By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com August 21 2012 1:22 PM ET
Alan Chambers, the charismatic leader of Exodus International, has been making headlines this year, telling reporters he no longer believed in so-called reparative therapy. “I do not believe that cure is a word that is applicable to really any struggle, homosexuality included,” said Chambers, who is married to a woman. “For someone to put out a shingle and say, ‘I can cure homosexuality’ — that to me is as bizarre as someone saying they can cure any other common temptation or struggle that anyone faces on Planet Earth.”
But a new interview tonight on the season finale of Our America With Lisa Ling called “Pray the Gay Away?” revisits the OWN show's groundbreaking episode on this topic, along with an exclusive new interview with Chambers, who says Our America changed his mind on reparative therapy — and gay Christians.
"Do I think there are people living a gay Christian life who are going to be in heaven with me?" he asks rhetorically. "I do. If they have a relationship with God." He says that Christians should now shift from "change" to "acceptance" because the gay cure doesn't work and gays who believe in God can know God as intimately as any heterosexual person.
Chambers, who has long considered himself an "ex-gay" and is married to a woman, says that he no longer believes prayer can make gays become straight but making that announcement has meant that there are "pockets of the evangelical community who think I've betrayed Christ," he tells Ling. "I'm a heretic in some circles."
Watch the entire revealing episode (which also features gay and bisexual Christians who tried themselves to "pray the gay away") tonight on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific. (Incidentally, Ling's series tackled sexuality earlier this season with an episode on polyamory and people who have multiple lovers, including those of the same sex, and will do so again after the Chambers espisode with the conclusion to Our America's two-hour finale on swingers.)
EPISODE CLIP: Preview of "Pray the Gay Away? -- Breaking News" and "Swingers Next Door"