An Anglican chaplain who was allegedly fired for preaching traditional views on sexual ethics at a church service says the Church of England wrongly listed him as a risk to children for openly expressing his concerns. conservative beliefs about sexual ethics.
Reverend Bernard Randall was reportedly told by the Church of England that a safeguard team from the Diocese of Derby had labeled him a ‘moderate risk to children’ and vulnerable adults because of his ethical beliefs sex, according to a statement released by the Christian Legal Center on Sunday ahead of an employment tribunal hearing this week.
Randall, ordained by the Church of England and former employee of the Church of England-affiliated Trent College, claims to have suffered “Stalinist” interrogations during which he was told that refusing to deny his beliefs made him a risk.
The team went so far as to say that expressing one’s beliefs was a safeguarding risk and that “the Church itself is a risk factor”.
The CLC, which represents Randall, argues there has been no evidence that Randall behaved inappropriately in his relationships.
“I’ve always wanted to give the diocese a chance to see meaning and properly address this situation internally,” Randall said in a statement.
“I have always been so loyal to the Church, but unfortunately it has not been reciprocated. I have been branded a ‘risk to children’ by Church officials for expressing, in moderation , CofE teaching on human sexuality in a CofE chapel.”
Randall doesn’t believe delivering a sermon can be a “backup issue.”
“I didn’t think anything I said was wrong,” he said. “I certainly didn’t make any personal attacks.”
In May 2021, Randall filed a lawsuit after being fired from Trent College, reportedly in response to a 2019 sermon that was reported to an anti-terrorism program called Prevent.
In the sermon, he questioned the legitimacy of a new LGBT-inclusive curriculum at school and said students should be allowed to question the curriculum and convey conservative views on sexual ethics.
The teaching materials for the “Educate and Celebrate” program were adopted by the college after a visit from Elly Barnes, founder of Educate & Celebrate, an LGBT education charity.
The materials aim to “equip you and your communities with the knowledge, skills and confidence to embed gender, gender identity and sexual orientation into the fabric of your organisation”.
In August 2019, Randall was notified of his dismissal for gross misconduct, which was ultimately overturned on appeal.
Nonetheless, Randall maintains that he has been prohibited from speaking on matters “likely to offend or disturb members of the school body” and not “to publicly express beliefs in a way that exploits the vulnerability of our students.” .
Despite the prolonged trauma, the chaplain earlier said he has become more vocal as a Christian.
“The weird thing about being reported to Prevent, which is supposed to tackle violent extremism, is that it pushed me a bit to be more radical about the importance of freedom of expression. It’s not violent extremism, but it’s made me much more aware of it. It’s kind of ironic, I’m now more likely to talk about it than before,” he said. declared.
“I think as a Christian in particular, speaking the truth is really important, as Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.'”
In late June, Randall participated in a panel discussion at the International Religious Freedom Summit held in Washington, DC. He warned that secular abortion and gender activists have harmed freedoms in countries that have historically championed religious freedom.
“I was called in for what I can only describe as a senior management interview,” he said. “I was suspended. And I was fired for gross misconduct for doing my job according to the job description.”
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