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Ex-gay movement in schism over depiction of gay, Jewish activist as Hitler

by Michael Rogers

A rare schism has evolved in the 'ex-gay' community over the refusal of archconservative and 'ex-gay' preacher DL Foster to apologize for his decision to continue to invoke images of Adolph Hitler while writing about gay, Jewish activist and founder of Truth Wins Out Wayne Besen. Foster's attacks have been attacked by Alan Chambers, head of the nation's largest 'ex-gay' organization, Exodus International, PageOneQ has found. Foster was also rebuked by well-known 'ex-gay' blogger Randy Thomas.

In an email sent to an undisclosed list, Chambers wrote that while he has "great respect and admiration for DL [Foster], his most recent posts depicting pro-gay activist Wayne Besen with a Hitler mustache is way over the top—especially considering that Wayne is Jewish." The email has been reprinted in its entirety, below.

Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, an organization founded to counter the 'ex-gay' movement, said "Alan Chambers at Exodus International made the right decision in repudiating the extremism that is too often a part of ex-gay rhetoric. I hope this incident can be used to build bridges and tone down the fire in the culture war."

Foster is author of the blog Perspectives in Motion. He first posted on Besen on June 10. In the post, titled "Wayne Besen's Final Solution," Foster had drawn a moustache over Besen's face in what is commonly seen as a cartoon depiction of Hitler. The story was first reported by PageOneQ first reported the story on Monday in an exclusive article.



In an update to his original post, Foster added a warning: "Note to all the "outraged" gay activists parachuting onto this blog: Your nasty grams [sic] will be promptly deleted. And that's being charitable on my part."

According to two visitors to the Foster site their comments were removed. One reader who left a comment told PageOneQ, "I was surprised as my quote was not an expression of 'outrage' in any way."

Yesterday. Foster posted on the same topic. In a post titled Does the mustache make the man? Foster has doctored photos of Michael Jackson, Tucker Carlson, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, each of them shown with a 'Hitler moustache.'

Foster's post has also been condemned by 'ex-gay' blogger Randy Thomas. In a post titled "Even More Evidence that the world is ending..." Thomas comes to Besen's defense, reprinting a letter he wrote to Foster. Thomas noted that a comment he made on the Foster site was also deleted. Thomas wrote of Besen in the letter, "I do also consider a lot of what Wayne does to be on the evil side of things but no where near Hitler status."

Thomas' letter also includes a statement to Foster that his "posts about him [Besen] are not prophetic, they are pathetic." Thomas continues by writing, "You deserve a solid straightforward rebuke from a brother in Christ... I am rebuking you because you need to repent for this...Please retract the posts and apologize to Wayne. If you do not I will recommend to the [Exodus International] management team that we make a public statement to distance ourselves from your statements." Thomas, who also serves as the media director of Exodus, has a disclaimer on his site about the email, "This email is my personal opinion, not the views of Exodus," wrote Thomas.

Foster responded to Thomas' mention of the Exodus management team by posting a third post in which Foster distanced himself from Exodus International. In the post titled "The distance between us" Foster writes, "Additionally Herr Besen as I have titled him, is a direct threat to my work and ministry and free speech in the same ways the evil Hitler was towards the Jews within his evil grasp." Foster's post continues on with him maintaining that he is not a "member, subsidiary, or affiliate," and that he operates independently from Orlando- based Exodus.

Scott Hurcheson contributed to research for this report.

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From: "Alan Chambers" [email address redacted]
To: "Alan Chambers" [email address redacted]
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2006 16:10:10 -0400
Subject: DL Foster/Wayne Besen

Dear Friends,

Surprisingly, I am emailing you today in defense of Wayne Besen. I've not gone mad. Read on.

THIS: http://psimo.blogspot.com is a link to my friend DL Foster's Blog, Perspectives in Motion. While I have great respect and admiration for DL, his most recent posts depicting pro-gay activist Wayne Besen with a Hitler mustache is way over the top—especially considering that Wayne is Jewish.

For those of you who know Wayne, you will agree that he is no friend to our causes. He is brash, offensive and antagonistic. But, Wayne is a man with a heart and someone that God deeply loves. Disagreeing with him is one thing; likening him to Hitler—a man who killed more than 6,000,000 Jews is quite another.

Several of my leaders and I emailed DL about this begging him to remove the likeness and apologize to Wayne. Sadly, others received emails from DL stating that he absolutely won't retract his statements. I find this a terrible witness and fighting dirty. No matter what someone else does, our reaction should never be to viciously attack them.

It is His kindness that leads us to repentance.

Please email DL and post a comment to his Blog by clicking the link above. I imagine your comments will be deleted, as many of ours were, but DL will at least have to read your message.

You might also consider emailing Wayne Besen to let him know that DL doesn't speak for all of us: WBesen@aol.com. My wife and I had Wayne in our home a few years ago and since then have prayed very regularly for him. We believe that God wants the very best for Wayne and we are happy to pray this very simple prayer: "God, please bless Wayne and help him to live out your plan for his life." No agenda, just a prayer.

Best,

Alan Chambers

President

Exodus International




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Originally published on Wednesday June 14, 2006.


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