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Ignite Student Outreach tries to downplay Exodus ties

NC activist (and Blender) Matt Hill Comer has been following the meandering story of Ignite Student Outreach, which I posted about a few days ago (Exodus ‘ex-gay’ Close Encounters planned for summer youth camp).

The organization is not happy with the publicity of late about its ties to “ex-gay” Exodus International. (Gee, then why did they send out this ridiculous e-flyer to me and a whole lot of other gay bloggers?)

Along with the ridiculous “youth communicator” Justin Lookadoo, a low-rent “Christian author” and abstinence “educator,” the camps will feature Scott Davis, director of Exodus Youth and Alan Chambers, ex-gay-for-pay head of Exodus as speakers. One of the camps will be in the western NC town of Ridgecrest.

Matt reports that Ignite has revamped its web site, changing its Affliliates listing to include other organizations — Exodus had been the only affiliate and it was prominently featured on the page. (Matt has screen caps).

Ignite also added North Carolina’s Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary as a “Friend.” The institution, operated by the NC Baptist State Convention, doesn’t allow openly LGBT students to enroll there.

It’s pretty clear from the promotional materials that these camps are going to be used to train young folks to be “ex-gay” advocates, a kind of farm system for Exodus (which clearly needs to beef up its “talent”) to do “outreach.”


I’ve done some thinking, along with other folks around the web (at Wayne Besen’s site and Ex-Gay Watch), and it seems a little weird to me that any camp would be able to “turn a kid straight” in just four days, the length of each camp. Looking more closely at the camp invite and the speakers profiles for Alan Chambers and Scott Davis, it seems as though this program and camp might be more about training Christian youth leaders to deal in the dogma of the un-true, harmful and, according to some, disingenuous dogma of the ex-gay movement.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding