Traditional Marriage Viewed as Safeguarding Risk
The Employment Tribunal case of the Revd Dr Bernard Randall continues to astound observers as it has been revealed that Derby Diocesan Safeguarding officers determined “his beliefs” were a safeguarding risk and that “the Church itself is a risk-factor.”
In other words, the Church’s position that marriage is between one man and one woman in a life-long relationship posed a risk to the students at Trent College.
The Bishop of Derby has not defended Randall who holds to and has taught nothing contrary to the official positions of the Church of England.
In a statement to Christian Concern, Randall expressed his thoughts on the matter.
He said, “It has been a hostile, traumatic and deeply stressful experience.
“I had always wanted to give the Diocese a chance to see sense and to sort this situation out properly internally. I have always been so loyal to the Church, but sadly that has not been reciprocated.
“I have been marked as a ‘risk to children’ by Church officials for expressing, moderately, the C of E’s own teaching on human sexuality in a C of E chapel.
“I do not believe delivering a sermon can be a safeguarding issue. I did not think anything I said was wrong. I certainly didn’t make personal attacks.
“I was told by the safeguarding team at Derby diocese that my sermon and my views, based on C of E teaching, could potentially cause someone anxiety, as if that is abuse.
“If the Church of England believes that its own teaching based on the Bible is a safeguarding risk then what does this say about what state it’s in?
“’Safeguarding’ has been weaponised against what they believe to be a difficult voice. The Bishop of Derby has shown moral cowardice in refusing to stand up for the goodness of the Church’s own teaching, and totally failed to support and vindicate me. Sadly, the C of E seems to care more about its reputation in the secular world than showing spiritual leadership – it has become managerialised.
“The woke activists who have captured much of the C of E cannot tolerate any opposition to their agenda, even moderate and considered opposition which encourages debate.
“This has been a huge test of my faith. What has happened has never made me think about not being a Christian, but it has made me profoundly question the C of E and my place in it.
“How can I think the C of E loves God when it is walking so far away from where it should be? Woke activists are eating away at the C of E’s guts. Instead of following Jesus, who calls us to radical change, it becomes just about ‘being nice’ to people.
“If you hack away at one section of teaching, where does it stop?
“Jesus did not promise an easy life. But the modern world says anything that gets in the way of the easy life is a risk.
“The human cost on me has been immense. The lows have been very low indeed, and I have no idea what the future holds.
“People ask me why I have not left the Church of England, and I can only say because it is a deep part of who I am.
“The behaviour of the school is wrong, but the Church should have known better and done better. How I have been treated by the C of E has hurt me more than anything.
“I have had no protection at all and have faced no choice but to pursue justice. The day comes when you have to stand up to bullies. I am appalled that it is the Church that has forced me to do so.
“I have never had any wish to leave the C of E, I believe it has turned its back on me.”
The Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, Andrea Williams said, “The Church of England’s wholesale misuse of safeguarding to suggest that Bernard is a risk to children is one of the most distasteful and objectionable elements of this extraordinary case.
“I would love to have seen the Church of England defend Bernard Randall after his moderate and thoughtful sermon upholding the Church’s teaching. I would love to have seen them say that he was a faithful minister doing the job he loved and serving the children at Trent College. If they had done that and helped him to keep his position we wouldn’t be where we are today.
“Instead, the Church of England capitulated to the pressure and washed their hands of him. Astonishingly, they cooperated with Trent College to ensure he was blacklisted from his vocation for expressing the C of E’s own teaching on marriage and human sexuality.
“Out of loyalty to the Church he has refused to expose how badly he has been treated by them until now. He has hoped against hope that they might come and help him.
“Bernard Randall is a good man who loves Jesus and biblical truth and is passionate about the hope that is found in the gospel for school communities.
“He is kind, intelligent and is not a safeguarding risk to anyone. It is the rise of LGBT ideology and activism within the Church of England that is the ‘risk’ to good and faithful clergy such as Bernard and to children who are badly failed by its misleading guidance on transgenderism in schools.
“It is untenable for the C of E to allow its safeguarding teams to say that the CofE and the Bible is a risk-factor to itself.
“This is a profoundly upsetting and perverse situation which the Derby diocese and senior figures within the Church of England have refused to confront and resolve.
“We continue to stand with Bernard as he prepares for the hearing against his sacking by Trent College this week. The outcome will have huge ramifications for Christian freedoms and freedom of speech in this country.”
The case is currently in the hands of the Employment Tribunal.