ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–Exodus International North America has “come out of the closet,” so to speak, in asserting a positive message of “God’s freedom” into a series of events that led to the passage of a homosexual rights ordinance in Orlando.
The organization’s executive director, Alan Chambers, told a news conference July 22 that for too long the homosexual rights and other movements have forced the church to be “on the defensive.”
In the case of Orlando, however, activists found themselves up against the body of Christ who “chose to confront that issue head-on,” Chambers declared. “We have [had] a great opportunity to proclaim what we are for.”
Chambers said the opening session of the organization’s annual conference in downtown Orlando also prompted a “historic” moment in the relationship between Exodus and the city or Orlando with the proclamation of July 21 as “Exodus International Day” by city councilwoman Vicki Vargo.
“Your city of Orlando has chosen to be a truly tolerant city in that while they go alongside and recognize gay days,” they are “willing to show tolerance,” Chambers told the media. “That’s never been done in any other city across the country.”
During the news conference, Joe Dallas, a Christian counselor and former Exodus president, spoke to a question about whether there should be laws against homosexuality and “gay marriage.” Cultural trends that legitimize homosexuality, he noted, can tear at the basic freedoms Americans enjoy.
The culture of homosexuality, Dallas said, is accompanied by restrictions on freedom of speech and conscience and religion. “I have a particular concern about repression operating under the guise of hate crime prevention, which represents, I believe, a grave threat to the freedom of speech that enables us to continue to preach the Gospel,” he said.
Chambers, although “not a legal expert,” said he doesn’t believe there can be a “law on the books for every sin that is talked about in the Bible,” and he noted there is more than one sexual sin.
Randy Thomas, Exodus’ communications director, said the organization is not called to speak on public policy issues but is a ministry helping people “seek freedom from a punishable situation according to God’s law.”
“Jesus Christ made that atonement for them,” Thomas said. “Law or not — God has forgiveness, grace and cleansing available.”