Christian Curriculum

‘My world has fallen apart’: chaplain accused of terrorism over LGBT sermon | World news


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Reverend Bernard Randall |

A school chaplain who was fired from his job and reported to the government counterterrorism watchdog for delivering a sermon questioning the school’s LGBT policies, said in a media interview that his world “collapsed” after being accused of being a terrorist.

Reverend Bernard Randall, 48, told Prime Minister Christian News he found out he was referred in 2019 to the counterterrorism watchdog, Prevent, as he went through the documentation relating to the disciplinary action regarding his sermon at Trent College, a Church of England school.

“It’s not like they’ve sat me down and said, ‘This is what we think we have to do.’ I found out that, so to speak, by accident and all of a sudden my world falls apart because I’m accused of being a terrorist, which is pretty much the worst thing anyone can accuse in our company on the basis of I did not know what. It was just amazing, ”Randall reportedly said.

He was kicked out of school for serious misconduct and reported to the counterterrorism program after telling students, ages 11 to 17, that they were under no obligation “to accept an ideology with which they disagree “. He also told the students that they could make up their own minds about gender identity and sexuality.

In the 2019 sermon, he referred to a new LGBT inclusive curriculum at school because a student asked him to talk about it, he says.

The material for the Educate and Celebrate program was adopted after a visit from Elly Barnes, founder of Educate & Celebrate, a charity for LGBT education. The material aims to “equip you and your communities with the knowledge, skills and confidence to integrate gender, gender identity and sexual orientation into the fabric of your organization”.

Although police ruled that he was not a “counterterrorism risk” or a “radicalization risk” in his case two years ago, the chaplain said being considered a terrorist “Is still an injury”.

Randall recalled: “Fortunately, it was only a few days before the disciplinary hearing that I had an opportunity to ask questions, and I said as part of that, ‘Do you think the Church of England is a terrorist organization? to which the (principal) said, “Well, no. And oh, we probably should have told you that the Prevent dismissal came back with no further action required. ‘ “

His dismissal was also overturned on appeal, but he said earlier that he was prohibited from speaking about matters “likely to offend or upset members of the school body” and that he was asked not to speak. “publicly express your beliefs in ways that exploit our students.” vulnerability. “

Despite the prolonged trauma, the chaplain said he has become more vocal as a Christian.

“The weird thing about being reported to Prevent, which is supposed to fight violent extremism, is that it made me be a bit more radical about the importance of free speech. . It’s not violent extremism, but it made me much more aware of this problem. It’s a bit ironic, I’m now more likely to talk about it than before, “he said. he declares.

“I think, as a Christian in particular, talking about the truth is really important, like Jesus said, ‘I am the way of truth and of life.’ “

Randall sued Trent College for discrimination, harassment, victimization and wrongful dismissal.

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