Chaplain sacked for defending students’ right to challenge school’s LGBT policies

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A chaplain has been deemed a risk to children by his Church of England diocese for standing up for the right to challenge the school’s LGBT policies, it has been learned.

The Reverend Dr Bernard Randall, 49, is suing the Bishop of Derby and Trent College over alleged religious discrimination after he was sacked by the fee-paying school and reported to terrorism watchdogs.

He is seeking £120,000 in damages in an employment tribunal which starts on Monday.

The Oxford University graduate and former chaplain at Christ’s College Cambridge was appalled when his diocese launched its own investigation and conducted a risk assessment which concluded he posed a ‘moderate’ risk and could cause harm “anxiety” to the children if they came to him with “a sexuality or relationship problem”.

Reverend Dr Randall told The Telegraph he was seeking damages including for hurt feelings and lost income from the school and the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Rev Libby Lane. He will ask for his reinstatement to his position at the school.

“If it weren’t so bad, it would be amusing if the Church were accused of discriminating against one of its officers on the basis that that officer holds his teachings,” Dr. Randall said.

“It shouldn’t be possible, but it’s here and that’s why it’s for the long-term good of the Church to deal with these things.”

“Unpleasant and extraordinary affair”

Reverend Dr Randall was appointed in 2015 to provide pastoral care, share the Christian faith and lead services in the Trent School Chapel.

In a sermon, delivered in June 2019 after Derbyshire school pupils questioned the school’s new policy on sexual orientation diversity, the Reverend Dr Randall described the Church’s vision on marriage as being between a man and a woman. He was then sacked in August 2019.

The Diocese of Derby said in a statement: “Mr Randall was never an employee of the Diocese and the license he held resulted from his employment at Trent College. The Bishop of Derby is saddened that Mr Randall is wearing these grievances and tried to provide him with pastoral care.

“Given that he has taken legal action against the Diocese and the Bishop of Derby, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Andrea Williams, co-founder of Christian Concern and chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “The misuse of protection by the Church of England to suggest that Bernard poses a risk to children is one of the most unpleasant and reprehensible elements of this extraordinary Case.”

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