On Tuesday, Exodus President Alan Chambers posted a note of support, on his personal blog, for General Peter Pace's denigration of gay and lesbian service members as "immoral". Chambers contrasted Gen. Pace's comments with Ann Coulter's "faggot" remark earlier this month, admonishing Coulter's insult as "rude and unnecessary" and Pace's comments "true" and "respectfully honest".
Ex-gay blogger Jay then asked Chambers what his thoughts were on the actual subject of debate, the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Surprisingly after raving about leaders "who are willing to be respectfully honest about their beliefs and opinions without regard for what is politically correct", Chambers avoiding sharing his opinion about DADT with the politically correct statement, "I am not sure where I stand on gays serving in the millitary.".
Puzzled by Chambers unbelievable "not sure" response, I commented that I found it hard to believe that the leader of one of the nation's only conservative Christian ministries that specializes in sexual orientation doesn't have an opinion about whether gays and lesbians are suitable to serve in the military. Chambers then again responded, "I just don't know how I feel about actually having gays in the millitary."
Exodus' employees, Randy Thomas and Mike Ensley, commented in support of their boss's opinion. Ensley even goes so far as to says:
"On the one hand, I don't at all devalue the sacrifice that anyone makes by serving in our military. Whether they identify as gay or not doesn't detract from that."
Apparently casting out and ending the careers of gay and lesbians service members is a way of showing respect.
Again, it's hard to believe that people who devote their careers to supposedly "ministering" to gays and lesbians, 'don't know' about gay and lesbian service members' suitability to serve in the military. Although Chambers says, "Those who know me or of me know that I don't hold back my opinions on any issues that I feel strongly about.", it seems more likely that he is avoiding the issue because it's a lose-lose situation. If he says he supports the anti-gay DADT policy, it would be just another reason to imply that the president of a controversial "ex-gay" ministry is really just a gay hater since there is no rational reason to discriminate against gays in the military. If he says he opposes DADT, he risks alienating his right-wing supporters many of which are already queasy about recognizing gays and lesbians as anything other than hell-bound sexual deviants. *So, he takes the PC way of "passively" supporting DADT by not opposing or supporting the status quo.
This type run-around from the president of Exodus gave me a little PTSD of my ex-gay experience. Every time I want to believe that ex-gay leaders are reasonable people who are really just want to hold onto the 'old time' religion I was once held, I run into these confusing mix-messages that make me question if even they know what their intentions are.
These mixed messages seem to be part of the "Love the sinner, hate the sin" theology they even admit is the wrong message. Here some examples of confusing messages I believe ex-gay groups promote:
- We are NOT about turning gays into straights, but we uphold heterosexuality and hetero-marriage as superior and don't mind if the term "change" is misleading.
- We don't call gays perverts or deviants, but those with same-sex attractions are probably developmentally stunted, sexually abused, emotionally dependent, etc.
- There is no ex-gay "program" and we don't promise a cure, but we will be happy to sell you a two-year course, live-in ministry, books, and seminars as long as you don't expect an outcome
- And now: We support gays and lesbians who serve, but don't know if they are moral and suitable to serve in the military and understand if the military decides to discriminate against them.
*03/15/2007 12:36 PT UPDATE: I made some relatively minor changes in the wording and grammar and added this (*) sentence.