09/12/2022 United Kingdom (International Christian Concern) – When we ran into Rev. Dr. Bernard Randall in Washington, D.C., this summer, he was a respectable, unassuming, caring clergy member.
According to British authorities, however, Randall is an extremist, a terrorist who leads people into violence, and someone who should stay away from children.
Randall’s situation is a barometer of rising persecution issues in the West, albeit not the brutal suffering our brothers and sisters face in radical Muslim communities. But a growing chorus of criticism from progressive elites directed toward Christians. The latter, like Randall, holds a Christian worldview and biblical understanding of things like marriage and the sanctity of life.
As the chaplain of a private K-12 Christian school in England, Randall was grateful to share the love of Christ with students and their families. To disciple, counsel, and love them as an ordained minister of the Church of England. Everything was swimmingly until the Christian chaplain shared his thoughts from the pulpit.
School leaders introduced a controversial and all-encompassing LGBT curriculum. It was heavy-handed, with no room for discussion or interpretation. Randall wanted to talk with school officials about the elements that contradicted Scripture before the materials were used. Parents and staff also raised concerns.
Things deteriorated when Randall gave a sermon in the school’s chapel and acknowledged that people, including Christians, held different opinions about homosexuality and same-sex marriage. They should make up their minds about the subject and not just accept what they are being told. But it was important to “respect the people you disagree with. Loving your neighbors as yourself doesn’t mean you have to agree. But it does mean respect the sincerity of people you’re having a discussion with.”
Pretty innocuous. A tame, diplomatic sermon. So, he thought.
Randall was brought in and interrogated by administrators and asked why he was going against the school’s position on its LGBT curriculum.
“The following day, I was suspended and sent home, and I was disciplined and fired for gross misconduct,” said Randall at the International Religious Freedom Summit, where he met with International Christian Concern (ICC) President Jeff King and others. “This is the chaplain doing his job as a school chaplain. In the process of disciplinary action, they also reported me to child protective services as a risk to children.”
Shockingly, he was reported to police under Britain’s anti-terrorism bureau for being an extremist who leads people into violence.
“Presumably, they didn’t hear the sermon where I said no attacks or personal abuse,” noted Randall.
School trustees eventually returned Randall to his position, but with conditions that he submits sermons for approval in advance, does not say or do anything controversial, support ‘all beliefs’ on topics such as gender identity and homosexuality, and more. He had to support all beliefs but not the ones spelled out in Scripture that were near and dear to him.
In his country that values religious freedom and tolerance, Chaplain Randall was free to express his Christian beliefs on any subject if he kept them private. Tolerance is a cherished hallmark in the West – unless it pertains to Christian thought. In some circles, even in a private Christian school, Christianity is not welcome in the public square.
When the school closed because of COVID-19, officials told Randall they could no longer afford a chaplain. He was dismissed a second time.
“So, as a consequence, I am a Christian minister of a Christian school suing the school for anti-Christian discrimination,” Randall said with a laugh. “So, they are being sued for discrimination, harassment, unfair dismissal.”
The case goes to court in September, and ICC will monitor it closely along with others like it.
“As an ordained minister, my job is to speak out, and so many people don’t go public with these stories,” he said.
“But I have to. When I was ordained, I promised to speak out. So I am, and that’s what I am doing for all those other people who are persecuted in sometimes very little ways. It all adds up to such a big picture … there’s a bigger picture, a bigger struggle going on.”
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