‘My world fell apart’, says school chaplain referred to anti-terrorism programme after LGBT sermon

Jun 8, 2021 by

by Kelly Valencia, Premier:

A school chaplain who was reported to an anti-terrorism programme for delivering a sermon which questioned the school’s LGBT policies, has told Premier his world “fell apart” when he realised that he was seen as a terrorist.

Rev Dr Bernard Randall was suspended from Trent College, a Church of England school, in 2019 after he preached that it was acceptable for students to hold traditional views on marriage, sex and gender identity.

The chaplain said he was asked by a student to talk about LGBT+ issues, following the adoption of teaching material from ‘Educate and Celebrate’, which aims to “equip you and your communities with the knowledge, skills and confidence to embed gender, gender identity and sexual orientation into the fabric of your organisation.”

The school subsequently took disciplinary action after Rev Randall shared the sermon with his students. It was while going through the documentation related to the disciplinary action that Rev Randall discovered that he had also been referred to Prevent, an anti-terrorism programme designed to stop radicalisation in the UK.

“It’s not as if they sat me down and said, “This is what we feel we have to do”. I found that, as it were, by accident and all of a sudden, my world falls apart because I’m being accused of being a terrorist, which is just about the worst thing you can accuse anybody of in our society on the basis of I knew not what. It was just extraordinary,” Rev Randall said.

The police later ruled that Rev Dr Randall was not a “’counter-terrorism risk” nor “risk of radicalisation’. Although it has been two years since the process started, the chaplain says that being thought of as a terrorist “is still a wound”.

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