Reverend sues after being sacked over anti-LGBTQ+ view that marriage is between a man and a woman

A pastor has sued a college and church for “hurt feelings and lost earnings” after he was deemed a risk to children and fired for telling them, in a sermon, that marriage was between a man and woman.

The sermon, which was delivered in June 2019, saw students at Trent College in Long Eaton question its new policy on sexual orientation diversity. In response, reverend Dr Bernard Randall had outlined the church’s view of marriage as being between a man and woman, reported The Telegraph. 

Dr Randall was subsequently sacked in August 2019. 

The 49-year-old is suing the Bishop of Derby and Trent College over alleged religious discrimination following being sacked by the fee-paying school and reported to terrorist watchdogs.

He is claiming £120,000 in damages at an employment tribunal which begins on Monday.

Dr Randall, who is a University of Oxford graduate and former chaplain of Christ’s College Cambridge, was dismayed when his diocese launched its own investigation and conducted a risk assessment. It concluded he posed a “moderate” risk and might cause children “anxiety” if they came to him with “a sexuality or relationship issue”. 

The 49-year-old told The Telegraph he was seeking the damages for hurt feelings and lost earnings from the school and the Bishop of Derby, reverend Libby Lane. 

He will also ask for reinstatement to his post at the school, he told The Telegraph. “If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny that the church is being alleged to have discriminated against one of its officers on the basis that that officer holds its teachings.

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

Libby Lane smiling

Reverend Libby Lane. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Bernard Randall was appointed in 2015 to provide pastoral care, share the Christian faith and lead services in Trent School’s chapel. 

The diocese of Derby said: “Mr Randall has never been an employee of the diocese and the licence he held was as a result of his employment by Trent College. 

“The Bishop of Derby is saddened that Mr Randall is bringing these grievances and has tried to ensure pastoral care for him.

“Given that he has started legal processes 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, told The Telegraph: “The Church of England’s wholesale misuse of safeguarding to suggest that Bernard is a risk to children is one of them most distasteful and objectionable elements of this extraordinary case.”

PinkNews has contacted the diocese of Derby, Trent College and Andrea Williams for further comment. 

Recently PinkNews reported on a group of parents losing their legal bid to stop a curriculum covering gender identity and sex education being taught at Welsh schools.

A high court judge refused the application, saying the applicant did not show any evidence of children being harmed by the classes.