A Christian school chaplain in the United Kingdom lost his job and was reported to an anti-terrorism program after he delivered a sermon defending pupils’ rights to question the school’s introduction of new LGBT policies.
Reverend Dr. Bernard Randall, former chaplain of Christ’s College at Cambridge University and a Church of England minister, was reported for being a potential extremist and a danger to children after delivering a sermon upholding debate and respect.
The school chaplain is now launching legal action against his most recent employer, Trent College near Nottingham, for discrimination, victimization and unfair dismissal.
In June 2018, Trent College, an independent school that labels itself as ‘Protestant and evangelical’ with a Church of England ethos, invited an LGBT activist from Educate and Celebrate to implement a LGBT inclusive curriculum into the school.
The program’s aim is to educate staff on how they could “embed gender, gender identity and sexual orientation into the fabric at your school.”
During one training session, staff members were asked to chant the words “smash heteronormativity.”
In the midst of Trent College adopting its new LGBT 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 LGBT principles being put in place—particularly if they went against their beliefs and Church of England values.
In the sermon, which was part of a service including hymns, prayers and Bible reading, Randall said: “The most important thing is to remember that loving your neighbor as yourself does not mean agreeing with everything he or she says; it means that when we have these discussions there is no excuse for personal attacks or abusive language.”
Shortly after, the school chaplain was pulled into a meeting and told that his sermon was inflammatory, divisive and harmful to LGBT pupils.
The school then launched an investigation and suspended Randall.
Following an investigation and disciplinary hearing, the chaplain received a letter of dismissal, which was later overturned on appeal.
Randall was then given a final warning letter and told that he could continue his job under censorship, including that his sermons be pre-approved and only delivered with a staff member present for supervision.
During the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020, Randall was furloughed, but as restrictions eased, the school reduced his hours and eventually made him redundant (a term that in the U.K. means the employer no longer needs anyone to do the job) in December 2020.
An employment tribunal hearing is scheduled for June 14.
“My career and life are in tatters,” Randall said. “I believe that if this is the cross that I have to carry to help prevent others from experiencing the same as me, I have no choice but to pursue justice.”
Randall is being represented by Christian Legal Centre, a specialist ministry of the U.K.-based religious liberty organization Christian Concern.
Above: Reverend Dr. Bernard Randall
Photo: Courtesy of Christian Concern