Yesterday, I reported that a rumor was flying around about Exodus President Alan Chambers. Alan acted quickly and appropriately to address the false information. Today, the columnist at the heart of the brouhaha issued an apology to Alan Chambers. To serve fairness and openness, I reproduce it here.
To Alan Chambers and whom it make concern:
A project of mine which was intended to be seen by only a few eyes has been widely published by prying busibodies causing damage to Mr. Chambers and myself. Never the less, conscience and human decency obliges me to make things right. I have had an e-mail conversation with Mr. Chambers, and after a rocky start, we both relaxed and just said what we thought. To the extent that I am a judge of human nature he seems to be an honorable man, and engaging personality and winsomely candid. I believe his answers to my questions because this man is no liar. In our conversation, I disagreed with him on several points and got the impression of an open minded man.
I have concluded that the charges made against him made by Paul Cameron and parroted by me are false. I do not think Cameron is a liar. He is a zealot against evil, but sometimes is hasty and careless about seeing evil where none lies.
My sins in the matter were several. I had no grounds to use the word “sodomy.” Although it is biblically correct word, its revolting connotations should limit its use to carefully accurate and potent situations – never to be thrown about carelessly like I did. As a man who deals in words, I ought to have known better and have no excuse. I have read Cameron for years and trusted him because I share his zeal for truth and his horror of the gay political agenda which is undermining the American family and seducing many pastors. However, I prided myself on a zeal for truth – and here I fell down in the area I thought was my greatest strength. A man of principle does mow down innocent bystanders with the bandwagon of crusade. Why did I not ask myself, could Cameron be wrong in his fragmented snippets? I was in the flow of concentration and did not stop to reflect – as a principled man would do. I apologize to Mr. Cameron for the pain I brought him through these sins.
I never once asked myself what this might mean to Mr. Cameron if a busy body brought it to his attention. My failure to even think about that evinces a lack of humanity. We are fallen beings and we lie to ourselves if we think that being a Christian instantly reverses the fall. This failure to reflect on what a word might mean to the other fellow is for me a dark besetting sin.
Now a word for the voyeuristic busy bodies. The repeated demands that I repent and recant before I understood what has happened and could search my heart and my conscience – such demands evince the morality of a high school clique. If I were one of you in your shallow clique, I would instantly recant just to please you and be spared your censure. If I were to recant just because of group pressure I could not look myself in the mirror. You were trying to force me into an unprincipled move just to mollify you because your favorite guy was mistreated. How does that differ from a high school clique? The juvenile impatience of it all. Where was the patience to wait while I methodically sought for the truth. Where is the adult in your midst?
I was frequently upbraided for not checking sources behind by my sources. If I had intended to publish that would be a legitimate criticism. But a informal project only for a few eyes – not so. I had two sources and it was more than you usually get in a piece for discussion by an intimate group. The ones I chose to see it were chosen for their wisdom and discretion – to guide me in case I got off course. When the piece was released to the lynch mob, I felt violated and betrayed. Such was the deafness of the mob, that even after I explained what had happened, the criticism that I did not check the sources of the sources – kept coming again and again. Open your ears and quit talking nonsense.
In my long project, of which this piece is a footnote, I was trying to figure out if our shallow, lukewarm evangelicalism is in a state of melt down. Mr Chambers proves to me that you still have a few good men. However, the feeding frenzy of the busybodies tilts me towards the melt-down theory. Fred Hutchison
Boxturtle Bulletin has some interesting background on the rift between Exodus and Paul Cameron that sets a context for the information used by Mr. Hutchison.
33 thoughts on “Hutchison issues retraction and explanation”
Anytime Eddy 🙂
Thanks, Jayhuck, you’ve helped me to realize something that’s been a long time in coming.
You are right about one thing Eddy, it is an assumption I am making regarding wealthy Evangelicals – although I believe they exist and I don’t think its a stretch to suggest they support ministries like Exodus – Whether there are a few, some, many, or many many, is something I’ll probably have to get back to you on, but I feel that our time has been well spent discussing this! LOL
I’m not sure how you got that post 53774 “stopped just short of calling Alan a liar”! And what exactly is the unfounded assumption regarding his support base? Are you suggesting that the assumption that wealthy Evangelicals support Alan and his ministry either directly or indirectly is without merit?
I understand why you are challenging some of my assumptions Eddy, I really do, but the challenges become distracting from the real issue after awhile – this discussion has been about Alan and about how many are upset with him and his own unfounded accusations. And to be honest, I have no idea what you meant by “decided that this would be yet another case where we’d find out in a day or two that you didn’t really mean it”
Like Mary, I think I understood what you were taking offense at, it’s just that your words made no sense to those of us who are reading. I actually read your posts before going off to work, chewed on them through the day and then decided that this would be yet another case where we’d find out in a day or two that you didn’t really mean it. Post 53774 stops just short of calling Alan a liar. It also makes an unfounded assumption re his support base…’the many, many…who support him.’ It further suggests that the ‘many, many’-if they do exist-are directly supporting Alan rather than supporting Exodus or its member agencies.
To be clear, I never said Alan couldn’t make money, rather it was Alan who was the one making a big deal out of money and who was suggesting that being a second class citizen somehow relates to your income – that is what I was taking offense at.
What I’m trying to say is that I don’t understand at all what you are trying to say in that post. I’ll understand if you don’t want to elaborate.
Really – all I can say is reread the sentence and don’t add or take anything away. I’m sorry but I get frustrated with some of your posts.
I’m not quite sure I understand what you are saying. Are you agreeing that Alan is in the wrong because of what he said?
Wait – a person working for HRC or Southern Poverty can make money (and good money) but Alan cannot?? That doesn’t make sense. Granted, making money on such issues, does bring into question everyone’s motive for being so “socially” concerned but the idea that only Alan’s income is questionable is ridiculous.
So, according to Alan, living a second or first class life is dependent on how much $$$ someone makes? Color me stupid, but I thought that being treated as a second class citizen had to do with equal rights.
Alan may not be making more than some at HRC, but he doesn’t seem to be hurting – and he has to be aware that there are many, many wealthy evangelicals who support him.
I also attended the same Family Values Summit. Yes, Alan Chambers really did say that. I was appalled to hear him throw that kind of red meat at the workshop like that. Absolutely appalled.I make a decent living and I am grateful for that. I make enough to live well.
Alan admits to saying that absurd remark, and defends his remark with this statement on his blog when called to task by poster NG. Alan said, “NG, I never said that I wasn’t making money. I said that compared to the heads of organizations like HRC I am in poverty.But, the phrase “ex-gay for pay” and being touted as the benafactors of the rich and powerful religious right are incorrect. When the President of HRC is making at least $200,000 a year and has a budget that far exceeds Exodus’ 10 year budget I find it ironic that I am supposed to consider him and others as living second class lives.” That “defense” of his Family Impact Summit statement can be found here.
Oh bouy…. sorry Warren.
May I also mention that I’ve intermittently run temperatures as high as 102F and I got poked by a tree limb in the leg and ruptured a vein nearly bleeding out in the last week?
I’m also getting old….
*head rolls off shoulders*
Thanks! I like to think in absurdities. Once in awhile, a great visualization comes with it. Glad you appreciated it.
THAT is a humorous image, Eddy 🙂
LOL! I find myself getting mixed up ‘tween Cameron and Cohen. I had brief flashes of moonies with tennis raquets chasing homosexuals…
Lynn David – Hutchison is a columnist for renewamerica and Hutcherson is a once pro-football player who is a minister. Two diff folks.
Oh… sorry Jim, you reported on that. My computer was on the fritz at the shop for a week or so.
But now I remember also that Hutcherson spoke at the 2007 Exodus Freedom conference and didn’t even pick up on the fact that the LA Times article – one of his authoritative sources – was before that. Was he not introduced to Alan Chambers (oh yeah… Alex Chambers); or even care to know the man who introduced him to the conference? Or is it more likely that Hutcherson is just plain stupid and like so many a far-righter so involved in his own activism that he doesn’t care to consider what he is, in fact, doing to the lives of others?
Talk about a divorce from reality.
I also attended the same Family Values Summit. Yes, Alan Chambers really did say that. I was appalled to hear him throw that kind of red meat at the workshop like that. Absolutely appalled.
According to Right Wing Watch as I attributed it, Chambers said it. As the head of Exodus, Chambers is a politician, tailoring his message to those he speaks. Which means I don’t believe a thing he ever says about rights for gays, for instance. For example, Exodus, if not Chambers himself, came out and repeated the same lies about hamstringing the free speech of preachers concerning homosexuality under the hate crimes law.
Did Alan really say that? Is he THAT out of touch with reality that he believes the right wing is poor and that gay people don’t care about family?
I guess Hutcherson’s RenewAmerica was’t invited to the Family Impact Summit where Chambers spoke of “the militant activist groups out to co-opt family life, our rights, and change America into an America that is only good for them.” And he further opined that these “militant gay activists” were “trying to co-opt our very way of life.” And then lamented that “the gay activist movement is wealthy. None of us in the pro-family movement are making money. I am in poverty compared to what the executives of the pro-gay movement are making.” Which obviously means that the ultra-conservatives “have to stand up against an evil agenda” – a wealthy evil agenda [RightWingWatch].
As I piece the story together, the email piece went out on the 9th and hit ‘widespread circulation’ on the 10th. Now, Mr. Hutchinson, on the 10th is 1) learning it got circulated 2) beginning to get ‘backlash’ and calls for clarification (Warren among them) 3) and sets out to learn the truth. That sounds like a busy day.
He found the time to respond to some of the challenges and managed to hook up with Alan himself in what must have been a difficult phone call for both of them, and then he composes his apology.
To me, it was swift and on the mark. If he had stopped with the apology and not gone on into the scolding; his apology would have been better received. If you look back though: 1) He admitted that the charges are false. 2) He took personal responsibility for use of the word ‘sodomy’ and even said that his responsibility is greater since he is a man of words. 3) He admitted that pride was a part of his error and that his ‘overzealousness for truth’ helped pave the way for this error. 4) He admitted to inhumanity–failing to recognize that his human souce might have less than accurate impressions. 5) He admittted to insensitivity re how some people understand the same words differently. I think if he’d have stopped there…his apology may have been better received.
I thought the scolding was ill-timed but, on the other hand, when you consider the time frame that seems apparent…this all blew up in his face, without any warning and with no intent of malice on his part. He was then besieged by people demanding him to fix this immediately. “Well, yeah, I’d like to…at the moment, I’m dealing with you…if you’d give me a few hours, though, I’ll do what needs to be done.” (It took time for him to read and respond to Warren’s initial queries, for example…he couldn’t be on the phone checking things out with Alan while he tending to these other things.) So, I’m not faulting him on timing either. And, depending on the number of ‘requests for clarification’ and ‘demands to do something’ he got on the 10th, I might even forgive him for the scolding.
How many times have I written something to someone in confidence and had it broadcast to the world? Ummm…thinking…thinking…thinking…ummm…oh yeah, never!
This guy’s fig leaf bit of writing reminds me of the many politicians, etc. who, when caught with their hand in the cookie jar, or their pants around their ankles, take scant responsibility and conveniently find a host of reasons for minimizing their own irresponsibility. To castigate people for being “busy bodies” is just absurd. Really, he needs to go take a nice long look in the mirror.
Let us all share a moment of silence for the real victim: Paul Cameron.
Just so we’re all clear now, Larry Craig trolls for bathroom sex but he’s not gay. Michael Richards goes on a tirade against n—–s but he’s not racist, and Paul Cameron lies but he’s not a liar.
I am not a commenter on Warren’s blog.
I have read Cameron for years and trusted him because I share his zeal for truth and his horror of the gay political agenda which is undermining the American family and seducing many pastors. However, I prided myself on a zeal for truth
I’m just not even sure where to start with statements like these – good grief. People like this don’t realize that gay people are PART OF the American family! There are so many things wrong about this guy.
The sin is that of bearing false wtiness. Pretty straightforward commandment – but boy did he go through great lengths to justify himself.
How absurd. The problem was that no one believed his “dog ate my homework” excuse that his “assistant” published it behind his back. The “deafness of the mob” was his interpretation of the reaction one would expect from such a ridiculous story.
Read this: “I realized that I provided Alan Chambers with an incredibly solid case for libel and I’m saying whatever I can to avoid that.”
One needs only to review Hutchinson’s other writings or just the site for which he writes, to understand his priorities.
A classic non-apology.
How can he keep talking about “two sources” when he had only to read one of those sources (the LA Times article) to know it didn’t support his claim one iota?
A blunt apology in places…that’s good.
I like the whole idea of giving thoughtful people time to thoughtfuly respond to their errors, rather than trying to coerce them into an apology out of ridicule.
I don’t know Hutchinson, but I like the way he approaches his errors…ultimately.
I have read Cameron for years and trusted him because I share his zeal for truth and his horror of the gay political agenda which is undermining the American family and seducing many pastors.
In other words, “I trust and believe him because he says what I want to hear”. Sadly, too many on all sides of the discussion operate from that paradigm.
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