Friday, June 21, 2013

Exodus International Makes Its Exit - and the World Is a Better Place

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Way back in 1973 the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders, commonly known as the DSM, removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.  Three years after that a religious group in Anaheim, California, founded an organization called Exodus International whose mission was to help people overcome their homosexuality with a type of “change” therapy.  This attempt to “pray the gay away” spread like cancer throughout the land and eventually encompassed two-hundred-and-sixty ministries across North America.

The concept of these “ex-gay” ministries was based on two fallacies:  First of all, a belief that many, if not all, gay people chose to be gay, and could therefore change their minds and choose to not be gay – if given the right Christian education and incentives (like eternal salvation).   The second fallacy was that if people were indeed born with a disposition toward being gay, they could learn to set their sexual natures aside and be celibate – or maybe even see the light and change their sexual orientation.  Both of these ideas were nonsense and served primarily to foster self-loathing and psychic trauma - and sadly, even suicide.

But thoughts and attitudes about sexuality in America are rapidly changing.  A Gallup Poll in 2001 found that forty-percent of American adults believed that gay and lesbian relationships were morally acceptable.    Gallup asked that same question last month (May of 2013) and found that the number of American adults who believed gay and lesbian relationships were morally acceptable had risen to fifty-nine  percent – a nineteen-point increase in just twelve years.  Twelve states and the District of Columbia now permit gay marriage, and the U.S. Supreme Court could announce two decisions related to gay marriage as early as next week.

With the world changing so quickly, it wasn’t too surprising to learn that Exodus International announced earlier this week that it is shutting down.  In making the announcement, the organization’s president, Alan Chambers, apologized for the “shame and trauma” that Exodus International has caused over the years.

This type of treatment is worse than useless – it actually harms people.  The California legislature has made it illegal to practice “reparative therapy” in their state, and that legislative remedy will undoubtedly make its way into other states as politicians race to catch up with the public on the issue.

Alan Chambers and the members of Exodus International should be commended for pulling the plug on their organization before even more lives are ruined by a “therapy” that has no basis in research.  Hopefully Marcus Bachmann’s clinic will get the memo.

No comments: