FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ex-Gay Activist Says He’s Sorry For The Hurt and Harm He Caused While At Exodus
BURLINGTON, Vt. – Truth Wins Out commended Exodus International’s former political lobbyist, Randy Thomas, today after he apologized to the LGBT community for inflicting harm and increasing hate during his tenure at Exodus International, which was the largest “ex-gay” organization until it shut down last month. Thomas is the fourth major “ex-gay” leader to apologize in the past two years.
“We are gratified that Randy Thomas has begun the process of taking personal responsibility for his key role in damaging the lives of many innocent people,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “He is a key player in this industry and his admission will help keep future generations from walking down the treacherous ex-gay path.”
According to Thomas in his apology:
“I participated in the hurtful echo chamber of condemnation. I gave lip service to the gay community, but really did not exemplify compassion for them. I placed the battle over policy above my concern for real people. I sometimes valued the shoulder pats I was given by religious leaders more than Jesus’ commandment to love and serve. That was wrong and I’m disappointed in myself. Please forgive me.”
“I was, in a sense, attracted to this kind of power and allowed my conscience to be numbed so I could have a seat at their table. In the name of trying to positively affect Christian leaders, I willingly became one of their pawns. Again, I was selfish and prideful. Please forgive me.”
In his apology, Thomas specifically expressed regret for working to further the career of Andrew Comiskey, the head of Desert Stream Ministries and one of the vilest “ex-gay” activists in the industry. In the past, Comiskey has claimed that “Satan delights in homosexual perversion” and whose “ministry” has continually been shadowed by allegations of sexual abuse committed by staff members.
“Randy’s realization that folks like Andrew Comiskey are chief instigators of hatred against LGBT people echoes Alan Chambers’ earlier reference to many anti-gay activists as ‘vipers,’” said Truth Wins Out Associate Director Evan Hurst. “As a movement, the anti-gay forces in the United States and around the world are known, not for their Christian love, but for the fact that their grace extends only to those who submit to their orthodoxy and supremacy without question. The second the human heart enters the equation, the Religious Right bares its fangs. We applaud Randy for taking this important step to start the healing and prevent future harm to LGBT people.”
Thomas, a rising star in the “ex-gay” industry, began his career by leading Living Hope ministry in Dallas. He was soon recruited as Vice President of Communications, and moved to Exodus International’s Orlando headquarters. Thomas eventually took on the role of chief lobbyist, where he reached his pinnacle in 2006, when he and Exodus International President, Alan Chambers, attended a White House meeting with President George W. Bush to push for the Federal Marriage Amendment.
Thomas fought tenaciously against the successful inclusion of sexual orientation in the federal hate crime law. He appeared in an infamous newspaper ad under the inflammatory headline, “Hate crime laws say we were more valuable as homosexuals than we are now as former homosexuals.” He was also a key speaker at Focus on the Family’s ex-gay road show, Love Won Out.
While Thomas did not come out as gay, his apology was a good first step. He also wrote on Truth Wins Out’s website that, “I will be sharing more about my thoughts concerning what has happened, personally, and from my perspective in the movement.”
In the past two years, Alan Chambers, John Paulk, John Smid, and now Randy Thomas have all issued apologies, rocking the “ex-gay” industry to its core. Unfortunately, new groups like Restored Hope Network and Voice of the Voiceless have risen to fill the vacuum. The recent apologies, however, undermine the credibility of these new “ex-gay” organizations and complicate their efforts, says TWO.
Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit organization that fights anti-LGBT extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.