Cross-Posted from Exodus International Blog
It is being reported widely throughout the media that Dr. George Rekers, husband, father, NARTH Board Member, scholar, theologian and Baptist minister (to name just a few of the highlights), confirmed that he hired a 20 year-old man to accompany him on a 10-day European mission trip and extended vacation. As it turns out, that young man happens to be a prostitute, as well. And while there has been no allegation of sexual misconduct, Dr. Rekers actions, at best, lacked an enormous deal of discernment. At worst, he is guilty of leading a double life, even if just in motivation.
Despite the familiar human desire to throw the stone in my hand at Dr. Rekers, I cannot. He is a human who seems to have made a mistake. He is a Christian who seems to be guilty of practicing what he has preached against. It is that fact that alone causes the deepest feelings of anger to arise no matter what side of the debate one falls. Regardless of any sexual impropriety, his actions were not above reproach and that has hurt his, until now, excellent reputation. This fiasco has also fueled speculation and doubt about the lives of others who have chosen to pursue a life in Christ above their sexuality - people like me, and those I represent at Exodus. And while Dr. Rekers may be guilty of things beyond those he has admitted, he deserves no less grace than I or any in the gay community now reveling over what must feel like a victory beyond their wildest dreams in their campaign to prove that people affected by same-sex attraction cannot and should not do anything but embrace a narrow view of their same-sex attractions by adopting and celebrating a gay identity.
And, what about the young man, Jo-Vanni Roman, at the center of this controversy. The carnivorous gay bloggers and their followers seem most concerned with the downfall of a man, a marriage and a movement; not to mention the titillating photos and full bodily description of this boy barely out of high school. While I can put myself in the shoes of those who are angered by the potential hypocrisy of the Rekers’ story, I cannot understand the gay communities’ lack of regard for this 20 year-old boy who has been prostituting himself to anyone who “asks” and “pays”. While the gay community seems hell-bent on forcing everyone to be tolerant of their “just like everyone else” lives they seem completely incapable of showing Jo-Vanni Roman any compassion or care that this kid is so desperate for love or money or care that he would stoop to dehumanizing himself with anyone who can afford to use and abuse him. That’s no less disgusting.
Well, it’s time for the Church to rise up and show that the counterfeit really isn’t the best kind of community. While it has been common in the Christian community to cast stones, extend the left foot of fellowship and shoot our wounded; the tide is changing. And, I for one am inclined to extend a hand to George Rekers, the man, and offer him help. He is, after all, a husband and father. We have seen other devastating situations in families turn around. Maybe this is the crisis that will lead George Rekers to find the healing he has been looking for, but afraid to admit he needed.
And, Jo-Vanni, if you or anyone like you is reading this, call us. We will listen because we care. The one thing we absolutely know is that there is a God who loves, redeems and restores completely. Whatever the damage that has been done, people whom Christ loves and gave His life for are in need. As part of the Body of Christ, Exodus International helps those in need - no matter who they are or what they've done—even those who will seek to criticize us for this very offer.
Tags: Alan Chambers, Exodus International, Gay, Geo, George Rekers, Gods Grace and the Homosexual Next Door, Grace, Hypocrisy, Jo-Vanni Roman, Lesbian, NARTH, Prostitute, Prostitution, Rentboy.com, Scandal
Recent events involving youth leader Dawson McAllister, Clear Channel Communications and Exodus International have been spotlighted in numerous blogs and publications over the past few days. While Exodus is no stranger to controversy, we are usually reluctant to make public statements critical of other organizations or leaders, particularly those for whom we have high personal regard. But the very public nature of this situation leaves us no choice but to clarify our feelings and position on the matter.
On Sunday April 11, a 22 year old gay blogger named Greg Kimball called into McAllister’s syndicated radio talk show Dawson McAllister Live, posing as a 16 year old seeking advice about his homosexuality. The show’s representative referred him to Exodus, which was listed on McAllister’s website as a partner. (Other partners on the site include Focus on the Family and Campus Crusade for Christ.) Kimball, apparently outraged that a youth-oriented radio show would refer people to Exodus, went public with his discovery, resulting in a number of communications to Clear Channel demanding they take action.
Clear Channel subsequently informed Dawson that he
would need to remove Exodus’ name from his referral list. Citing its
non-discriminatory policy, the
company defended what many would view as censorship, stating that because
of their commitment to diversity, they expect that “listeners who call (Dawson
McAllister Live) be treated in a manner consistent with our corporate
commitments to diversity.” Left with a choice between losing favor with Clear
Channel by maintaining a relationship with Exodus, or maintaining media
visibility by severing our ties, he chose the latter. On Thursday April 15 he
informed us personally that, while he loves and supports Exodus, our name was
now deleted from his partner’s list, and he will no longer refer to us. That
decision has been well publicized, requiring a response.
Our esteem for Dawson is not in question here. His achievements are remarkable – <<over 1 million copies of his books and manuals sold; a 15 year broadcasting career; a radio show boasting over 140 stations – and I’ve made no secret of his impact on me. In 1991 we met in Lakeland, Florida. I was 19 at the time, and it was through his personal referral that I found Exodus International. Dawson McAllister was the catalyst for my journey, which eventually led me to direct the organization he’s now unwilling to officially associate with. (Could the irony be any more bitter?)
But respect notwithstanding, it’s troubling to see any Christian-led organization allow itself to be guided by the demands of pro-gay advocates. While Exodus is the group being marginalized in this case, it's the freedom to express a traditional viewpoint of sexuality that's really at stake, raising the obvious question: Who's Next? Should all on-air ministries who teach that homosexuality falls short of God’s will expect a knock on the door, demanding they either water it down or close shop? And if that knock comes, is the truth about human sexuality really a negotiable item? Is the definition of marriage and family so small a matter to Christian leaders that they’ll avoid inconvenient truth (or inconvenient relationships) to keep their audience? If so, we wonder what other Biblical truths are up for negotiation when on-air visibility is at stake.
We appreciate the need one group may have to distance itself from another. We’ve made that painful decision ourselves, when we’ve realized that differences in belief or approach were so great that we had no choice but to severe ties with those we could longer in good faith support. So if an associate no longer shares our position on homosexuality, we respect his need to break ties with us. Likewise, if someone shares our viewpoint but objects to the way we implement it, we hope they’ll discuss their concerns with us so we can consider them and, if no agreement can be reached, we wish them the best as they move on.
But according to both Dawson and his CEO (who also spoke with me by phone) this severance had nothing to do with disagreement. The CEO, in fact, assured me they still love Exodus and believe in what we are doing, which bothers me all the more. When organizational relations end due to irreconcilable differences of belief or practice, that makes sense. But when someone publicly dumps you then privately whispers “We still believe in what you’re doing”, isn’t some kind of double-mindedness at play? Both of them also stressed to me their desire to stay on Clear Channel, which is understandable. But at what cost? When a Christian leader is forced to choose between truth and market numbers, should market numbers really be the deciding factor?
Yes, according to Dawson’s CEO, who told
me that only 1% of their callers over the past 15 months had phoned in with
this issue. "Should we forsake the 99 percent
for the 1 percent?" he asked. Had he remembered the parable of the lost
sheep, in which a good shepherd left the 99 for the 1, he might have answered
his own question.
And there’s the rub. If Dawson McAllister was a secular, non-Christian leader, his priorities would make sense. But if he serves the One who warned “Woe unto you when all men speak well of you”, and follows in the steps of the Apostle who said, “If I seek the favor of men, I should not be a servant of Jesus Christ”, then his response to pressure from gay activists and Clear Channel is distressing. We earnestly hope it will be the exception, not the rule, when similar pressure is exerted on other visible leaders.
As for us, we’ll continue our commitment to Biblically based truth regarding homosexuality, and to that 1% that is, to us, precious. And on a personal note, I’ll admit that yes, I am sad, yet I am determined. I'm not giving up or in. You can count on me, 1%. I'm for you, and both I and my colleagues at Exodus will continue to tell you the truth about God's never-ending grace and mercy.
To Contact Clear Channel:
When you call or write (OR BOTH), do not simply accept referrals to Premiere Radio--register your concern BOTH places.Click here to register your concerns with Dawson, as well.
My recent article How Will You Respond to Homosexuality? is now online. Let me know what you think.
If you haven't already, at least read the last three paragraphs from Tim Stafford's article in Christianity Today. We couldn't really ask for a more honest accolade of the work God is doing through Exodus. (An Older, Wiser Ex-Gay Movement: The 30-year-old ministry now offers realistic hope for homosexuals, Oct 07)
Which sums up much of ex-gay ministry today. No hype. Limited faith in techniques. No gay bashing. No detectable triumphalism, religious or political. Just serious discipleship. This may be the only group in America that realizes all the way to the bottom that when you decide to follow Jesus, you don't always get to do what you want to do.*
The ex-gay movement runs against the cultural tide. Given adverse public opinion, the ambivalent support of conservative churches, and the common assertion that ex-gays condemn themselves to a life of frustration, you would think the movement would shrivel. Yet Exodus affiliates have doubled in number over the last 18 years. Many of its leaders have been in the public eye for 20 to 30 years. They show every sign of stability.
They live by radical ideas about sexuality—that we are not, as our culture would have it, defined by our desires, heterosexual or homosexual. Rather, we are defined by our Creator and Savior. Our attractions, always disordered to some extent, must be submitted to Christ, who alone can redeem us. For those who feel strong same-sex attractions, that task is especially difficult. But it is the same basic struggle every Christian must face.
* Emphasis added.
Entire Article: https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/october/6.48.html
Please tune into your local FOX Station Thursday morning to see Alan & Leslie Chambers, Jayson Graves and Peterson Tuscano discuss the issue of change and homosexuality.
For more information on this segment visit The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet online.
The Fresh Air interview I taped in August with Terry Gross aired yesterday nationwide. The Exodus office received numerous calls, emails and new hits to the website as a result. The majority of the feedback was extremely positive, but there was negative feedback, as well. I listened to the interview yesterday afternoon and, prior to getting any feedback at all, realized that I said one thing that I wished I could have clarified. Thus, I want to do so here.
Without listening to the entire interview again I won't be able to give the exact quote, but I said something like, "One of the greatest myths operating in our culture today is that the majority of the gay community is interested in anti discrimination laws."
I have to say that my experience is anecdotal. The majority of everyday gay and lesbian folks I meet or hear from (a significant number) do tell me that they aren't interested in the gay rights battles for anti-discrimination laws, benefits for same-sex couples or marriage. I have several activists friends who regularly tell me that they are angered by the majority of their gay friends because of their ambivalence to the gay rights issues and politics in general.
An activist friend (on the other side) emailed me some stats from a 2003 Gallup Poll that stated 9 in 10 Americans (88%) support "equal opportunities for gays and lesbians in the workplace." I would like to see the questions that were asked, how many people were sampled and who those people were. Depending on the questions asked that poll might have included me as one of those making up the 88%---but I am far from a proponent of anti-discrimimnation laws.
According to another poll conducted by the LA Times, 72% of Americans favor "laws to protect gays against job discrimination." Again, what was the question that was asked? Who were the people polled? What area of the country were they from? I know that a lot of Christian and conservative people might fall into the 72% depending on how the questions were phrased---like I said above, even I might fall into the category.
I also received an email with some survey results from a survey that was conducted by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force this year. The results were that the two top policy priorities for LGBT people were 1) Marriage equality and 2)Non-discrimination laws. In this survey conducted at 7 gay pride events, 1440 or so people were polled.
Unless there is more to the study than I saw, this information is much the same as mine: anecdotal. Those who attend gay pride events are ones who, for the most part, are politically and socially active. They are a good representation of the activist community, but not of everyone who is gay or lesbian. What cities were these events in? Who was polled? The results aren't surprising given the events and the typical attendees.
Nonetheless, I wish I had stated clearly that the information I was giving was based upon my own experience and was in fact my opinion.
Thanks to those of you who weighed in on both sides of the debate.
For those of you who missed it, I was a guest on Michaelangelo Signorile's radio show this afternoon. I found Mr. Signorile intolerant of my views and unwilling to allow healthy conversation and debate. Like many pro-gay talk shows the agenda was more important than the guest. Below are some of the points that Mr. Signorile brought up that I didn't have time to affirm or comment on:
1). That the Christian community has made out homosexuality to be an issue and a sin that is worse than other issues or sins.
The word that comes to mind is hypocritical. For many years the Church has been hypocritical when it comes to condemning one sin and overlooking another. Homosexuality conjures up more anger and offense in some people than other sins do and that ought not be. Homosexuality is but one of many sexual sins running rampant in our world (and Church) today. God does not favor one sin over another nor would He have kept Jesus from dying for our sins if there hadn't ever been a homosexual. Jesus would have had to die anyway. It is true, there is sin in the Church and it needs to be addressed.
2). Exodus founders fell in love, left Exodus and are still together.
Two men who were apart of the original Exodus conference, one as a volunteer and the other as a true founder of what would become Exodus did meet, have an affair and leave their wives. They were together until one of them died of AIDS in the 1980's.
3). Exodus' forces it's opinion on people and that is hateful and causing people to kill themselves.
I was one of those gay teens who contemplated and attempted suicide on a number of occasions. I wanted to die after I was told that I had to be gay and that there was no alternative. Having no choices made me want to die. I wanted to change.
I hear people tell me all the time that I shouldn't be so hateful by saying that homosexuality is a sin. Well, then that means that I should not quote the Bible when it references such. And, if I shouldn't quote that part of the Bible then I shouldn't quote any of the Bible. Follow it to their logical conclusion and there is no basis for the Bible or Christianity or even God.
Truth hurts. No child wants to be told that they are in the wrong or that the shouldn't do something because it is wrong. There are many people who kill themselves because they just don't believe they can do whatever it is they think they should do (ie: lose weight, stop drinking or doing drugs, make good grades, etc.) But, does that mean that we should stop talking about the risks of obesity or alcoholism or drug addiction or that we should let our kids fail out of school? NO. We must always promote the highest standard and do so in the most truthful and loving ways.
Many homosexual people are bitter, angry and intolerant of Christians because they have been hurt, sometimes devastated, by them. More than ever before we, the Church, need to be quick to apologize for areas where we have fallen short, while standing firm on the word of God.
As I said above, truth hurts. Homosexuality is a sin and that truth needs to be told---but homosexuality does not deserve more condemnation than other sins. Most of all, we as Christians need to be promoting what God is for more than what He is against. If we spend all of our time talking about what is bad then what is good gets lost.