“Ex-gay” group promoted in Caribbean as US arm faces “financial oblivion”

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Updated: 22 December 2011, 11:29 GMT

A full-page advert denouncing homosexuality and promoting Exodus International, a group which advocates “ex-gay” therapies, has appeared in a Trinidad newspaper amid reports the organisation is facing bankruptcy in the US, LGBT Asylum News reports.

Following stories that the organisation is heading towards “social and financial oblivion” in the US, an advert appeared in the Trinidad Sunday Express this month claiming to warm of the dangers of homosexuality and saying gays “can change”.

Exodus International says its mission is to “mobilise the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality”.

The website Ex-Gay Watch reported that following “moderation in American views”, the organisation is set to increase efforts abroad where it will encounter less formal opposition.

The advert was funded by an unidentified individual and appeared in the Trinidad Sunday Express. Entitled “What you should know about homosexuality”, it lists five points to the reader.

It says that homosexuality is the result of “sexual brokenness”; that “serious health risks” are associated with being gay; that the prevalence of HIV “remains high” when homosexuality is legalised; that legislation does not “promote societal attitude change” and, finally, that gays “can change”.

Two of the sources listed are publications sold through Exodus Books, a venture of Exodus International. A third source for the claims contained in the advert is Exodus International’s website.

Exodus’ website states: “Christ offers a healing alternative to those with homosexual tendencies. Exodus upholds redemption for the homosexual person as the process whereby sin’s power is broken, and the individual is freed to know and experience their true identity, as discovered in Christ and His Church. That process includes the freedom to grow into heterosexuality.”

A similar advert appeared in Jamaica promoting the Isaachar Foundation. Jamaica currently penalises gay sex with up to ten years in prison, although its sodomy law is not regularly enforced.

Next year, The Human Dignity Trust, a new organisation founded to challenge criminalisation laws internationally, will be supporting an attempt to strike down the criminalisation laws in Jamaica based on the country’s human rights obligations.

Activist Brendon O’Brien wrote to the newspaper in Trinidad which published the original advert saying: “They looked at this … and thought it was okay to publish?

“Not that something is wrong with publishing a religiously slanted ad, but one that openly discredits a community, questions their movement towards rights and even, in a sense, undermines their actual existence is definitely a problem. And this tried to do just that, and in a respectful and pseudo-scientific way as well. The publisher should have seen this and seen that it would’ve caused a problem.”

Exodus was behind the ‘gay cure’ app which was banned by Apple earlier this year.

At the time, Exodus’ president Alan Chambers said Apple was trying to “deny equal representation in the public square” by removing the app from its iTunes store.

He said: “Discrimination of thought and belief obstructs essential dialogue and authentic diversity”.

The Ex-Gay Watch blog said in November that Exodus may re-brand itself to become more “palatable” to financial supporters.

Although Exodus launched ministries in the Caribbean in 2006, they are attracting attention now its US operations are struggling.

In 2010, Chambers wrote to supporters saying: “Dear friends, please pray for us at Exodus. We have experienced an unexpectedly low giving season this summer coupled with much higher expenses (insurance, utilities, etc).

“Sadly, we have had to let several staff go. Your prayers are appreciated. For those who are also having to endure this unfriendly economy, our prayers are with you!”

Exodus International had not responded to PinkNews.co.uk’s request for comment at the time of publication.