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NDPers call for end to anti-gay group’s charitable status

Quebec wing of the federal NDP calls for end to tax exemptions for Exodus

An international organization claiming it can turn gays straight using “the transforming power of Jesus Christ” may have its charitable status yanked if an NDP committee has its way.

On Nov 20, the Quebec wing of the federal NDP called for the government to strip Exodus Global Alliance of its Canadian charitable status at a convention in Gatineau.

On its website, Exodus Global Alliance, based in Ajax, Ontario, says in its mission statement it serves “people affected by homosexuality through counselling, support groups and other services.”

Matthew McLauchlin, co-chair of the federal NDP’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Committee, points to Exodus’ charitable status with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), claiming it fails to mention anything about homosexuality in its tax return. For the last 10 years, reports described the organization’s mission in 30 words: “Educating and training in dealing with abuse and family issues. Developing ministries to help families and individuals in pain. Teaching church groups, schools and youth. Helping and teaching at conferences.”

“One entertaining feature in their CRA application is it says nothing about curing homosexuality. They say it on their website but they didn’t say it in their CRA application. So in filling out that form, as far as I’m concerned, if that’s what they told CRA then they misled them. (Exodus) is not just saying let’s pray for a little while. In our view, this does not provide a tangible asset to society and should not have registered charity status. Some people are holding themselves as counsellors not accepting scientific principles, even though it’s psychologically harmful. What seems to be the case is they don’t fulfil the requirements to be a registered charity,” says McLauchlin.

McLauchlin says Exodus offers unhappy gays ineffective snake-oil solutions, telling them they will never be happy and that gay people are sordid and unhealthy. To overcome this, they claim gays must undergo their treatments and become heterosexual. McLauchlin says these methods are unscientific and ex-gay therapy counter-effective does not work as it promotes a high risk of depression and self-hatred.

“It can seem pretty laughable. The idea that homosexuality is a mental illness has been discredited since the ’70s. The idea you can alter sexuality has been discredited by psychiatric community. This is the substance of our problem. Exodus has a sordid and negative view on homosexuality. It promotes and offers a psychological feature which is pure charlatanism. They hold up the idea gay people can never be content and their lifestyle leads to sad and dismal lives and you can reject all that if you become heterosexual. This practice has been condemned as misleading and it is therapeutically inappropriate,” says McLauchlin.

The campaign to strip the Canadian of Exodus Global Alliance of its charitable status began September when blogger Mark McIntyre discovered New Zealand’s Charities Commission refused charitable status to Exodus Ministries Trust Board. The commission determined that the New Zealand group did not provide a charitable purpose.

“It is not clear,” the commission concluded, “that providing counselling that seeks to promote a particular point of view (for example that homosexuality is morally wrong) will necessarily provide ‘relief’ to homosexuals and others with sexual problems.”

While writing about New Zealand’s decision, McIntyre noted Exodus Global Alliance has charitable status in Canada. He then began a letter-writing campaign to push CRA to rescind charitable status, arguing the organization does not provide a public benefit.