(CP) An Anglican chaplain who was fired and reported to an anti-terrorism program for preaching Christian doctrine on sexual ethics during a chapel service is warning about the totalitarian ideologies actively at work in the West.
At a breakout session at the International Religious Freedom Summit, a panel on "polite persecution" — a phrase coined by Pope Francis — assembled by The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, described how secular abortion and gender activists are gutting cherished freedoms in countries that have historically championed religious liberty. Often, religious persecution is state-sanctioned.
This so-called polite kind of hostility is often experienced by practitioners of faiths that adhere to more traditional views about human life, marriage, and the material reality of biological sex.
In his remarks, the Rev. Bernard Randall recounted how just over three years ago, he, as an ordained chaplain, was reported to authorities and investigated as part of a government anti-terrorism probe for espousing Christian sexual ethics during a chapel service in a Church of England school.
The school had invited LGBT activist Elly Barnes, founder of Educate & Celebrate, an LGBT education charity, to a staff training session to introduce a new curriculum under the guise of anti-bullying education, he said, noting that no one objects to protecting students from bullying.
Yet, he soon found out that there were aspects of this training that were not about bullying but the indoctrination of LGBT ideology. It went so far that at one point the trainers had the staff chanting about the need to "smash heteronormativity."
"That's something well beyond not bullying people," Randall said.
The LGBT group further taught staff that there are nine characteristics that are protected under British law, among them "gender" and "gender identity." But that is not true, Randall stressed, noting that the trans movement has coerced the public into believing such claims.
Since the aim of the Educate & Celebrate curriculum material is to "embed gender, gender identity and sexual orientation into the fabric of your organization," students asked Randall to address the issue at a chapel service.
After doing so, he was summarily dismissed from school for gross misconduct and reported to the UK government's counter-terrorism programme, Prevent, after he told students aged 11 to 17 that they were not compelled to "accept an ideology they disagree with." He also told the students that they could make up their own minds about gender identity and sexuality.
Randall added that students could either choose to adopt the thinking of LGBT activists or adhere to Christian sexual ethics — that marriage is only between a man and woman and that sex is confined to that context. Most importantly, he advised students to show respect for those who disagree.
"I was summoned into what I can only describe as an interrogation by the senior leadership," he said. "I was suspended. And I was fired for gross misconduct for doing my job as per the job description."
Randall was also reported to Child Protective Services.
"I'd like to think that I'm a reasonably moderate sort of chap," he said, reiterating how he left the question of believing the claims of LGBT activists open-ended in his chapel remarks.
But his firing and being reported to the government anti-terrorism task force was a revealing moment showing how far the school's administration had gone to the other extreme.
He is now suing the school for religious discrimination but noted how astonishing it is that he has to take legal action against a Church of England institution, for proclaiming Christian beliefs in a sermon during a chapel service. The Christian Legal Centre has since been representing him.
Speaking of the relevance of the international religious freedom summit, the Anglican chaplain stressed that freedom of religion includes freedom from religion. The Marxist progressive ideology at work functions much like a religion and people should be free from that if they wish to be.
"If Western countries cannot protect their own religious groups from discrimination there is absolutely no reason that the other countries at which we might point the finger" cannot point to the West and say, "You're not taking it seriously, so why should we?" he said.
When asked by The Christian Post why gender ideologues won't even allow a disagreement, Randall pointed to its philosophical roots.
"It seems to me that if you look at the Marxist-type origins of this sort of thing, what's going on is that they are objecting to what they regard as religion — the opiate of the masses — this sort of false consciousness, and they just have to educate us into true consciousness," he said.
"But anybody who says 'Oh no, I'm quite happy with my religious ideas, I'm quite happy with this consciousness I've got already' is a real threat to the whole set of concepts. They are a threat to the idea that what everybody believes is false and the Marxists will take us to this new wonderful, enlightened utopia."
"And they cannot tolerate that kind of threat. It's a very totalitarian system," he added.
What Randall experienced three years ago in England is what he and others have called "soft totalitarianism," whereas what people endure in China is "hard totalitarianism."
"But the difference between them is not as much as we might like to think," he stressed.