This Is Not A Joke

I thought this was an Onion headline when I first saw it:

I read it twice–okay, it really is from It Gets Better, it seems to be a real HuffPo link–and then clicked on the link.

It’s real, or at least the Huffington Post thinks it’s real enough to publish it as fact, which is about as close as you’re going to get on the Web these days. This is something which, if I wrote it into a story, would be met with chuckles and murmurs of “wish fulfillment”; in fact, I would never write something like this because it feels too much like the ending to a bad Hollywood movie. The villains admit they’re wrong, shut down operations, and apologize? No, no, I would write in notes to myself. One of them must be unrepentant, at least. You can’t just have them capitulate.

And yet, here in the real world, this is a wonderful thing. It makes it easier for me to believe that these were well-meaning people who really strove to help people, albeit in a completely wrong-headed way, who are now people who have reformed. People who entered Exodus of their own free will were tormented by desires they had and societal pressure to change, and now we are seeing that pressure relax, and with it the torment of our natural desires.

Yeah, I still think they’re terrible people, and one apology is not going to make up for that. Over the years, they have done a lot of damage to the LGBT community and individual people by claiming that homosexuality can be cured or “prayed away.” But also note that nobody forced this change. No government legislated the shutdown, no people voted to remove funding. This was a decision made by people realizing the error of their ways. The personal apology by Alan Chambers is worth reading. You may be suspicious–with good reason–but it reads to me as heartfelt and tragic, as the carefully considered words of someone who has finally found the courage to admit that he’s been wrong.

It’s not a farce, it’s not a movie, it’s not a joke. It is real people seeing the light and making change, and it puts a nice wag in my tail today. Thanks, Mr. Chambers and the rest of the executive leadership who made this decision at Exodus. Change comes slowly, to some of us later than others, and I hope your words and actions help to inspire change in the world, help to reconcile people with their church in a way that the past thirty-seven years could not.

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