At Exodus International Conference, Host Church Members Surprised By Anti-Gay Message

Last Saturday, GetEqual Ohio held a protest outside of Hope Church, host to the Ohio stop of an anti-gay Love Won Out conference that Exodus International puts on every few months. I wasn’t able to join them Saturday, but it sounds like GetEqual met some allies there on the sidewalk.

It also sounds like Exodus International pulled a bait-and-switch on their host, much to the church’s dismay.

Tom Morgan, GetEqual Ohio’s Lead Organizer, has offered this guest post about the protest.

Tom Morgan, GetEqual Ohio Lead Organizer
Tom Morgan
GetEqual Ohio Lead Organizer

The first thing I saw cut me like a knife.

A man in his forties drove in and got out of the car with a teenage boy. His son, I was sure. The boy’s body language nearly made me bursts into tears. Head down. Arms crossed and held tightly against his chest. Walking slowly, as if to his execution.

I remembered taking that same walk many years ago.

Everything inside me was screaming to him, “You can make it! Be strong! You ARE okay the way you ARE! PLEASE don’t give up or give in!!!”

After holding signs and “bull-horning” for a while, a man came out to talk to us. I thought, “Ah shit, Here we go,” but he could not have been nicer. Soon some other men came out with box lunches for all of us.

One man, a member of Hope Church, told us that his own daughter is a lesbian. His church wanted to be even more open, welcoming, and accepting to LGBTs than they already are. He didn’t know that inviting Exodus International was a bad idea until he told his daughter, and then it was too late. Apparently she let him know.

At one point they even offered to hold our ten-foot GetEQUAL banner. Yes, we let them. HELL YES!

What we gathered from this is that Exodus International is not exactly being honest about the content of their conferences. The attendees we met were shocked to hear some of the things we were telling them and showing them on websites from our phones.

These were sincere, honest people who care about others. There was no recruiting, no judgment. No invitations to change. ALL of their questions were about how they could help OUR people. It was possibly the best protest I have ever attended.

There ARE still some good church-going people who really are…GOOD church-going people.