May 30, 2012 5:30 pm ET - by Carlos Maza
On paper, Exodus International and the Family Research Council (FRC) look like they’d be natural allies. Both groups are notorious for promoting the idea that same-sex attractions can be treated and even eliminated through the widely discredited practice of “ex-gay” therapy. A recent FRC documentary even featured a member of Exodus making the case that sexual orientation isn’t an immutable characteristic.
On Tuesday, however, Exodus distanced itself from FRC, condemning the organization for its recent decision to honor anti-gay pastor Ron Baity with its 2012 Watchman Award. According to an Exodus press release:
Exodus International, the world’s largest Christian ministry helping individuals and families struggling with same sex attraction, denounced the Family Research Council’s choice of pastor Ron Baity to receive its highest pro-family honor, the 2012 Watchman Award.
Baity is on record saying, “gays act worse than maggots,” will make society “more filthy,” and God had an “urban renewal plan for Sodom and Gomorrah.” Baity also compares gay and lesbian people to murderers and says gay marriage is America’s “death warrant.” Baity is founding pastor of Winston-Salem’s Berean Baptist Church and head of the pro-marriage organization, Return America.
“It’s time conservative Christians who claim biblical principles such as loving their enemies and neighbors, and considering the welfare of others first, to speak swiftly and strongly against this type of action,” says Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International.
Exodus joins the Southern Baptist Convention in distancing itself from Baity along with pastors Sean Harris and Charles Worley from North Carolina. Chambers went to [FRC President] Tony Perkins first and expressed concern about this decision. Having received no response, Exodus felt compelled to release a statement. [emphasis added]
As Box Turtle Bulletin’s Jim Burroway noted, Exodus has actually been working to distance itself from FRC for several years, largely as a part of a rebranding effort meant to combat the organization’s anti-gay image.
As the press release notes, Exodus isn’t the first conservative religious group to criticize Baity’s anti-gay extremism. Last week, the Southern Baptist Convention rejected Baity’s “polarizing speech,” encouraging pastors to “state their convictions with redemptive grace.”
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