Vicky Beeching calls Evangelical Alliance to account over blog post that ‘spreads misinformation’
Writer and equality campaigner Vicky Beeching has called the Evangelical Alliance to account, saying the alliance lacks pastoral care for LGBT+ people, after it posted a blog post reviewing her new book.
In a lengthy post on Facebook, Beeching said the Evangelical Alliance’s review of her book – Undivided: Coming Out, Becoming Whole, and Living Free from Shame – presented her as in the wrong, spread false information, and ignored her mental health and financial struggles.
In the blog post, Peter Lynas, director of Evangelical Alliance (EA) Northern Ireland, writes: “Ultimately, Vicky has decided that rather than change her own views, she wants to change the church, and not just the church she grew up in.
“Her new position is at odds with the historic and global church, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant.”
Lynas later adds: “Vicky complains [in the book] that telling any young person that sex is for marriage is damaging psychologically. She isn’t simply challenging teachings on same sex relationships, but the entire Christian sex ethic. In her conclusion, Vicky says that ‘God longs for us to simply be ourselves.’
“Any ideas of repentance, transformation and Jesus’ command to be born again are gone, leaving an empty gospel.”
He describes the book as a “campaign document, advocating for change,” adding: “As a tool of advocacy, it is much more problematic.”
The EA aims to represent evangelical Christians in the UK, working at around 3,300 churches in the country.
Lynas’ post also argues that Beeching’s “authenticity jars with the 15 years of touring and playing in churches that Vicky knew held opposing view.”
Addressing the book review on Facebook, Beeching, a practising evangelical Christian, said: “Yesterday’s article spreads misinformation, saying I’ve profited financially by coming out and that I am essentially getting rich from being gay.
“How ironic, when the author of the post is considerably well-off himself, whereas I am struggling to afford basic rent each month and am living in a one-room bed-sit full of storage boxes.
“I cannot get approved for a mortgage, have no savings, salary or pension, and am living with chronic illnesses ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia.
“I am still struggling to rebuild an entirely new career as I approach the age of 40 after losing my music ministry because evangelical churches closed their doors to me when I came out. If things don’t improve financially, I’ll be looking at moving back in with my parents.”
She said that all these factors were “erased in the EA’s book review.”
Beeching also criticised the EA for not meeting up with her to discuss her views before posting the book review. She said the alliance had acted similarly in a blog post responding to her coming out in 2014.
Prior to coming out, Beeching was a widely considered as a rockstar on the Christian music scene, including the American Bible Belt.
She said that, when she came out in 2014, the EA “made no effort to contact me personally or meet face to face.”
Beeching added that she was “disappointed” that the alliance had “only belatedly got in touch with me months later in 2015, seemingly out of pressure from others and to try and save face,” but that she was too ill with her chronic illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) to meet with them then, and had “heard nothing from them since.”
Beeching continued: “Instead, just like in 2014, they published a blog saying how wrong I am, that I lack integrity, and that I am barely a Christian anymore.”
Speaking to PinkNews, Beeching, who advocates for equal marriage in her new book, explained: “It felt like a re-run of 2014, that my very vulnerable stories – both in coming out in 2014, and then obviously far more vulnerable in the book – had not been accurately conveyed in what they wrote.
“I was really alarmed by the fact that they implied that I was making a lot of money out of now being gay, when actually, as I said, I lost my career when I came out because the evangelical churches closed their doors.
“That is an awkward reality for the EA and they’ve implied that I’m now benefitting financially, when I’m actually struggling to pay the rent.”
She continued: “I love the church, I love evangelicalism, and I hope that we can all do better. So really all I’m doing is calling them to adhere to their own commitment.
Beeching added: “The fact that my book argues academically and based on the bible, that again was just ignored, my mental health issues, my disability issues were ignored.
“It feels like an erasure of all the parts that are too difficult for them to actually tackle. So all they went for was my bank balance and spread misinformation about me.”
Beeching, who argues that people should not be made to be celibate in her new book, said that the alliance exhibited a “lack of pastoral care toward LGBT+ people, who do not submit to lifelong celibacy.”
“Those who do are hailed as heroes, those who don’t, like myself, are treated with disdain,” she said. “It shouldn’t be that way. We can disagree theologically but we should be treated better pastorally. They treat me, and others like me, as though we are a difficult problem [or] concept, not as people and human beings with feelings.”
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She said that the EA had also broken its “Relational Commitment,” as part of the alliance’s “Statement of Faith,” which states: “We owe it to each other, in making public comment on the alleged statements of our fellow Christians, first to confer directly with them and to establish what was actually intended.”
Beeching claimed that the EA breached this commitment when it did not meet her before publishing its blog post responding to her coming out in 2014.
“So they did break that code of conduct, and there was awareness of that within the EA, so what I was calling to account was the fact that they didn’t actually uphold their own standards in 2014, and this time with the book coming out, would have been a great opportunity for them to rectify that,” she added.
Beeching said that she felt like she was “being smeared, just because I’ve dared to have a different opinion.”
PinkNews has contacted EA for comment.