Today, Exodus International issued a policy statement regarding the criminalization of homosexuality.
Criminalization of Homosexuality
Exodus International opposes the criminalization of homosexual behavior as conducted by consensual adults in private. We strongly oppose the imprisonment, mistreatment, or death of homosexual men and women on the basis of their perceived or known sexual orientation. These actions breed cultural violence and institutionalized shame, neither of which reflect God’s redemptive heart.
In the blog post, Alan Chambers also expressed regret for the delayed response to information he received about the Ugandan ex-gay conference as well as the potential fall out.
That said, and without a wordy explanation or excuse, this public post is way overdue and I sincerely hope it clears up any speculation about how I really feel about gay and lesbian people, Ugandan or otherwise, the criminalization of homosexuality, Exodus’s connection to the now infamous Ugandan conference where Exodus board member, Don Schmierer spoke, and most importantly the grace of God.
First things first, I was personally lax in investigating thoroughly the pre-conference intelligence that was coming in from Timothy Kincaid, David Roberts and Warren Throckmorton, to name a few. My initial belief was that their major concern was over Caleb Lee Brundidge’s association with Richard Cohen. Again, no excuses, I was negligent in digging deeper and heeding their warnings. While I did share my concerns with Don Schmierer prior to the event, he was on the ground in Uganda and I saw this as an issue that didn’t warrant him canceling his appearance there—after all, in my mind, Don was simply sharing his normal talk on parenting. I do realize that his mere presence there, even as a private citizen, did give the appearance that Exodus was endorsing the conference and eventually the horrific political position that was fueled by that event.
I appreciate this acknowledgement. Alan is correct that some of the initial concern related to the involvement of Brundidge but as he says here, it was much deeper. The events in Uganda, played out over the last 16 months, have required U.S. Christians to rethink their stance toward homosexuals. As Alan’s remarks indicate, it is now necessary to articulate one’s position on criminalization. The Uganda situation unearthed a division among social conservatives about the law and homosexuality. Just yesterday, one of the voices of the American Family Association, Bryan Fischer, again said that he favors a return to laws penalizing homosexual conduct. The Ugandan initiative has touched many American evangelicals in a way that few issues have, forcing many ministries and leaders to choose sides. While I personally had little doubt that the policy of Exodus was to oppose criminalization, today’s announcement makes that clear. I applaud them.