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'Ex-gay' meltdown – Stephen Bennett chastises Alan Chambers

[UPDATE: The folks at BeyondExGay have invited Exodus members to discuss their stories as former clients of ex-gay ministries and the effect it had on their lives. See the open letter after the jump.]

Exodus International’s Alan Chambers recently made what many see as a public shift on the ex-gay ministry stance that homosexuality can be cured:

With years of therapy, Chambers says, he has mostly conquered his own attraction to men; he’s a husband and a father, and he identifies as straight. But lately, he’s come to resent the term “ex-gay”: It’s too neat, implying a clean break with the past, when he still struggles at times with homosexual temptation. “By no means would we ever say change can be sudden or complete,” Chambers said.

There has been an eruption of anger and outrage from recloseted homosexual “cured” professional heterosexual Stephen Bennett, who takes issue with Chambers’ reassessment of the situation. (Christian Newswire):

Stephen Bennett, President of Stephen Bennett Ministries, a pro-family organization advocating for the traditional family, the protection of children and proclaiming the truth about homosexuality, condemned the irresponsible and disturbing remarks attributed to and made by Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, an organization claiming to be “The largest information and referral ministry in the world on homosexual issues.”

Bennett, along with many others pro-family leaders, were shaken Monday by Chamber’s remarks and are eagerly awaiting Exodus International’s official response to their President’s misguided statements.

Stephen, still in shock, goes on to recount his life of misery as a homo and offers a challenge to Chambers…His rant continues:

On CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer”, the interviewer positioned Chambers as concurring there may be a “biological” basis for homosexuality.

There is ZERO biological, scientific “evidence” for homosexuality to this date. The biblical evidence for homosexuality is very clear: it’s sin.

…Stephen Bennett, an ex-gay himself now for 15 years, happily married for 14 years to his wife Irene and the father of their two children, stated, “Frankly, I am shocked that the President of the largest information and referral ministry in the world on homosexual issues, would ever make such irresponsible and false public statements. If Mr. Chambers, a married man and father  who once engaged in homosexuality himself, says he’s never met ‘a former ex-gay’ or one who has ‘changed completely’, he’s personally invited to our home in Connecticut to meet one. I’d also be happy to introduce him to numerous other individuals – all former homosexual men and women.”

Bennett once engaged in the homosexual lifestyle for 11 years with over 100 men – losing partners and friends to HIV/AIDS, until everything changed in 1990 – when he was confronted with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He dealt with his root issues and in 1992 completely changed. Stephen no longer struggles whatsoever with homosexual temptation.

“Homosexuality is an outward expression of an inward conflict. When I completely dealt with my inward conflict, my alcoholism, cocaine addiction, bulimia AND homosexual struggle were completely gone,” said Bennett.

Joe Brummer says this about Bennett:

I sometimes, actually most of the time, feel bad for Bennett.  I feel Stephen needs to believe, as well as many other ex-gays, the things he does.  He needs to believe that gays and lesbians can just change and that all they need to do is find god.  The fact remains that dozens of men and women, including Alan Chambers, are still homosexual regardless what they call themselves.  The dictionary and science define homosexual as someone attracted to the same sex and Alan has stated more than once that even though he calls himself a heterosexual, he is still “tempted” by his same sex attractions.  In other words, he is still a homosexual. I too, hope that Alan will clarify his statements as I see this as a very important step towards finding the truth.

Peterson Toscano and Christine Bakke of Beyond Ex-Gay have invited the Exodus folks to break bread and discuss the serious issues that affect those who struggle with their orientation and end up as clients of the ex-gay-for-pay movement.

An Open Invitation to Exodus International for Dinner and Dialogue

Dear Exodus Leaders,

It is no coincidence that we scheduled the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference at the same time and in the same city as Exodus? Freedom Conference. Although we do not wish to interrupt your gathering, we do long for the opportunity to connect with you. Many of us have spent months and years under your care in your ministries. We turned to you for help and received some good from our time under your care. Sadly our ex-gay experiences caused more harm than good, and for many of us we have needed years to recover.

We understand that this was not your intent. From knowing quite a few of you personally, we know that you have a heart to help people and to serve God. You meant to bless us.

Too often once we leave your programs, you never hear about our lives and what happens to us. Most ministries do not have aftercare programs or any formal means to follow-up on participants. Some stories you do not get to hear. If you do, our stories can be simplified by the press or infused with anger or hurt. In hopes of giving you the opportunity to hear about our experiences and the harm that we felt came to us as a result of our pursuit of an ex-gay life, we would like to invite you to join us for a private dinner on Friday, June 29, 2007.

The purpose of the dinner is to give you an opportunity to hear our stories. We do not wish to bash you, attack you or shame you. We simply desire to share our stories with you. No members of the press will be allowed into the dinner and it will not be recorded or filmed. We are hoping for a small gathering with a few ex-gay leaders and some ex-gay survivors. At the dinner a few of us will tell you our stories.

If you are interested in attending this dinner, please RSVP to bxg@beyondexgay.com.

Sincerely,
Peterson Toscano and Christine Bakke

Ex-gay survivors and co-founders of www.BeyondExGay.com

H/t, Dan Gonzales and Scott (check out his  “Ex-gay Glossary of Terms“).

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Pam Spaulding

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