Christian groups advocating so-called reparative therapy used to claim all gay people could be "cured." But with the release of new research, one such group has been forced to admit that that's not always the case.
According to the Tennessean, researchers studied 98 members of the group Exodus International, whose stated mission is "to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality." In a 2009 post on Exodus's web site, Jeff Buchanan wrote, "We believe homosexuality to be a multi-causal, developmental issue and that any individual can experience freedom through the support of caring individuals and the healing power of Jesus Christ." But of the 72 members who stuck with the study for its full seven-year term, just a quarter said they had changed orientation. A third said they had "lessened same-sex attraction and were celibate." That leaves 42% who were still gay after seven years of "treatment."
Those numbers don't exactly support Buchanan's claim, especially when you consider the large number of participants who, far from enjoying lives of socially- and religiously-accepted heterosexuality, simply had to forgo sexual and romantic relationships entirely. Study author Stanton Jones, a psychology professor at the evangelical Wheaton College, says his research shows that people can't be forced to be straight: "If change is difficult, then mandatory change is impossible." However, some are worried that the research could still be used to shame people into reparative therapy, since a few subjects did report changing orientation. And Alan Chambers (pictured), president of Exodus International, has a predictably disturbing read on the results: he says they show "change is possible." He adds, "I am married, but that doesn't mean that I am never tempted or that I don't have some residual same-sex attraction. Change is really living in congruence with your faith." Which apparently means spending years struggling against your orientation, and then, if you "fail," giving up sex forever. Sounds like Exodus should be the ones to "change."
Ex-Gay Ministry Backs Off 'All Can Be Cured' Stance [Tennesseean]