Chaplain reported as terrorist for questioning LGBTQ activists digs in for legal battle
Bernard Randall is appealing an employment tribunal ruling against him after he sued his former employer for allegedly firing him over a sermon that questioned LGBTQ activists.
A school chaplain in the United Kingdom who claims he was left unemployable after he was fired and reported as a terrorist for questioning LGBTQ activists is set to appeal a legal ruling against him.
Rev. Dr. Bernard Randall, an ordained Church of England minister, sued his former employer Trent College in Derbyshire, England, for discrimination, harassment, victimization and unfair dismissal, according to a statement from his legal counsel at the London-based Christian Legal Centre.
Randall, a former chaplain at Christ's College Cambridge who served five years as chaplain at Trent College, explained to Fox News Digital last September that he was fired from the school because of a 2019 sermon that told students they are entitled to make up their own minds about the claims of LGBTQ identity politics.
After a legal hearing at East Midlands Employment Tribunal last September, Employment Judge Victoria Butler handed down a ruling against Randall last week that argued "the duty to safeguard pupils from the risk of harm and the requirement to comply with the Independent Schools Standards Regulator outweigh the Claimant’s right to express his beliefs in the manner he did in a school environment."
"I gave a sermon in chapel saying you don't have to accept anybody's ideology, you make up your own mind," Randall told Fox News Digital of his sermon, which remains available online. "On certain issues, LGBT activists and Christians are in full agreement: there should be no discrimination, no one should be attacked personally or whatever. But there are issues where there's disagreement."
During his sermon, Randall explained the Church of England's traditional teachings on marriage, sexuality and gender to his young students, all of whom ranged from 11 to 17 years old. He emphasized that they were not obligated to accept the assertions made by LGBTQ activists and that they were entitled under English law to hold their own beliefs on such topics.
Randall claimed his sermon came after one of his pupils asked him to speak in chapel about why they "have to accept" LGBTQ ideology at a Christian school.
Trent College, which is affiliated with the Church of England, had previously brought in Elly Barnes, CEO and founder of the LGBTQ education charity Educate and Celebrate, to train school staff. She reportedly urged staff to chant "smash heteronormativity" during a training session, which Randall warned went against the school's Protestant evangelical ethos.
Randall said school leadership took exception to his sermon and "dragged" him in for "interrogation" before suspending and ultimately firing him. He said the school's designated safeguarding lead also reported him to Prevent, which polices allegations of terrorism in the U.K., though the watchdog ultimately determined he did not pose a terrorist threat.
Randall's lawyers claim he was also "blacklisted" by the Bishop of Derby, the Rt. Rev. Libby Lane, to work as a minister and was labeled a "moderate risk to children" following his dismissal from Trent College.
While lawyers for the bishop argued that Randall was never employed by the diocese and that his claims do not fall under the purview of an employment tribunal, Randall's lawyers claim Lane's actions have made him unemployable as a priest and should be heard in that forum.
Randall maintains that the diocese has yet to clarify the nature of the accusations leveled against him and that no evidence has been presented to substantiate any claims of wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct toward anyone, his lawyers noted.
"I’m being charged with wrongthink," Randall said in a statement before the preliminary hearing that began Thursday. "There is no allegation that my behavior toward any person has ever fallen below proper standards. Only my thinking is being checked. Even the Spanish Inquisition told people what the charges were."
Randall's legal battle comes as the global Anglican Communion is facing deep divisions over sexuality and gender. Anglican leaders in the global south last week rejected the leadership of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in a scathing letter after the Church of England voted earlier this month to offer blessings for same-sex couples.