Allow independent thought in independent schools
The Reverend Doctor Bernard Randall, a chaplain at Trent College, was referred to the UK’s anti-terrorism unit, Prevent, by the school and later dismissed from his position after preaching a sermon telling pupils they are allowed to question LGBT ideology.
Dr Randall’s sermon did not promote hatred, prejudice or encourage violence; it simply laid out the Christian position on sexual relationships and gender ideology and told pupils that it was legitimate to disagree with policies that seek to erase the biological difference between male and female.
Dr Randall explicitly condemned prejudice of all kinds but pointed out that Christians enjoy equal protection under the Equalities Act. He noted that students should feel free to reject the prevailing zeitgeist without fear. He specifically told pupils that “if you are at ease with this LGBT stuff, you’re entitled to keep those ideas; if you are not comfortable with it for the various, especially religious reasons, you should not feel required to change”.
It is outrageous that as a result of reminding children of traditional Christian teaching, Dr Randall (who is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre) should be deemed a potential terrorist threat and lose his job, even more so when Trent College advertises itself as having a Christian ethos.
Many parents decide to educate their children privately, often at high personal cost, hoping that the independent sector will be free from much of the secular ideology that pervades local authority schools. Dr Randall’s sermon needs to be seen in the content of Trent College’s decision to introduce the controversial ‘Educate and Celebrate’ programme, which has been condemned by many secular organisations, including Transgender Trend.
Far from causing harm to children, Dr Randall was seeking to protect children whom he had pastoral responsibility for from a harmful ideology that encourages children to believe that biological sex can be freely chosen and, in some cases, to reject their bodies.
Trent College has not been the only independent school to censor teachers for exposing children to views against the current zeitgeist. Eton College also sacked a teacher for expounding views against certain strands of feminist thought.
Both Trent College and Eton College are members of the prestigious Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference. We call on them to issue a clear statement in support of freedom of speech in all of their schools and allow children to be exposed to a range of views, which is the only way to develop critical thinking. Sign today.
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Protect independent thought in your schools