I, too, have been taking a personal moral
inventory. So many eye-opening experiences have occurred in the past
twenty-four months – including the suicide of a beloved friend and former
partner this past January. The loss of Michael forced me to
face some issues I had not been willing to deal with until that time. And it’s
through this process that I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to apologize
to the gay community.
My understanding of public policy at that time
was limited to the talking points I was given to tailor my testimony around. I
did not do much research beyond these talking points – and as a result, my
perspective was limited and nearsighted. I
am very sorry that my uncritical perspective contributed to the hurt that many
LGBT persons were already feeling.
I participated in the
hurtful echo chamber of condemnation. I gave lip service to the gay community,
but really did not exemplify compassion for them. I placed the battle over
policy above my concern for real people. I sometimes valued the shoulder pats I
was given by religious leaders more than Jesus’ commandment to love and serve.
That was wrong and I’m disappointed in myself. Please forgive me.
I directly empowered people to co-opt my
testimony and use it against the gay community. There were a few times I almost
worked up the nerve to confront them, only to hear them invoke my name at an
opportune moment. “Of course I love gay people,” they would say. “Just look at
my good friend Randy…” It was very selfish of me to back down in these
situations. I apologize.
I was, in a sense, attracted to this kind of
power and allowed my conscience to be numbed so I could have a seat at their
table. In the name of trying to positively affect Christian leaders, I
willingly became one of their pawns. Again, I was selfish and prideful. Please
The only thing I don’t regret about my past
public policy efforts are some of the friends I made during that time. These
few trusted Christians are in the public policy realm for all the right
Keeping The Peace – Putting Out Fires at
In 1992, I was part of an Exodus affiliated
ministry in Texas that believed being in relationship with Jesus alone was our
goal. I never felt pressured to change my same sex orientation. I saw my life
greatly improved by having the freedom to question my sexuality and identity. I
assumed this was what happened at every Exodus group, and I ended up idealizing
the entire ministry based on my singular experiences in Texas. However, after
joining the Exodus staff, I was confronted with the reality that some methods used
by some of our local ministries ended up bringing hurt and pain to the very
people they were trying to comfort.
There are many good people in the broader Exodus
movement that I didn’t want to hurt by sharing the bad we’d uncovered. Other
staff members and I dealt with some of these ills privately. But by keeping
quiet, and not even letting our own leaders know the depths of what concerned
us, I contributed to the negative response surrounding Alan’s recent apology.
To protect some leaders, which wasn’t totally inappropriate, others didn’t know
how bad some things had gotten. Therefore, some have been shocked that Alan
apologized and that I, among others, were supportive. In order to protect the
reputation of some, I chose silence. I apologize for remaining silent and
passive. Looking back on my time with Exodus, it seems I was always waiting for
a convenient time to discuss some of my concerns publicly. But as Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. once said, “There is never a wrong time to do the right thing.”
look back at some of my old interviews, group meetings, and keynotes over the
past twenty years, I realize there are many things I would communicate
differently today. In the past I taught quite a mixture of
performance-based accomplishment along with God’s grace. I taught that God is
always present, but if we don’t manage our sin properly, it could negatively
impact our relationship with Him.
That’s not grace. It doesn’t take seriously the
finished work of the Cross.
back on my time as a Living Waters coordinator (eleven years ago) with the most
remorse. Even though there is some good in this program, it often ripped open
old wounds in the name of healing by attempting to manufacture an environment
for the Lord to work in. I have to apologize for the times some people may have
felt manipulated to bare their souls to a group full of strangers. I apologize
for any pressure we, on the Living Waters team I led, might have placed on
group participants as we tried to help them cultivate “authentic experiences.”
As a trained Living Waters coordinator, I used to
hang on to every word Andrew Comiskey said. I even did some online consulting
work for him. But today, over a year after leaving his employ as a consultant,
I look back and recognize there were signs that something was wrong. In retrospect, I realize I helped build
Andrew Comiskey’s online platforms – platforms which have increasingly gotten
more vitriolic and stigmatizing toward the LGBT community. I regret that and
apologize to the gay community for idealizing and reinforcing the institutional
groupthink of Exodus. I apologize for remaining publicly silent about the hurt
caused by some of Exodus’ leaders and actions. I also apologize for my
inexperienced participation in public policy, placing my personal ambition over
truly serving the gay community as a Christian friend.
Moving forward, I pray the Lord helps keep me
humble and reveals any issues/situations that require my consideration. I will
keep an open heart and ear, and if and when action is necessary, I pray to find
the grace and courage to quickly apologize and/or make amends.
|Randy Thomas & Anthony Venn-Brown hug after the final meeting of the final Exodus Conference June 203|
Labels: apology, exodus, LGBT apology, Living Waters, randy thomas