UK

School chaplain preaches to kids that same-sex marriage and gay sex is ‘morally problematic’

Lily Wakefield May 11, 2021
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Reverend Bernard Randall, the former school chaplain for private boarding school Trent College

Reverend Bernard Randall, the former school chaplain for private boarding school Trent College. (Christian Concern)

A chaplain at a private boarding school who told kids it was “perfectly proper” to say gay sex is “morally problematic” is claiming he was discriminated against.

Reverend Bernard Randall, 48, was working at the elite Trent College in Nottingham, in 2019, when he decided to give a sermon to the children on LGBT+ rights.

The school had recently adopted the LGBT+ inclusion programme Educate and Celebrate, which provides training for school staff.

Claiming he was responding to a question by a student – “How come we are told we have to accept all this LGBT+ stuff in a Christian school?” – Randall told students: “You do not have to accept the ideas and ideologies of LGBT+ activists.”

He continued: “Indeed, since Trent exists ‘to educate boys and girls according to the Protestant and Evangelical principles of the Church of England’, anyone who tells you that you must accept contrary principles is jeopardising the school’s charitable status, and therefore its very existence.”

Randall added: “It is perfectly legitimate to think that marriage should only properly be understood as being a lifelong exclusive union of a man and a woman… You may perfectly properly believe that, as an ideal, sexual activity belongs only within such marriage, and that therefore any other kind is morally problematic.”

The school chaplain also told the children that his view on marriage and LGBT+ rights was an “ethical position which could also be arrived at independently of any religious text”.

According to Christian Concern, which is supporting Bernard Randall in his legal action, following an investigation and disciplinary hearing, the chaplain received a letter from the school’s headteacher, in August 2019, informing him that his sermon had amounted to gross misconduct, which would result in dismissal.

He appealed, and his dismissal was converted by school governors to a final warning, provided that he comply with requirements including that he not “express personal beliefs in ways which exploit our pupils’ vulnerability”.

During the coronavirus pandemic, however, Randall was furloughed and eventually made redundant in December 2020.

Christian Concern also claimed that Trent College’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) began the process of reporting Randall to Prevent, the government initiative to “safeguard individuals from being drawn into terrorism”, but the report was never completed.

Although the Christian legal group said Bernard Randall was being reported as a “potentially violent religious extremist”, schools have a legal “duty to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”, according to government guidance.

The guidance states: “Being drawn into terrorism includes not just violent extremism but also non-violent extremism, which can create an atmosphere conducive to terrorism and can popularise views which terrorists exploit… Schools should be mindful of their existing duties to forbid political indoctrination and secure a balanced presentation of political issues.”

Bernard Randall is now taking Trent College to court for discrimination, harassment, victimisation and unfair dismissal, with the support of Christian Concern’s Christian Legal Centre which said an employment tribunal hearing was expected from 14 June 2021.

Explaining his decision to launch legal action, the chaplain claimed his “Christian beliefs” had been “blatantly censored”.

He added: “My story sends a message to other Christians that you are not free to talk about your faith.

“It seems it is no longer enough to just ‘tolerate’ LGBT+ ideology. You must accept it without question and no debate is allowed without serious consequences… I 100 per cent see what has happened to me in Orwellian terms.

“Truth matters, but increasingly powerful groups in our society do not care about the truth.

“My career and life are in tatters. 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.”

When approached for comment, Trent College told PinkNews that “it would not be appropriate for the school to provide any further comment at this time, in light of ongoing Employment Tribunal proceedings”.

Related topics: Christianity, gay sex, Homophobia, same sex marriage

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