A fundamentalist Christian ministry that preached a 'cure' for gay people has closed after its leader, Alan Chambers, penned a letter saying he himself had been attracted to men. Exodus International, which comprises more than 200 churches across North America, revealed its decision to close on its website on Thursday, following the publication of Chambers’ apology to the LGBT community.
He wrote: "For quite some time we've been imprisoned in a worldview that's neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical. From a Judeo-Christian perspective, gay, straight or otherwise, we’re all prodigal sons and daughters." Chambers added that he had "omitted his ongoing same-sex attractions" while ministering to help gay people 'overcome' their sexual orientation.
Exodus, which was established in Florida, has preached a “gay cure” for more than 30 years and claimed to have helped thousands of Christians troubled by their sexuality. However, Chambers performed a volte-face late last year, claiming he no longer believed gay people could be cured, and the ministry announced its end this week.
Chambers, who has a wife, said: “Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse."
The closure of the controversial church was welcomed by gay rights campaigners, and while many pointed to the ministry’s demise as further indication of the growing acceptance of homosexuality in society, some suggested that the concept of “curing gay people” had become so antediluvian that the church’s closure was inevitable.