A Christian chaplain at Trent College was fired and reported to the British government’s anti-terrorism program for delivering a sermon in which he told pupils that it is acceptable to question and disagree with far-left LGBT ideology being taught at the school.
Trent College, which claims to have a “Christian ethos”, invited the educational charity Educate and Celebrate to their campus in 2018, in order to make their school more LGBT-friendly.
Educate and Celebrate declared that their mission was to “embed gender, gender identity and sexual orientation into the fabric of your school”.
The head of the charity, Dr Elly Barnes, has openly stated that the purpose of Educate and Celebrate is to “completely smash heteronormativity, that’s what we want to do.”
The charity has been funded by the British taxpayer to the tune of £250,000, according to the Mail on Sunday.
The Reverend Dr Bernard Randall, who previously served as a Chaplain for Cambridge University before joining Trent College, performed a sermon defending traditional Christian beliefs following questions from a pupil on why pupils “are told we have to accept all of this LGBT stuff in a Christian school?”
In the June 2019 sermon entitled ‘Competing Ideologies‘ Dr Randall stressed the Christian ethics of understanding, grace, and kindness, but added that pupils should not feel as though they must accept teachings if they believe they run contrary to their faith.
“Now when ideologies compete, we should not descend into abuse, we should respect the beliefs of others, even where we disagree. Above all, we need to treat each other with respect, not personal attacks – that’s what loving your neighbour as yourself means,” Dr Randall said.
“You should no more be told you have to accept LGBT ideology than you should be told you must be in favour of Brexit or must be Muslim – to both of which I’m sure most of you would quite rightly object,” he added.
Following the sermon, Trent College’s “designated safeguarding lead”, Justine Rimington, reported the chaplain to Prevent, the British government’s anti-terrorism unit which seeks to halt the radicalisation of young people.
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Randall said: “I was terrified when I found out. I had visions of being investigated by MI5, of men coming to my house at dawn and knocking down the front door. What was I supposed to tell my family? It was crazy.”
“I had gone to such lengths in the sermon to stress we must respect one another no matter what, even people we disagree with,” he pointed out.
Derbyshire Police confirmed to the paper that the chaplain was indeed referred to the anti-terror program by the school, however they ultimately determined that Dr Randall did not represent a “counter-terrorism risk or risk of radicalisation” and confirmed that the complaint “did not meet the threshold for a Prevent referral”.
Aside from reporting the chaplain to Prevent, the school also informed him that his future sermons would be reviewed and censored prior to their delivery in order “‘to ensure that… requirements are met,” according to Randall.
The charity Christian Concern reported that he was told to refrain from discussing “any topic or express[ing] any opinion (in Chapel or more generally around School) that is likely to cause offence or distress to members of the school body.”
“You will not publicly express personal beliefs in ways which exploit our pupils’ vulnerability,” the school also allegedly told the chaplain.
Ultimately, he was dismissed from the school, prompting Randall to sue for harassment, victimisation, discrimination, and unfair dismissal. His case will be heard by the East Midlands Employment Tribunal on June 14th 2021.
“My career and life are in tatters,” he said.
Detailing the lengths to which Educate and Celebrate pushed leftist ideology on the school’s campus, Dr Randall alleged that teachers were told to collectively chant “Smash heteronormativity” during a training exercise led by Dr Elly Barnes.
“The chanting was frankly bizarre and I felt uncomfortable,’ he said, adding: “It was all very cleverly put together though – her rhetorical skills were impressive.”
Dr Elly Barnes, a former music teacher with ties to the Socialist Party of Britain, according to the MoS, founded and continues to run the Educate and Celebrate charity.
The charity boasts that it has worked with thousands of schools across the country in developing lesson plans, running workshops, and conducting training for teachers. The charity advocates for far-left positions on gender theory, such as banning the use of the words “boys” and “girls” in the classroom, and using so-called gender-neutral terms such as “they” and “zie”.
Educate and Celebrate ran into controversy in 2017 when it published a book that promoted the idea of using puberty blockers on children as young as 12-years-old. The charity is also alleged to have told teachers that it is acceptable to help children transition without the knowledge of their parents.
Andrea Williams, the chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is helping Dr Randall in his legal efforts, said: “Who are the extremists in this story? The partisan agency who teach young children that they can be born in the wrong body, or the school chaplain moderately presenting what the Christian church has taught about marriage, sex and gender for the past 2,000 years?”