A Christian school chaplain in the United Kingdom who was forced out after he told students in a chapel sermon that it was OK to question LGBTQ ideology, and was then flagged as a potential terrorist, plans to appeal an employment court ruling against him.
Reverend Bernard Randall, an ordained Church of England (CofE) minister who had been serving as chaplain at Trent College near Nottingham, was “maneuvered out” of his job and secretly reported to the British terrorist watchdog program after delivering his 2019 sermon on identity politics. He was also blacklisted by the church as a “safeguarding risk” and thus hasn’t preached in three years.
His lawyers at the U.K.-based Christian Legal Centre argued that Randall’s sermon to students, which was tailored to questions he had received about new LGBTQ initiatives at the school, was “moderate” in tone, and urged open debate and respect for all people regardless of their views.
“We cannot permit this judgment to stand,” said Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, of the employment tribunal’s ruling last week against Randall. “It is neither a rational judgment nor an impartial one. It reads as a promotional piece for Queer theory.
“This judgment is tragic for Dr. Randall, but we are encouraging him and all faithful clergy and lay members in the Church of England who believe in Biblical truth to stand firm. This outcome is not the end.”
Williams said it is clear that attempts are being made to force the celebration of LGBTQ beliefs, not merely tolerance.
She added, “Bernard is kind, intelligent and is not a safeguarding risk to anyone. It is the rise of LGBT ideology and activism within the Church of England that is the ‘risk’ to good and faithful clergy. … We will fight for justice for as long as it takes.”
After being forced out of Trent College, Randall launched legal action against the school for discrimination, victimization and unfair dismissal.
Back in June 2018, the independent school, which labels itself as ‘Protestant and evangelical’ with a Church of England ethos, invited an LGBTQ activist from Educate and Celebrate (E&C) to implement an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum into the school.
The program was to teach staff how they could “embed gender, gender identity and sexual orientation into the fabric at your school.”
During one training session that allegedly urged teachers to reject traditional marriage and gender norms, E&C leader Elly Barnes led staff members to repeatedly chant “Smash heteronormativity!”
In the midst of Trent College adopting its new LGBTQ teaching, a student asked Randall, “How come we are told we have to accept all this LGBT stuff in a Christian school?”
Randall then delivered a sermon that reminded students of their rights to disagree with LGBTQ principles being put in place—particularly if they went against their beliefs and Church of England values.
In a statement, the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) quoted the employment judge’s ruling, in which she accused Randall of taking “an extreme view of E&C which bears no resemblance to the reality of its purpose and implementation, which was aimed simply at creating an inclusive environment for all. We saw and heard no evidence that came anywhere close to supporting the Claimant’s view that E&C would indoctrinate pupils in such a way.”
The Christian Legal Centre responded, “Judge Butler ‘accepted’ the school’s [presentation of] evidence that Elly Barnes getting staff to chant ‘smash heteronormativity’ was ‘simply an enthusiastic attempt by Ms. Barnes to warm-up the teachers at the outset of the day.’”
“It has been appalling,” Williams wrote, “how the CofE hierarchy has stood back and watched one of its own clergy being crushed by the prevailing secular orthodoxy on human sexuality.”
“It is a personal blow,” Randall said following the ruling, “but more importantly, it is a blow for all those who believe in freedom of speech, in freedom of religion, and in an educational system which opens the minds of young people rather than narrowing them or imposing an ideology that many or most in our society find troubling.”
Photo: The Reverend Bernard Randall, courtesy The Christian Legal Centre