Thursday, June 20, 2013

A real apology

I think it's worthy of note when someone who has done some really bad things makes a sincere apology, and we have an example of that today.

There's a group called Exodus International. It's a Christian group founded in 1976 that has provided some of the theological and ideological ammunition for the bogus outfits that claim to "cure" homosexuality. I can hardly conceive of the suffering that Exodus and groups like it have caused to people who were indoctrinated to hate themselves for being different.

I have to admit, this week we saw a serious, sincere, and meaningful apology from these people. I'm not kidding: they admitted they were wrong all along, they apologized for the suffering they caused, and they shut themselves down.

Take look at part of his apology:
Yet, here I sit having hurt so many by failing to acknowledge the pain some affiliated with Exodus International caused, and by failing to share the whole truth about my own story. My good intentions matter very little and fail to diminish the pain and hurt others have experienced on my watch. The good that we have done at Exodus is overshadowed by all of this.Friends and critics alike have said it’s not enough to simply change our message or website. I agree. I cannot simply move on and pretend that I have always been the friend that I long to be today. I understand why I am distrusted and why Exodus is hated. 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

It's hard to read this, and the rest of their post, and not believe that they're sincere.

Plus, their action in shutting down the organization, at least as currently constituted, seems like a big, big deal.

For these reasons, the Board of Directors unanimously voted to close Exodus International and begin a separate ministry. “This is a new season of ministry, to a new generation,” said Chambers. “Our goals are to reduce fear (reducefear.org), and come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities.”

I'm not one of the people they hurt by their actions, so I'm in no position to accept the apology, but in times like these, when every politician's change of position on marriage equality, however tardy, is rightly welcomed into the movement, this change seems as big as the unprecedented swing in public opinion we've seen in the last ten years.

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