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Commentary from Alan Chambers PDF Print E-mail

Letter to the Editor: Two Mommies is One Too Many
TIME.com original article
December 19, 2006

Letter to the Editor: Rev. Barnes, Ex-Church Chart Future
The Denver Post original article
December 18, 2006

Letter to the Editor: Rejecting Gay Feelings, Some Strive to Change
The Columbus Dispatch original article
June 23, 2006

Letter to the Editor: Anti-Gay Seminar Disputed
The Belleville News Democrat
April 26, 2006

Editorial: A Twig in the Fire
March 14, 2007

Editorial: Mark Foley & America’s Moral Schizophrenia
October 5, 2006

Editorial: Radicalism, Religion & Rosie O’Donnell
September 20, 2006

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Two Mommies is One Too Many

December 19, 2006
TIME.com original article
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Like most parents, Mary Cheney and Heather Poe are probably eager to provide a loving environment and a happy home for their child (“Two Mommies is One Too Many,” December 2, 2006). Unfortunately, they cannot provide what researchers say that this child needs most — both a mom and a dad.

This need is a universal truth that continues to manifest itself time and again. It is not mitigated by divorce, popular opinion, social debate or even sheer will. As a national ministry that continues to see an increasing number of men and women whose lives have been permanently affected by and in many cases, devastated by the physical or emotional absence of a mother or father, we know that homosexual parenting is a recipe for disaster.

America would do well to consider those for whom a motherless or fatherless home has been a personal tragedy before we intentionally sanction the creation of more.

Sincerely,

Alan Chambers
President, Exodus International

Rev. Barnes, Ex-Church Chart Future

December 18, 2006
The Denver Post original article
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

As someone who leads an evangelical ministry and has struggled with unwanted same-sex attraction, I can relate to the difficulties pastors like Rev. Paul Barnes may face ("Rev. Barnes, Ex-church Chart Future," December 11, 2006).

The evangelical church has by in large done a poor job of balancing the truth of the Bible with the compassionate heart of Christ. Consequently, many who are personally dealing with this issue have been left to struggle in silence.

Exodus International is the largest Christian ministry helping those who want to reconcile their unwanted homosexual attractions with their faith-based beliefs. In the past days, we have seen a steady increase of calls from men and women seeking practical help and a grace-filled environment in which to heal and grow.

It is our great hope that the church will eventually fill this void and exemplify what Dave Palmer, assistant pastor at Rev. Barnes' former church Grace Chapel, said of this issue, "We are all broken, but we are standing by God's word, and part of that is grace and healing."

Sincerely,

Alan Chambers
President, Exodus International

Rejecting Gay Feelings, Some Strive to Change

June 23, 2006
The Columbus Dispatch original article
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Your article highlighting the lives of individuals pursuing change in the face of unwanted homosexual attraction speaks for thousands of us whose stories are buried amidst the half-truths and stereotypes surrounding this issue. ("Rejecting Gay Feelings, Some Strive to Change," June 11).

Fourteen years ago, I was unhappy, empty and conflicted in gay life. Through my faith and the help of skilled professionals, I experienced a personal transformation over time and today, I am the president of the world's largest outreach to those affected by unwanted homosexuality - Exodus International. Now, in its 30th year, we have witnessed the same change in hundreds of thousands of men and women and we hear from more than 400,000 hurting individuals each year desperate to experience it as well.

Certainly some have pursued homosexuality after considering the option of change, but John Paulk is not one of them. He remained in his position as manager of the Homosexuality and Gender Department at Focus on the Family until choosing to leave it in 2003 for new professional endeavors. He continues to be committed to his wife
and children - living a life that exemplifies the change that began in his
life more than two decades ago.

Sincerely,

Alan Chambers
President, Exodus International

Anti-Gay Seminar Disputed

April 26, 2006
The Belleville News Democrat
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Rev. Sue Yarber and the protestors holding signs outside of Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out conference saying, “God loves lesbians and gays,” have a point. He does. And had they come inside, they would have heard that message emphasized repeatedly (“Anti-Gay Seminar Disputed,” April 21).

As an adolescent and young adult who wrestled with unwanted same-sex attraction, I relate to the deep-seated sense of rejection many homosexuals feel. I came to realize that God’s love for me is unconditional, but that He could provide a way out of the loneliness, pain and dissatisfaction I had come to know in gay life. That was fourteen years ago and today, I share the story of my own transformation at Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out conferences and with hundreds of individuals who have been told that they have no other option, but to remain as they are — unhappy and conflicted in homosexuality.

My life experiences and those of thousands of other ex-gays are a reality and an example to others of the hope and of the options available. It is also an acknowledgment of God’s persistent and unending love for everyone, regardless of who we are and what we do.

Sincerely,

Alan Chambers
President, Exodus International

A Twig in the Fire

March 14, 2007
Editorial

Conservative author Ann Coulter dropped a bomb with her inappropriate reference to Senator John Edwards as a “fagot,” but the term “fagot” was not always a four-letter word. It used to define a bundle sticks destined to burn in a fire. A “fagot ceremony” was when someone tossed a twig into the flames as a symbol of repentance and commitment. Such a ceremony might not be a bad idea for conservatives and liberals alike who have both committed transgressions in their zeal to debate cultural issues. Here are a few on the offense list.

Stop the name-calling. Lest anyone need reminding, Coulter said at the American Conservative Union’s Political Action Conference, “I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I’m kind of an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards.” In subsequent comments, she remarked, “C’mon, it was a joke. I would never insult gays by suggesting that they are like John Edwards. That would be mean.” Obviously, she doesn’t plan an apology.

In an ironic twist, another conservative drew scorn for an altogether different reason at the same event. Conservatives honored Marine Corporal Matt Sanchez for his support of the military at Columbia University, but when word got around on the blogosphere that Sanchez had a decade-plus past in gay porn, liberals were gleeful and attempted to smear him on MSNBC. There was no apology on that front either.

There is nothing to be gained by denigrating others with crude slurs or personal attacks. In doing so, we disgrace ourselves and discredit the truths we seek to publicly elevate. Conservatives and liberals alike should unite to denounce this type of social discourse.

Stop the hypocrisy. It disturbs me to see policymakers and activists endorsing legislation such as the Federal Hate Crimes Legislation (H.R. 254) because it epitomizes the duplicity within our nation.

The death of Matthew Shepard is a tragic crime that deserved to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but not because Matthew Shepard was gay — because he was a valuable human life worthy of equal justice. Just as worthy as Jesse Dirkhising, a 13-year old Arkansas boy who was suffocated to death in 1999 after being bound, drugged, gagged and brutally sodomized by two homosexual predators who confessed to using him as a sex toy while torturing him to death. There have been no public memorials for him and the amount of articles written about him pale in comparison to those written about Matthew Shepherd.  Yet, both were valuable lives that were taken in horrible, cruel ways.

I confess this legislation presents a problem for me personally and for many others.  Fourteen years ago, I was living life as a gay man just like Matthew Shepard. I, however, was conflicted by the emptiness that consumed me.  Through faith, the support of many caring individuals, including that of licensed therapists affiliated with the American Psychological Association, I overcame my unwanted same-sex attractions. Today, I am a married father of two children and now represent thousands of others who have experienced the same change. We are living lives that are of no less value now than when we were living as homosexuals.

In a recent editorial, Joe Solomonese from the Human Rights Campaign and Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepard’s mother, said, “Every act of violence is tragic and harmful in its consequences, but not all crime is based on hate.” I wonder how they know the motive and emotion behind each perpetrator’s crime. Certainly, there is no love and compassion extended towards the perpetrator’s victim. Solomonese and Shepard add, “It’s time to update the law to protect everyone.”   I agree on that point. Let’s make the law an equal advocate for every victim because every crime is truly a hate crime.

Stop the spin. This tactic is in employed a lot when same-sex marriage is debated as a civil right. It’s not, but the spin makes it sound good.

As Rev. Bob Battle, a Minnesota pastor who served as the head of the St. Paul Human Rights Department, says, “The basics for the civil rights movement is that we are all God's children, created equal in God’s eyes. As for marriage, God created us male and female. That’s the basics for marriage,” He gets it. He knows the difference having grown up in the days of segregation in Mississippi as an African-American.
This issue has nothing to do with civil rights, special rights maybe, but not civil rights.  Liberals and activists should not undermine the integrity of the American people by dressing up their agenda in civil rights language simply because it sounds better that way. Call it what it is — a rejection of marriage on the same terms that it is available to everyone else. It is a demand to reinvent an age-old institution and assign a new set of stipulations.

We could build a bonfire with all the twigs representing transgressions on both sides of the aisle, but these are strategic ones that inhibit real dialog on issues that affect all Americans. Instead of name-calling, hypocritical juxtapositioning and spinning — let’s engage in discourse that contributes to the national debate and elevates one another’s dignity.

Mark Foley & America’s Moral Schizophrenia

October 5, 2006
Editorial

Like every parent and voting American I am watching the Mark Foley affair and getting more frustrated by the minute. We can all agree that former Representative Foley should face grave consequences and as the case may be, criminal proceedings. Those found having any prior knowledge of his indiscretions should also be penalized. What strikes me though is how this tragic abuse of power conveys a disturbing irony and hypocrisy within our culture.

Consider NBC’s on-going Dateline specials To Catch a Predator. Camera crews working with local officials entice online predators with the intention of catching them in the act and arresting them. It is often shocking to see the regular Joes — fathers, military men and even schoolteachers — who attempt to meet a minor for sex. One has to wonder why this is happening and why the numbers are increasing.

One in five young people reported receiving a sexual solicitation or approach in the last year and one in 30 received an aggressive solicitation. Six of 10 online teens have gotten an email or instant message (IM) from a perfect stranger; 63 percent of those who have gotten such emails or IMs say they have responded to them. Overall, 50 percent of those who use instant messaging email, or chat rooms have corresponded with people that they have never met face-to-face. When asked, most teens say they do not tell their parents when a stranger contacts them.

No one would argue that we have an oversexed culture. We sell clothes, cars and even food on the basis of sexual appeal. Last year, the burger chain Carl’s Jr. & Hardee’s launched an explicit car-washing ad spot featuring Paris Hilton with a water hose and a Bentley. The ad was filled with enough innuendo to make Dr. Ruth blush. When parents complained, CEO Andy Puzder responded in an interview with CNN saying, “Get a life. There is no nudity, there is no sex acts — it’s a beautiful model in a swimsuit washing a car.”

The burger chains have also aired other explicit commercials featuring the “defender” of First Amendment rights himself — Playboy’s Hugh Heffner. Heffner, the ACLU and most liberals vigorously defend First Amendment Rights, but refuse to put limits on pornography. They argue that it is a personal right, guilty pleasure and victimless transgression when in fact it is a toxic pollutant that many studies have shown to contribute to the sexual violence in our culture. We know it played a significant role in the lives of the men who murdered children like 5-year old Samantha Runnion of Orange County, California and 7-year old Danielle Van Dam in San Diego. Ironically, the ACLU is currently suing the state of Indiana for its ban on adult magazines and printed material depicting nudity on behalf of two inmates who claim their First Amendment rights have been violated. One of the inmates is serving time for murder.

Our moral schizophrenia exists in what we say to our kids about sex as well. We tell our teens to follow their sexual impulses (but please be responsible and use a condom) and are then shocked to see the increase of teen pregnancies, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

We laugh at Will & Grace reruns and allow groups like the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network to go into our schools and say that homosexuality is a normal healthy option. Fourteen years ago I would have believed that. As a young adult, I considered myself gay, but could not resolve the nagging thought that there was something better than the destructive life I was living. Through faith, the support of friends and family and the help of licensed therapists affiliated with the American Psychological Association, I overcame my unwanted same-sex attractions. Today, I am married and the father of two children. I represent a national organization that helps thousands of others wanting a way out of homosexuality as well. Over the past few years, the amount of calls from other sexually confused individuals — many who have experienced abuse — as well as parents of hurting young people have only increased.

It is little wonder that our mixed messages have cultivated the sexually confused society we now live in. We have abandoned the concept of healthy of sexuality, explored almost every destructive aspect of it and have removed appropriate boundaries one by one. The only barrier that remains is a legal age limit — and even that is being argued against by groups like the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) who favor the repeal of our age-of-consent laws.

As someone who has experienced sexual exploitation and abuse, I know full well that the heartache and confusion will affect the lives of Foley’s victim(s) for years to come. If we are serious about protecting our children — we must not only deal with Mark Foley, but with the environment that we ourselves have created.

Radicalism, Religion & Rosie O’Donnell

September 20, 2006
Editorial

As if the view from the Left is not bizarre enough, there is Rosie O’Donnell. The newest face of ABC’s The View, Rosie said last week that “radical” Christians in America are just as much of a threat as radical Islamists who highjacked jetliners and flew them into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. An insulting claim to say the least, if not totally absurd, and ripe with irony.

While Rosie frets about “radical” Christians, churches across America fight to keep the forces of radical liberalism and pro-gay activism at bay. The impact of those pushing a “tolerate us at any cost” message,
such as Rosie espouses, has been profound. And you don’t have to look very far to see it.

Recently, a conservative Jewish leader said the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards is likely to loosen its ban on gay rabbis by the end of the year. If passed, the committee is likely to issue a contradictory pick-and-choose policy that attempts to keep everyone under the “big umbrella” comfortable. Conservative seminaries, along with the movement’s estimated 750 synagogues and more than 1,000 North American rabbis will each decide whether or not to allow gays in leadership. Fallout over the shrinking middle ground is sure to follow.

This past summer, the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted 298 to 221 to allow local and regional bodies to ordain gays to the church’s ministries after grueling debate and heated controversy. The denomination’s new complex proposal now allows presbyteries to bypass the current ban on “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy.

The Episcopal Church has had its controversy as well. In 2003, the American denomination caused an uproar when it consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. This past June, the division intensified when Katharine Jefferts Schori, who voted for Robinson’s ordination, was elected to lead the Episcopal General Convention.

As a result, dozens of churches are leaving both the Episcopal and Presbyterian Church (USA) denominations.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is struggling to keep the Episcopal Church and the world Anglican Communion unified despite deep rifts over this issue, had an interesting response. Previously supportive of homosexual relationships, Archbishop Rowan Williams recently denied that it was time for the church to accept them. In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, he stated that the church should be welcoming rather than inclusive: “I don’t believe inclusion is a value in itself. Welcome is. We don't say, ‘Come in and we ask no questions’. I do believe conversion means conversion of habits, behaviors, ideas, emotion.”

Williams now backs a resolution saying that homosexual practice is incompatible with the Bible and has said, “Ethics is not a matter of a set of abstract rules, and it is a matter of living the mind of Christ. That applies to sexual ethics.”

I know from personal experience that he is right.

Fourteen years ago I lived by my own rules as a gay man in conflict with my religious beliefs. I couldn’t resolve the nagging thought that there was something better than the empty, conflicted life I was living. Through faith, the support of friends and family and the help of licensed therapists affiliated with the American Psychological Association, I overcame my unwanted same-sex attractions. Today, I am married and the father of two children. I represent a national organization that helps thousands of others wanting to reconcile their faith with their sexuality.

While an individual’s faith is deeply personal and meaningful, religion as a whole also plays a significant role in society. To demand that church institutions align with politically correct views — whatever those may be at the time — is a mistake.

Yet, that is the world in which we now live. Consider the recent story of a Christian recently thrown in jail for passing out literature at a public event in England. The reason? According to the Daily Mail, a spokesman for the South Wales Minorities Support Unit confirmed that the man had not behaved in a violent or an aggressive manner. He was arrested simply because his pamphlets contained Bible verses
condemning homosexual activity.

So while Rosie imagines a nonexistent threat of “radical” Christianity, many of us see the real one.

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