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UK school chaplain sues after being fired, flagged as a terrorist for sermon interviewing LGBTQ activists


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A school chaplain in the UK is taking legal action against his former employer after he claims he was fired over a 2019 sermon which told students they had the right to make up their own minds about claims of LGBTQ identity politics.

“I gave a sermon in the chapel saying you don’t have to accept anybody’s ideology, you make up your own mind,” Reverend Bernard Randall said of his sermon, which remains available online. “On some issues, LGBT activists and Christians are in complete agreement: there should be no discrimination, no one should be attacked personally or anything. But there are issues on which there is disagreement. “

Randall, an ordained Church of England minister who worked for five years at Trent College in Derbyshire, England, has also been flagged to the government’s anti-terrorism watchdog by his school and blacklisted as a “risk to the safeguarding” of children by his diocese because of his sermon. , he told Fox News Digital in a phone interview on Tuesday.

In his sermon, Randall explained to his young pupils, all aged 11 to 17, the historical teachings of the Church of England on marriage, sexuality and gender. He reminded them that they are not bound to accept the claims of LGBTQ activists and that they have the right under English law to believe what they wish on such matters.

“So the school administration objected to this, dragged me in for questioning, suspended me, then fired me for gross misconduct despite it being a Church of England school. England,” he said. “I was a Church of England minister in an act of Church of England worship, giving a sermon that you can accept the teaching of the Church.”

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Reverend Dr Bernard Randall is suing Trent College after saying they fired him for preaching a sermon questioning LGBTQ identity politics.
(Christian concern)

Randall said the idea for the sermon came to him after one of his students asked him to speak in chapel about why they “have to embrace” LGBTQ ideology in a Christian school. Trent College, which is affiliated with the Church of England, previously tapped Elly Barnes, CEO and founder of Educate and Celebrate, an LGBTQ education charity, to train staff at the school.

Barnes reportedly encouraged school staff to sing “Crush Heteronormativity” during a training session. His group, which did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital, aims to help schools and organizations “integrate gender, gender identity and sexual orientation into the fabric” of their culture. , according to its website.

Randall said he at the time raised concerns with the school administration that Barnes’ guidelines would conflict with the school’s Protestant Evangelical ethos, but was expelled. of the decision to implement the program of his organization. Days after his controversial sermon in 2019, he was reportedly called before the school’s vice principal and his designated safeguarding officer (DSL) and told that his beliefs were irrelevant and that his sermon had hurt feelings of some people.

Following an investigation, the school fired Randall. He later learned that the school DSL had also reported him to local law enforcement and Prevent, which monitors terrorism allegations in the UK. The government watchdog ultimately determined that he did not pose a terrorist threat.

A rainbow flag flies over the Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Bromley, south London.

A rainbow flag flies over the Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Bromley, south London.
(Darko Mlinarevic via Getty Images)

After being fired, Randall was reinstated following an appeal, but he said his reinstatement came with a list of conditions, one of which prohibited him from discussing “any matter or expressing a opinion (in Chapel or more generally around the school) likely to cause offense or distress to members of the school body.” He also had to get prior approval from the school regarding the themes and content of his sermons.

Randall was furloughed during the pandemic, never returned to full-time, and was ultimately fired on December 31, 2020.

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In an employment tribunal that begins Wednesday and could last up to three weeks, Randall is suing Trent College for harassment, discrimination, victimization and wrongful termination because of his Christian beliefs. With the help of the Christian Legal Centre, he is also seeking compensation for unfair dismissal and a recommendation under the Equality Act 2010.

Citing the pending court, Trent College administrators told Fox News Digital in a statement that they were “unable to comment in detail on the particulars of the case.”

“At Trent College, we pride ourselves on our commitment to supporting the well-being of all our students, regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. We want each of our students to feel safety here, and we work hard to stay up to date with the latest thinking on inclusivity, including the changing LGBT+ landscape,” the school added.

Bishop of Derby Right Rev.  Libby Lane, second right, sings during a celebratory service to mark the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women into the Church of England, at Lambeth Palace, London.

Bishop of Derby Right Rev. Libby Lane, second right, sings during a celebratory service to mark the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women into the Church of England, at Lambeth Palace, London.
(Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)

Randall said his dioceses also investigated him after his sermon. Rather than supporting him, the diocese considered him a risk to children because of his views. The high point of their assessment, he said, was that the investigator viewed “the Church itself as a risk factor,” acknowledging that parts of the Church’s scriptures and liturgy support the Randall’s stance.

“They decided that simply sticking to the teachings of the Church meant that I was potentially a risk to the safeguard; that I could cause anxiety to anyone who came to speak to me about issues concerning sexuality and others,” he said. “Based on no evidence other than I simply accept the teachings of the Church that employs me and employs the people who do the safeguard assessment.”

The Diocese of Derby did not return Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

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Explaining how “difficult” his situation was, Randall said, “It didn’t make me less confident in Christian truth. It made me a lot less confident in the Church of England, so I trying to find my place in the grand scheme of things has been really difficult.”

“But at the end of the day, I am an ordained minister. And when you are ordained, you promise to tell the truth. You are effectively appointed a ‘prophet,’ so to speak, to society. I promised to do so, so that’s what I do,” he said.

Randall noted that the “woke” ideology apparently assumed all the trappings of a mainstream religion, despite being godless. He places his own experience within a much wider anti-religious trend that is spreading not just in the UK, but across the western world.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby leads the opening service of the 15th Lambeth Conference at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, UK on July 31, 2022.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby leads the opening service of the 15th Lambeth Conference at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, UK on July 31, 2022.
(Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)

“I really think the whole ‘woke’ agenda — gender identity ideology, all of those things — is deeply Marxist in its attitudes,” he said. “And we know that Marxists absolutely hate religion. They don’t want religious people because at the end of the day, religious people – Christians, Jews and others – say what they consider to be the truth higher than what they say. the state.”

“And for Marxists, the only truth is what the state tells you the truth is, so they have to stamp out every other version of the truth. And that’s why religion is attacked sometimes blatantly and sometimes subtly, scratching the foundations and mocking religion as if it were foolish. When in fact those who believe know that there is nothing foolish about having the joy, peace and promise of eternal life that faith in Jesus brings,” he continued.

In a written statement about his ordeal, Randall wrote that “woke militants are chomping at the bit. [Church of England]’s guts.” Many have asked him if he would ever leave the Church because of what he’s going through, but he noted to Fox News Digital that he was hesitant to leave because the institution is “so deeply entrenched in my DNA, really. “

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“I’ve always been in the Church of England,” he said. “My family has always belonged to the Church of England. I can’t really imagine not being in the Church of England. It’s more the Church of England leaving me, in a sense. I won’t make any promises, but I think I want to stick it out.”

“And if I need to be a nuisance to try and get the Church back to where it should be, I think that might be my calling. God never promised an easy ride, so I’ll stay. where God has put me and I will do the good that he has put before me. This is the basic attitude that I adopt,” he added.

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