I was sacked as a school chaplain for my Christian beliefs

Dec 5, 2023 by

by Bernard Randall, spiked:

When I delivered a sermon criticising wokeness, I was dismissed from my job and reported to Prevent.

‘Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having.’ So said Lord Justice Sedley in defence of the right to offend some 20-odd years ago. His words have done little to halt the erosion of free speech in the intervening decades, something I have learnt to my own personal cost.

In 2019, I lost my job as a school chaplain at Trent College, a private school in Derbyshire, and was secretly reported to Prevent, the UK’s counter-extremism programme, by the school’s headmaster. This was all because I twice delivered a sermon in 2019 entitled ‘Competing ideologies’. In the sermon, I expressed approval for the Church of England’s teaching on marriage, as well as a mainstream Christian understanding of the reality of biological sex and the non-reality of gender identity. Several pupils and staff members subsequently complained to the head.

After my sacking, I sued Trent College for discrimination, but lost the case at an employment tribunal earlier this year. My appeal is now in, and I’m confident of prevailing in the end.

As a direct result of the employment tribunal’s judgement, the school’s head referred me to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The TRA has not taken the case forward but a decision from the DBS is pending. The DBS could potentially bar me from ever working in a school or from any job working with under-18s. Clearly, challenging woke ideology can come at a severe cost.

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