In the wake of four student suicides egged on by homophobic bullying, Exodus Global Alliance has abandoned an anti-gay school program dubbed the Day of Truth.
Since 2005, The Day of Truth took place every year in schools across North America—strategically scheduled to occur one day after the Day of Silence, an anti-bullying campaign designed to draw attention to how gay students must live in silence and fear to avoid harassment. “I’m speaking the truth to break the silence,” Exodus’ pamphelts read, “Exodus network is mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality.” (Emphasis theirs.)
While Exodus took over the campaign in 2009, it was originally started by the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian-funded legal group who unsuccessfully brought a school to court for suspending a student who wore a disruptive T-Shirt. “Be Ashamed,” it said. “Homosexuality is Shameful.”
It’s not surprising that Exodus wanted to take over the campaign so eagerly; it meshes with their mission perfectly. Exodus’ whole purpose is to promote the idea that gay people are morally corrupt, but can change through prayer and reparative therapy—a notion flatly rejected by all medical and psychological associations. Schools were also beginning to actively reject this message, having seen first-hand the dire harm that suppression and silence does to gay students.
As programs like the Day of Silence grew in popularity, Exodus felt more and more undermined by their effectiveness. Threatened, they lept at the opportunity to bring their unscientific message to schools, providing materials and instruction to schools across the continent. Their efforts immediately enabled bullies with anti-gay slogans and provided adult permission to spread messages of intolerance and shame, adding to the oppression and silence that gays already felt every day. It carefully nurtured the environment in which gay students felt so ashamed and hopeless that some would resort to suicide.
Fortunately, the Day of Truth is not happening this year. At least, not under the supervision of Exodus, who announced their abandonment of the campaign this week. The timing is not a coincidence, either. Just three weeks ago, four students killed themselves in separate incidents, unable to bear the harassment of their classmates. Candelight vigils were held in cities across the U.S. and Canada on Wednesday, and a successful online campaign has received hundreds of thousand of views, urging bullied students to keep hope that things will get better. Faced with growing outrage over the sentiment that they were actively promoting, Exodus had no choice but to end their management of the campaign. They offered no apology or regret, though, and their Day of Truth website now leaves a simple message thanking everyone who participated.
Exodus continues to feign compassion where convenient, but still heartily maintains that gay people are inherently evil and should be subjected to defunct therapies. They are still responsible for the attrocious Love Won Out conference, and for the incalculable misery of those subjected to their unscientific practices. And as long as they can spread this message, their affiliated lobby groups—to whom they ultimately answer—can point to Exodus as evidence that gay people don’t actually exist and therefore don’t need equal rights protections in the law.
Exodus Global Alliance is a registered charity in Canada, and the focus of a campaign I’ve started to help put an end to their tax benefits. Homosexuality is not a disease; it’s not changeable; it does not need to be changed; and no medical or psychological association supports what Exodus is doing. Help put an end to phony charities in Canada and Slap into Action.