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June 20, 2013 12:09 PM “Gay Therapy” Ministry Founder Bags Entire Organization

By Ryan Cooper

The big news on the LGBT-rights front is the astonishing announcement that Exodus International (one of the original pray-the-gay-away “ministries”) is folding up. Here’s the press release:

Irvine, Calif. (June 19, 2013) — Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality announced tonight that it’s closing its doors after three-plus decades of ministry. The Board of Directors reached a decision after a year of dialogue and prayer about the organization’s place in a changing culture.

This follows hard on the heels of a public apology from the group’s co-founder, Alan Chambers:

Several months ago, this conversation led me to call Lisa Ling to take another step on this messy journey. I asked if she would, once again, help us add to the unfolding story by covering my apology to the people who have been hurt by Exodus International. Our ministry has been public and therefore any acknowledgement of wrong must also be public. I haven’t always been the leader of Exodus, but I am now and someone must finally own and acknowledge the hurt of others. I do so anxiously, but willingly.
It is strange to be someone who has both been hurt by the church’s treatment of the LGBT community, and also to be someone who must apologize for being part of the very system of ignorance that perpetuated that hurt. Today it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church.

It’s yet more evidence, if we needed any, that full legal recognition of gay marriage rights is only a matter of time. Even white Christian evangelicals—who continue to overwhelmingly disapprove of gay marriage—think it’s inevitable.

(For the best headline winner, see here.)

Ryan Cooper is a National Correspondent at The Week, and a former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @ryanlcooper

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