Your Concern for Youth–Now What?

Thank you to those of you who have shown concern for the youth in Exodus programs. From your comments and your questions, e-mails and calls, I see that many of you really care about these kids and wanted to make sure that if any child is at risk, that all necessary and possible steps have being taken.

And they have, at least for the situations I alluded to in my last posts. Proper authorities (and parents) had been contacted, action had been taken. When faced with an immediate problem, Exodus dealt with it. That has never been the issue.

The problem is that in spite of the issues that I brought to Alan Chambers’ attention, the conditions exist where interaction between youth and adult participants can still happen. Also Exodus does not have any publicly known guidelines that specify staff working with youth must undergo appropriate background checks. That means that youth are still at risk. Without any local or state oversight, the only authority over Exodus member ministries is their own and whatever Exodus President, Alan Chambers, and the Exodus board chooses to exercise.

So what will Exodus and Alan Chambers do so that these situations will never occur again? A first step would be to draft, publish, implement, and monitor guidelines that are designed to protect these youth from potential predators.

Alan has had ample time to do this and more than enough authority.

So now what? We are not powerless. Let’s continue to put pressure on Alan and the Exodus Board to make the necessary changes to ensure the basic safety of youth. With the sort of damage that we know comes with ex-gay ministry, that is the least that they could do.

This post has 4 Comments

  1. Joe Brummer on January 15, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    I would suggest nonviolent actions.

    –Letters to the Editor of your local paper informing and educating others about the problem.

    –Phone calls to the Exodus Offices politely asking when the guidelines for youth will be available.

    –Letters to Alan Chambers at Exodus offering any help he may need in making the guidelines happen.

    Peterson is correct, we are not powerless.

  2. Elliot on January 15, 2007 at 11:37 pm

    What about some sort of online petition? I’d certainly sign it.

  3. CrackerLilo on January 16, 2007 at 1:33 am

    Do you think we can work with, say, fair-minded Evangelicals? This can’t just come from the people they’re trying to “cure”, unfortunately.

  4. Peterson Toscano on January 16, 2007 at 3:22 am

    great suggestions, joe and elliot. I will see what happens the rest of this week and then may propose something.

    cracklilo, you wrote, “Do you think we can work with, say, fair-minded Evangelicals?”

    Well, sometimes we have little choice but to work with them. They are their own bosses with no oversight. They are protected by their religious status, so sometimes the best we have is to appeal to their better natures.

    I know it is hard for some of us to think that any good exists with some of these folks, but I remember how ardent I was as an Evangelical Republican Anti-Gay White Male Christian.

    I picketed abortion clinics. I told people I loved that they were going to hell if they didn’t accept Jesus. I opposed the “gay agenda”. I strapped myself into a “straight jacket” until I nearly went insane.

    And I truly believed I was pleasing God and making the world a better place. And when I finally began to see the damage I was doing to others and myself, I repented. As did many others like former Ex-Gay leader, . Jeremy Marks.

    And that is the irony. Change is possible, but not the kind of change that Exodus advocates. One by one many many of us have changed and learned to accept ourselves and learned to live our faith in a way that does not oppress others but respects them.

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