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Ex-gay survivors: Exodus kingpin pulled wool over eyes of TV viewers

SAN DIEGO -- Two LGBT activists who confronted Exodus International leader Alan Chambers on a television show Thursday night say they have uncovered evidence that Chambers’ apology was likely a publicity stunt to blunt criticism of the junk science known as “ex-gay therapy.”

Both men, along with other survivors of reparative therapy, faced off against Chambers on the "Our America With Lisa Ling: God And Gays" episode that aired Thursday night on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). The day before the pre-taped show aired, Chambers had announced to the world that Exodus International was closing down after 30 years of unsuccessfully trying to "cure" homosexuality.

The "God And Gays" episode drew considerable attention in the media in the days leading up to the show as well as after the show aired. A clip from the show featuring Sean Sala, a San Diego activist, was shown on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews" on Friday afternoon.

Sala and Michael Bussee of Riverside, Calif., who is one of the founders of Exodus and has since become biggest critic, said late Saturday night that they have obtained a letter that ties Chambers to The Sight Ministry, a new "ex-gay" movement based in Nashville, Tenn.

Sala posted this news release on his blog called TALKHILLCREST:

It's not even been three days after Alan Chambers has apologized to the LGBT community on national news and in an exclusive expose' on "Our America with Lisa Ling: God and Gays."

Chambers has said that he is shutting down Exodus and claimed that there will be no former affiliation with his new ministry reducefear.org.

It appears that Alan Chambers has possibly instead been the conductor of a huge publicity and PR stunt.

This email was obtained by Michael Bussee (former Exodus creator and critic.) The email was sent to Michael as a "red flag" by former Exodus leader John Smid. Michael Bussee sent it to National LGBT activist Sean Sala. Both confronted Alan Chambers in the show.

Sala via a Facebook conversation told San Diego Gay & Lesbian News that the “new group he allies with calls gays broken.”

Bussee said he sees through the façade that Chambers portrayed to the media this week.

"Exodus may drop the name. The formal ‘organization’ may disband. They may not openly promote orientation change. But the new ministry (if it gets off the ground) will still be spreading the message that gay relationships are somehow ‘broken,’ less acceptable to God and not fully deserving of equality under law,” Bussee said.

“Although not under the name ‘Exodus,’ they will maintain strong ties to groups that still teach that homosexuality is disordered and that parents somehow cause this. Their mission will continue. Under the radar, cloaked in a kinder, gentler ‘welcoming’ guise. But still carrying a deadly payload of shame," Bussee said late Saturday night.

The Sight Ministry website appears to be a work in progress with some sections incomplete. Here is the ministry’s Vision statement:

The Lord has given us a vision for a ministry to individuals struggling with sexual brokenness and/or sexual identity issues. This ministry is called ‘Sight Ministry.’ Several scriptures refer to Jesus giving “sight to the blind”. We believe this is our calling to help those who are spiritually blind in order that they may see. “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind received sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” Luke 7:22

The ministry’s statement is:

The mission of The Sight Ministry is to provide individuals struggling with sexual brokenness and/or same-sex attractions a safe place to receive “sight” through compassion and love based upon the uncompromising Truth of the Word of God. It is important for the Church to offer hope through an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ to those in our community who are dealing with sexual brokenness and sexual identity issues.

Here is the email sent by Richard Holloman of The Sight Ministry that Sala and Bussee obtained:

Date: June 22, 2013, 2:33:02 AM EDT
To: Richard Holloman
Subject: News About Exodus & Sight Ministry

Hello Fellow Sight Ministry Partners & Friends:

Some of you may have heard the news that Exodus International is shutting down after the current conference that I’m attending. I wanted to send out a very short note to assure you guys we’re doing well.

Please do not believe everything you may be hearing and reading in the new media. I have spent countless hours with Alan Chambers (Exodus President) and several of the board members to have a clear understanding of where they are with all of this and how they believe the LORD is leading them.

I can assure you, Alan, the board and other leaders affiliated with Exodus have NOT changed their/our views about gay issues. We still believe ANY sexual expression outside of marriage between a husband (man) and a wife (woman) is sinful & contrary to GOD’s plan for human sexuality. We continue to believe that gay marriage is NOT GOD’s plan.

What has changed is how we are going about reaching out to those who are gay and to those who battle against SSA issues. We refuse to enter into legalism and a works mentality. We will not continue focusing on behavior modification techniques but rather we will focus on discipleship and taking people deeper in their relationship with our Heavenly Father. This is what Sight Ministry has been doing from the very beginning (January 2000).

We will be more intentional in trying to cultivate relationships for dialogue with gay-identified individuals because we believe the “Gospel of JESUS is the power of GOD unto salvation to all who believe” (Romans 1:16) We feel that speaking in judgment and condemnation against them is not going to reach them for Christ. This does not mean we are compromising what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. It simply means we are going to make a concerted effort to respond to all people as JESUS modeled for us. The only people JESUS spoke harshly to were the self-righteous religious leaders of His day.

This is a complex issue and we will be walking on a very fine line. It will be important for you to pray for us and for you to trust us.

After I get home from the conference I will begin posting blog articles consistently dealing with all of these issues. It will be difficult to communicate but I want us to enter into dialogue. Based on where our culture is and where the church is in America what we have been doing has not been working; look at the state of our culture and look at the state of many churches. It is time to step into the prophetic and to call GOD’s people to confession and repentance.

I believe I will be misunderstood by some and that I will be attacked by some. But I feel extremely passionate about this new season and I am willing to enter into suffering for JESUS’ sake and for the sake of the authentic gospel of JESUS.

Please pray for us.

Richard Holloman
The Sight Ministry
PO Box 140808
Nashville, TN 37214

"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." - John Piper

Holloman is on Twitter as @RichHolloman and his profile reads:

Executive Director of Sight Ministry, Nashville, TN, (deals with unwanted same-sex issues); Widower; son: Shad; his wife, Tami; 1 grandson Christopher; BA/MDiv

Nashville, TN · thesightministry.blogspot.com