Hardball | July 09, 2012
>>> three years ago, i welcomed my next guest to discuss the american psychological association 's reputeuation of gay to straight therapy . as president of exodus international , the largest evangelical organization dealing with this issue,al l alan chambers believed you could pray away the gay.
>> i'm denying the power those things had over me. people say once you're gay, you're always gay, you can't break free from that. that's not true.
>> chambers even appeared with his wife in ads saying change is possible, but now, he's saying there's no cure and that therapy doesn't wipe out desires. he is still president of exodus and husband and father of two kids and is joining me now. what happened? what accounts for the change in position?
>> i want to be clear. the fact is, my life is still as it was when i was on your radio program three years ago and i still hold to a biblical sexual ethic, but what i think what's changed for me is really the overemphasis on this issue in ways that we don't emphasize other issues in the church and specifically, with regards to repairtive therapy, so much of that type of technique and therapy is focused on changing attraction or changing temptation when i don't there is a biblical reality that says people will necessarily change their temptations or change their struggles. so i want to be very, very clear about that.
>> how about the practical reality? can you pray away the gay?
>> i think that praying away the gay has been a lazy stereotype. that's not what i did. as far as repairtive therapy, for year, we endorsed that and had people within our movement who did therapy, but so much of the focus is changing there where they're talking about 100% cures and using that word specifically with me in private conversations and even introduce ing things like hetero sexual pornography to help instigate attraction. i don't find that healthy at all.
>> i guess what i'm waiting for you to say is that it doesn't work because in the times, quote, he said that vir yully exgay he has met still harbors homosexual cravings, himself including. you're married, father of two. you have homosexual cravings, is that right?
>> i have same sex attractions. i didn't use the word cravings nor would i. my attractions, if you want to know, are specifically and always towards my wife. for me, those things have changed . my life is not the the same as it was 21 years ago when i sought help, but to say that i don't have temptations or could never be tempted or don't have same-sex attractions isn't true. for me as a christian leader and as someone helping people in their journey say those things very, very clearly.
>> if you have those attractions because i think i still heard you say you still maintain, not that there's anything wrong with it, are you trapped in that march of yours?
>> i'm not trapped in that marriage. i married my wife 15 years ago because i was in love with her. i remain in love with her. that love has only grown deeper. never in 15 years have i been tempted to be unfaithful to my wife. i love her. she is the object of my every affection. to say i don't have --
>> what would you say to a young person who perhaps three years ago at the time we first met listened to alan chambers and took to heart your message as it then existed and pursued a career path hoping they could turn away from these innate feelings. do you apologize? say i got it wrong and come back to this fold? what's the message?
>> well, inni think if someone hears my message and -- that those feelings are going to go away and their lives are going to be anything like my life, i am sorry for that. that has never been my intention. my intention is to simply help people of faith who are in conflict to live either sell bat lives or pursue a life congruent with their faith.
>> would a homosexual be precluded admission from heaven on the basis of their sexuality according to alan chambers ?
>> well, thankfully, it's not according to alan chambers . my biblical beliefs are that no one is excluded to heaven. i think the bible is very simple in its terms of how you come into a relationship. it says ask and you shall receive. knock and the door will be opened to you. it doesn't say anywhere there's any exclusions of people who can seek, ask and knock.
>> you defended repairtive therapy a year ago comparing it to a weight loss struggle.
>> it's not picking and choosing people who are gay or lesbian. it really hits all of us. we can look at other organizations who help people dealing with other life struggles. for instance, weight watchers , which has tremendously benefitted by life. should we go after weight watchers and tell them don't say there's anything beyond obesity for people struggling with obesity and want an alternative.
>> does that still hold up in your view?
>> for me, i think those things do hold up. i have benefitted from weight watchers and other types of programs that have helped me in other areas of struggle in my area. i'm not telling someone that is happily gay identified or gay or lesbian that they should choose the life that i live or that god will love them more or less depending on the decision they make. for me and for people of faith who want to choose to live through the filter of their faith and a strong biblical sexual ethic in that regard, that they have that right to do that and so when it comes to issues like therapy. i wouldn't say i was defending it a year ago. it is a very small and specific type of therapy that a few thera therapyists use.
>> in that age old question, genes versus environment. we agree. gene, right. it's the hand you're dealt.
>> i think what we have to do is stop making it so simple. it's not simple. i think nature and nurture play a part in my life. we are genetic beings for sure, but we are certainly a product of the environment we grow up in.
>> thanks for being here. we appreciate it cht.