Much has been made in the press recently of the bravery and honesty of female celebrities such as Emma Watson and Jennifer Lawrence who have spoken out against injustice and misrepresentation both in their own lives and those of the majority of women living in the twenty-first century. A statement made this week by God TV co-founder Wendy Alec whose husband and media partner of twenty-seven years recently left her – and the ministry – for another woman is another important example of such candidness which has huge implications for the current dialogue between church and society. Extra-marital affairs played out in the public eye are of course nothing new, but when associated with Christian media figures they become all the more sensitive in nature. As promoters of virtue and fidelity, they are expected to live out these principles in their own lives to a fault, and any deviation from this naturally attracts accusations of hypocrisy and fallaciousness. The strength therefore to confess to and apologise for – as Alec’s husband Rory observed of his behaviour – ‘moral failings’ are not only good PR, it also presents a positive representation of the tenets of Christianity.
In many ways, the timing of this event could not be worse for the channel, who are currently trying to establish a new events centre in Plymouth. The nature of Rory Alec’s departure could potentially have spelled disaster, not only in terms of the channel’s reputation but of the added stress and workload now faced by his wife and her team. The statement released by Mrs Alec to her viewers on Wednesday however painted a very different picture; one of hope, determination and restoration. Not only did she speak frankly and clearly as to the details of the split, her attitude of grace, humility and forgiveness in the midst of tremendous personal heartache was nothing short of inspirational, striking a chord with loyal viewers and casual spectators alike. In an act which Alec identified as potentially controversial, she read a message of support from a gay man who identified with her not as a religious speaker or a moralist but as a person who was hurting. Alec’s recognition of this combined with her focus on the human beneath superficialities such as lifestyle and sexual preference – she recently included a bisexual character in her literary saga, The Chronicles of Brothers – is a part of what makes her approach to Christianity so unique and accessible in the modern world. She concluded the broadcast by asserting that her decision to found the channel had never come from a man but from her own spiritual affirmation, resolving to continue God TV’s mission to bring the message of Christianity to billions of homes worldwide, a sentiment that regardless of religious implications can only be admired.
God TV can be accessed on Sky 580 and live on their website at http://www.god.tv/