It focuses on a Christian ministry called “Exodus International,” which formed in the 1970s to show the world that gay people could turn straight. Obviously that failed miserably. In 2013, the organization shut down after its leaders admitted none of it actually worked. The film features several former Exodus officials, several of whom now admit they have always been gay (despite public statements to the contrary) and who also agree that what Exodus did was harmful — if not outright torture.
Not surprisingly, there are some Christians who still defend those practices and who think this film wrongfully portrays them as evil… because they are.
That’s according to multiple sources including Anne Paulk, executive director of Restored Hope Network, based in Colorado Springs. “The film demonizes anyone who doesn’t agree with their narrow point of view,” she said in a phone interview. “It doesn’t depict the breadth of people who experience LGBT desires and have different outcomes.”
John Warren, a businessman and former Exodus board member from 2010 to 2012, said he was “saddened” and “angry” after watching the film.
“It’s a mockery of good people who live self-sacrificial lives for the sake of advancing God’s kingdom,” said Warren in a phone interview.
The Christian torturers are very upset that this film has an explicitly anti-torture bias. (Why won’t anyone have sympathy for the kind executioners?)
The problem, of course, isn’t that some people who thought they were gay realized they weren’t. It’s the misguided belief that being gay is sinful, that acting on it is always immoral, that anyone can change their orientation if they just give in to Jesus, and that what they’re doing is scientific and/or ethical.
People like Paulk and Warren refuse to listen to any of the people harmed by the very thing they’re trying to push on others. And if they acknowledge those stories, they’ll dismiss them using some arbitrary rationale. Paulk, for example, is upset they featured her ex-husband (a former board chair of Exodus and a gay man) whose own life story naturally doesn’t put her in a good light. She’s also mad this documentary was funded by a group that funds socially liberal causes… without explaining how that funding influenced or changed the film in any meaningful way. (Because it didn’t.)
Paulk said she had not heard about the film’s funding, but did perceive its bias. “It’s a very strong pro-gay narrative,” she said. “The movie plays on emotional appeal and uses LGBTQ talking points.”
“Talking points.” As if being gay and accepting that is part of some “gay agenda.” As if there are two sides to someone’s existence. As if Christian cruelty should be treated with kindness.
The same kind of monsters who began this movement are still in it, doing everything they can to levy Jesus-fueled guilt onto LGBTQ people and steer public policy in a way that hurts LGBTQ people specifically, always with a smile on their faces. They should be condemned and ostracized — and it means a lot more when the people leading the way include the Christian victims like the ones featured in this movie.