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UM Publication Does "Poor Job" Reporting Ex-gay Ministries

Bob Davies, Executive Director of Exodus International.

The current ADVOCATE magazine (Nov. 24) has a cover story:  "The ultimate ex- gay" with a picture of murdered student Matthew Shepard.  The "Special Investigative Report" covers several articles, including the first-hand account of Stuart Miller, a young man who goes "underground" and infiltrates several ex-gay ministries to "expose" them to the world.  The lucky winners this time are:  Desert Stream, Journey Christian Ministries, Safe Passage (Sonia Balcer's ministry), and Thomas Aquinas (Joe Nicolosi's counseling center).

I found it interesting that the reporter had to admit that, in every case, the people he met in Exodus were very kind, tried to be helpful, etc.  He really could not "bad-mouth" them, only report that he disagreed with their stand on homosexuality and felt their counseling was a waste of time. Another article talks about the recent "ex-gay" ad campaign.  "After years of laboring in obscurity, ex-gay ministries are now in the spotlight..."  That's for sure!  The article is accompanied by a copy of the Anne Paulk ad and the cover of John Paulk's new biography (John--your prayers were answered--free advertising for your book in the Advocate!).

Another major article covers the murder of Matthew Shepard.  It attempts to blame the "far right" (including Exodus) with inspiring a climate of hatred which gives people an excuse to kill gays. In particular, the article mentioned the "ex-gay" ads in this regard.  However, I found it VERY interesting that the reporter admitted--almost at the end of the story--that not everyone agrees with this attempted "link" between the ads and Matthew's murder.  In fact, he admitted that none of the newspapers in the whole state of Wyoming carried the ads, or even stories about the ads.  And the two murderers were high-school dropouts "who probably didn't read newspapers, anyway." 

In all of these stories, there is NO evidence of any kind that Exodus has ever incited violence or promoted violence.  Of course, we have never made any statements of any kind in this regard.  I also found it interesting that they chose to not even contact the Exodus office for a statement.  Peter Lines is quoted in one article, but none of the Exodus staff, board, or other "recognized spokespersons" (like chairman, John Paulk) was quoted.  And there was no attempt to show that the murderers had ever been exposed to Exodus, were part of the right-wing movement, etc.  In other words, they simply lined up quotes from gay spokespersons who said there was a link, and left it at that.  Rather shoddy journalism.

I was disappointed that, once again, the ADVOCATE did a poor job journalistically of writing about the ex-gay movement.  They always mention people who have left the movement, but they never do an honest interview with someone who is ex-gay and happy about it!

In any case, I thought you'd be interested in knowing about this series of stories.  Check it out at your local Barnes & Noble!

-- Bob Davies

I share with you this report from Bob Davies, Executive Director of Exodus Int.
Bob Kuyper, Editor, Transforming Congregations

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