Exodus closing was not an insignificant
event. It is/was a tipping point. For LGBT people, the Stonewall
riots in 1969 were a tipping point. The major factor that created
this was that the harassment and oppression had gone on for too long and it
ignited anger and rage in the gay men, lesbians and drag queens. The riots that
spilled over to several nights on the streets of Greenwich Village, New York
have been seen by many as the birth of the gay rights movement. We are still
feeling the impacts of that event over four decades later. President Obama's declaration in 2012, that he supported same sex
couples getting married was a tipping point. The graph below demonstrates the
impacts of this.
Some have suggested that Exodus closing
was solely a financial decision and that Alan and the Exodus leadership saw
"the writing on the wall". Whilst this may have been a contributing
factor, to accept this simplistic assumption demonstrates a lack of
understanding about the complexities involved and all that went on behind the
scenes. A deeper look reveals several
key factors that brought, what was inconceivable to many, into the world of
reality. Let's just remind ourselves again what actually happened.
The largest, most
influential, longest running (37 years) ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapy
organisation said "sorry we were wrong" and overnight closed its
From my observation all the factors
below were key elements that contributed to the closure. We can learn lessons
Personally, I've never
liked the term "culture wars" or used it; it's an evangelical
construct/concept. It began taking hold thanks to failed Republican
presidential nominee and televangelist Pat Buchanan.
In 1992 at the Republican
National Convention, he claimed: "There
is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to
the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself. The agenda
[Bill] Clinton and [Hillary] Clinton would impose on America — abortion on
demand..........homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools,
women in combat — that's change, all right. But it is not the kind of change
America wants. It is not the kind of change America needs. And it is not the
kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God's
fightin' words Pat. Rally the troops!
The mythical, conspiracy
theory, "The Gay Agenda" had now become a
Under some objective
analysis it isn't hard to see that American
evangelism is pretty much fear based. Fear of hell; fear of the judgment of
God on the nation, fear of being overcome, fear of losing your children and
freedom, a fear of falling from grace, a fear of being outside the will of God.
The list is endless. If you don’t believe me then just Google the comments by
high profile evangelical leaders in the US after September 11 and hurricane
Katrina. Fear drives people into action and is a powerful motivator for
was only a culture war in the minds of conservative Christians because they
felt threatened. Institutions only rise when they feel threatened. If there was
any war going on it was a battle for equality. What was actually happening was a shift in society's
consciousness/understanding of sexuality and gender identity that was leading
to equality. It's been a progressive evolution (another dirty word for
evangelicals) that has been going on for at least four decades. At one point Exodus moved from being a support
network to the front lines of the "culture wars". As Alan Chambers
has admitted ....this was a BIG mistake.
Sometimes the Christians
played real dirty as you will see on this Boxed Turtle article, In 2012, Charisma magazine resurrected
an eight year old article of Alan's possibly to discredit his and Exodus's
recent shifts. Alan responded, "I
have no idea why Charisma decided to reach so deep, edit and republish an 8
year old article that I am embarrassed that I ever wrote. Our PR team has asked
them to remove the article and not to repost it. "Shame on you Charisma,
whatever your motive/agenda was it certainly wasn't a holy/Christian/righteous one.
If you would like to
receive a PDF of the complete article click on this email address firstname.lastname@example.org and hit send.
Or read the 8 Factors that Created the Tipping Point separately.
No.1 The Society Shift Factor
No.2 The Gulf Factor
No.3 The Internet Factor
No.4 The Honesty Factor
No.5 The Bridge Building Factor
No.6 The Listening Factor
No.7 The Evolving Faith Factor
No.8 The Midlife Factor
© Anthony Venn-Brown is the co-founder and former leader of Freedom2b, Australia’s largest network of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people from Christian backgrounds. He is also an educator and consultant on LGBT/faith issues and leader in deconstructing the ‘ex-gay’ myth. Anthony’s autobiography 'A Life of Unlearning', details his journey from married, high profile preacher in Australia’s mega-churches to living as an openly gay man. Anthony has been twice voted ‘One of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians’ (2007 & 2009) and was one of four finalists for the 2011 ACON Community Hero Award. He is also the founder and CEO of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International.