In one of the best articles on the ex-gay myth in years, the Times of London captured the true essence of these dangerous programs when the newspaper went undercover at Exodus International's 2007 annual conference in Asheville, NC. The article cut through the spin, painted an accurate portrait of what Exodus is about and offered a genuine glimpse of the pain and suffering caused by sexual engineering programs.
Reporter Lucy Bannerman did her homework and rightfully highlighted the false advertising of Exodus that leads people to believe that they can pray away the gay. The counterfeit hope and unrealistic expectations are made clear when Exodus' leader Alan Chambers triumphantly appears at a pep rally.
"How many of you are in need of some hope here tonight?" A murmur passes through the dark auditorium, pleasing Chambers, the man with the microphone. Heads nod. "How many of you are at the end of your rope?" he continues. "How many are ready for an encounter with the Lord?"
Later in the expose, "an amazing week of breakthroughs, transformations and healings," is promised. And, an Exodus sexual engineer tells the reporter that she will have a "very impactful" experience. The reporter also points out that an Exodus's affiliate in the United Kingdom, Re-alignment Ministries, uses the slogan "reinventing people." Anyone who says that Exodus is not misleading people with pie-in-the-sky promises of heterosexuality is simply not telling the truth.
I thought it did a good job of describing the movement, especially that it is very much a religious movement and not really anything grounded in science or credible therapy.
But along those lines, I also thought the article could have used some scientific insight, and mention known facts about human sexuality and how they compare to (i.e. contradict) the ex-gays' claims. It should have mentioned how the Christian right is distorting scientific research.
It also doesn't do enough to put the movement in its wider political context, which is that it's being used by powerful organizations and politicians to sway public opinion and argue against equal rights for all gays and lesbians.
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