Prison chaplain disciplined after quoting 'homophobic' Bible verses

Singer and chaplain Rev Barry Trayhorn is claiming constructive dismissal against HMP Littlehey.Twitter

A Christian minister and volunteer chaplain has been disciplined by the authorities at the prison where he worked for quoting 'homophobic' verses from the Bible.

Rev Barry Trayhorn, a Pentecostal minister and Country and Western singer, worked as a gardener at HMP Littlehey in Bedfordshire and began helping with chapel services in 2011.

In one service he read a passage from 1 Corinthians 6 which condemns various sins including homosexual behaviour.

Trayhorn told the Daily Mail that he wanted to explain to the congregation of inmates – many of whom have committed horrific sex abuse crimes – the Christian message of forgiveness.

However, prison authorities gave him a final warning after he was deemed to have breached equality laws.

Trayhorn is taking HMP Littlehey to an employment tribunal as he says he was forced out of his paid employment as a gardener because of the case.

He had resigned from the position but was sent the final warning while he was working out his notice. Prison governor David Taylor ruled that while he was not an "antagonistic individual", he was guilty of making "provocative" statements that breached the prison's code of conduct.

His case has been taken up by the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) and he is suing the prison for constructive dismissal.

CLC director Andrea Williams said: "'Mr Trayhorn's words were nothing that couldn't be found in a rural parish church on a Sunday morning and were an explanation of repentance and forgiveness.

"Is the Bible given to prisoners now to be censored to remove anything that people may find difficult to hear?"

The Ministry of Justice declined to comment.