bulletin. “Exodus’ failure to speak out against the conference’s recommendations and denounce the Holocaust revisionism of Scott Lively is inexcusable. Those who allowed this to happen must be held accountable.”
“Exodus has turned a deaf ear to the violence committed against Ugandan sexual minorities,” said Truth Wins Out’ News Director, Mike Airhart. “Worse, it stood in public solidarity with those who are responsible for vigilante violence and state-sanctioned denial of freedom.”
“Alan Chambers has consistently taken Exodus International in unsavory directions that have brought great shame on the organization,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. “Exodus’ participation in the Ugandan conference only confirms that it is time he is removed from his position of leadership.”
The coalition’ letter went on to say:
“The facts incontrovertibly show that Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, was aware of the list of speakers and abhorrent content prior to the conference. Exodus board member Don Schmierer, who spoke in Uganda, made no objections to the radical and dangerous platform offered. Instead, these mortal threats to the lives of gay and lesbian people were met with a deafening silence. Exodus, in effect, gave this insidious conference its tacit approval.”
The coalition also called on Exodus to take the following steps:
‚Ä¢ Remove Board member Don Schmierer for speaking at a hate conference that promotes physical harm and psychological torture against GLBT people
‚Ä¢ Boldly articulate Exodus’ policy against human rights abuses including forced therapy
‚Ä¢ Promise to end future participation in all conferences that call on the persecution and criminalization of gay and lesbian people
Ex-Gay Watch is a group of writers who monitor the actions of ex-gay organizations. The result of this work appears at exgaywatch.com where civil debate and comment are welcome.
Box Turtle Bulletin is an online watchdog effort by a group of writers who specialize in news, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric. It is available at www.boxturtlebulletin.com
Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from anti-gay lies. TWO also counters the “ex-gay” myth and educates America about gay life. More information can be found at www.TruthWinsOut.org.
– 30 –