Hutchison issues retraction and explanation

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.