Willow Creek Community Church, a suburgan megachurch near Chicago, recently revealed a decision finalized in 2009 to break ties with Exodus International, an organization that encourages homosexuals to reject their sexual preferences and “grow into heterosexuality” through Jesus.
According to the Huffington Post, “church officials described the move as a shift in approach rather than a change in belief.” The recent publicity surrounding suicidal gay youth and the bullying many homosexual students suffer at their hands of their peers has brought criticism upon churches with programs that target gays as being in defiance of God and the Bible.
In March, Apple removed an iPhone app developed by Exodus International from its App Store after more than a hundred thousand people signed a petition against it. The app was intended to use biblical passages to “help” gay people overcome their homosexuality. The app was found to violate Apple’s hate speech guidelines.
Exodus International disputed the claims on their website, saying that their company and iPhone app had been “grossly misrepresented.”
Losing affiliation with the large Willow Creek community seems to be another blow for the controversial organization.
As gay marriage becomes legal in more states and the realization that gay people should have the same rights as everyone else becomes more entrenched in our society, it is clear that organizations like Exodus International will face increasing opposition. Perhaps Willow Creek has set a precedent that other evangelical churches will be soon to follow.