Just one day after she publicly came out as a lesbian in the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper, British Christian rock singer Vicky Beeching verbally sparred with one of America's most notorious homophobes, Massachusetts-based evangelical preacher Scott Lively.
In her first televised interview since coming out earlier this week, Britian's Channel 4 paired Beeching with the U.S. evangelical pastor who is currently at the center of an international human rights lawsuit that charges him with fomenting antigay hatred among Ugandan lawmakers, prompting the enactment of draconian legislation that called for lifetime prison sentences for many LGBT people.
As Zack Ford at ThinkProgress notes, Beeching is not only a gay Christian with a sizable U.S. audience, but she's also pursuing a doctorate in theology, which makes Thursday's on-air spat with Lively particularly fascinating, as Beeching refused to accept Lively's limited, exclusionary interpretations of the Bible.
Lively says he "has a lot of sympathy for Vicky herself," noting that his sister was a lesbian. Lively then goes on to claim that he was the person his sister turned to "when lesbianism had almost destroyed her," though he does not explain how a person's sexual orientation can be destructive. Instead, he says his sister "became a Christian and overcame lesbianism."
Reiterating that he has a great deal of sympathy for those "struggling" with homosexuality, Lively tells Beeching he is "very sorry to hear that she has given in to the lie that she is a homosexual instead of continuing to try to overcome the challenge that is in her life."
Beeching outright dismissed Lively's claim that she is living a lie, noting that's the line of thought she was raised with and that it's "psychologically very damaging to people, because it makes you feel like you are fighting yourself."
Instead, Beeching posits, "it's about coming to terms with who you are and realizing we need to accept our sexual orientation as a God-given gift, rather than making it seem like it's a battle between who you're made to be and who you are."
The conversation becomes particularly heated when Lively claims, "There is no such thing as a gay person."
"So you do not think that people are born gay?" Beeching asks.
"Absolutely not," responds Lively.
When Lively tries to assuage Beeching, telling her she is placing too much faith in psychology rather than religious doctrine, Beeching fires back with a pointed response.
"So psychology, for you, does not reflect God's intellect in us as humans?" asks Beeching. "Because I would say that actually psychology is part of what it means to be human ... to have a brain and to be intelligent, and God gave us that ability."
In Lively's most unabashed display of denigration to the Oxford-educated theologian, writer, and musician, the evangelical pastor asks, "Don't you care what God thinks of you, Vicky?"
"I do," responds Beeching incredulously. "And that's actually why I'm taking this step today — so that young people don't have to listen to the kind of teaching that you peddle, because it damages."
Watch the full segment below, with the conversation between Beeching and Lively beginning at the 7:50 mark.