Exodus Backs away from Reparative Therapy

Some big news broke this week about Exodus International, a well-known Christian ministry to homosexuals. Exodus International is backing away from the long-held view that sexual orientation can be changed through reparative therapy. Groups like Exodus have been excoriated in the mainstream press over the years for supporting such therapies, as the AP reports:

Exodus has seen its influence wane in recent decades, as mainstream associations representing psychiatrists and psychologists have relegated reparative therapy to crackpot status. But Exodus and groups like it continue to influence many evangelicals and fundamentalists, and gay rights activists said the damage they inflict on individuals can be deep and lasting.

But the AP also reports on the response from a homosexual activist named Wayne Besen who has worked to discredit reparative therapy. His remarks are very revealing.

We appreciate any step toward open, transparent honesty that will do less harm to people. But the underlying belief is still that homosexuals are sexually broken, that something underlying is broken and needs to be fixed. That’s incredibly harmful, it scars people.

Take note of Besen’s remarks. You would think that he would be happy to see Exodus leave behind reparative therapy, which he regards as junk science. But he’s not. It’s not really the so-called junk science that was ever the most offensive aspect of Exodus’ ministry. The offensive part is the fact that Exodus holds to a Christian sexual ethic. In other words, Exodus regards homosexual behavior as sin.

Don’t expect Exodus’ opponents to let up on them. They won’t. Exodus’s commitment to a Christian sexual ethic has not changed, and that is the part that the activists cannot tolerate.


  • Ken Temple

    I don’t understand. Is Exodus International saying that God’s power through prayer and the Holy Spirit and counseling doesn’t work? God cannot change a person?

    What exactly do they mean?

  • Brian McKee

    when YOU have undergone the spiritual abuse so-called “Christians” dish out in the name of “loving” LGBT persons, THEN you might have reason to criticize Besen’s position. Until Exodus cares to reimburse me for the years I’ve spent in and out of therapy trying to recover from the very carefully taught self-loathing and trying to fix the damaged family relationships – never mind the ABANDONMENT issues (like when my entire social network, church, DROPPED me because God wasn’t changing me from gay to straight)… or apologize for the lost decades with my family when they thought that ostracism would make me marry a woman and love Jesus more… there will be NO forgiveness from many of us for Exodus’ unconscionable behavior and attitudes.

    Think they’ll stop opposing my civil rights just because they’ve backed off from “pray away the gay?”

    Christian “love.” Why don’t you just shoot me and get it over with? At least the Phelps crew are up front about wanting us to not exist. You will simply protest with “we love you” words coupled with “we hate you” actions and act shocked when we don’t believe you for A SINGLE MOMENT that you wish any of us well.

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