It’s not often that school chaplains are accused of terrorism.
Although, contrary to Jesus’s entreaty, some little children are well-nigh insufferable, chaplains still typically try to appeal to their good nature, if any. Mowing youngsters down with an assault rifle, poisoning their water supply or blowing up their bus isn’t normally associated with pastoral care of sinners.
That’s why I was quite taken aback when reading that the Rev Dr Bernard Randall of Trent College near Nottingham had been accused of a terrorist offence.
His case was secretly referred to the anti-terrorism Prevent programme, but the villain got off lightly. Having reviewed the case, police decided that Dr Randall posed “no counter terrorism risk, or risk of radicalisation”. However, better safe than sorry, said the school administrators. So they sacked him, just in case.
On balance, Dr Randall should count himself lucky. The way we are going, a few years down the road he might indeed have been charged with, rather than merely accused of, terrorism. For his crime is heinous: he delivered a sermon in which he told his pupils they have the right to question LGBT indoctrination (I’m omitting many initials of this acronym).
Dr Randall planted that seditious idea into the young minds by way of a counterbalance to the noble effort being undertaken by an outfit called Educate & Celebrate, engaged to “embed gender, gender identity and sexual orientation into the fabric” of the school.
Dr Randall’s terroristic sermon preached that we all “need to treat each other with respect”. This is consonant with the Christian imperative of loving the sinner, whatever we think of the sin.
However, that doesn’t mean we should meekly submit our brains to be scoured by any faddish dogma, especially one that contravenes Christian morality. “You should no more be told you have to accept LGBT ideology,” continued Dr Randall, “than you should be told you must be in favour of Brexit, or must be Muslim.”
Considering that Trent is a Christian school, one would think its chaplain wouldn’t overstep his brief simply by stating the basics of Christian teaching not only on homosexuality and other sexual aberrations but also, more important, on free will – as aided by the secular notion of free speech.
Yet the school explained to Dr Randall that his sermon was “inflammatory, divisive and harmful to LGBT pupils”. Worse than that – according to what that Christian establishment then told police, the sermon was tantamount to an act of terrorism.
To the school’s credit, it wasn’t only the pupils but also the teachers that were being indoctrinated. The educators were ordered to spare the brittle sensibilities of transsexual pupils by abandoning offensive terms like ‘boys’ and ‘girls’.
Also, in an eerie reminder of Red China’s re-education sessions, the teachers had to attend training sessions, during which they were to chant “Smash heteronormativity!”. At least, they weren’t ordered to smash the dog’s heads of binary holdouts, which was a welcome improvement over the shrieks of the Red Guards. This provided a useful reminder that it’s not just decency and sanity that fall victim to woke fascism, but also the much-suffering English language.
Dr Randall’s defenders point out that his sermon was moderate and balanced. All he did was remind the pupils that they had the right – nay obligation – to think for themselves.
In fact, my own quibble is that the sermon was too moderate and balanced. I would have couched the same message in much stronger terms, in which case the terrorism charge would have probably stuck.
But judge for yourself – here is what Dr Randall preached:
“There are some aspects of the Educate and Celebrate programme which are simply factual – there are same-sex attracted people in our society, there are people who experience gender dysphoria, and so on.
“There are some areas where the two sets of values overlap – no one should be discriminated against simply for who he or she is: That’s a Christian value, based in loving our neighbours as ourselves.
“All these things should be accepted straightforwardly by all of us, and it’s right that equalities law reflects that.
“But there are areas where the two sets of ideas are in conflict, and in these areas you do not have to accept the ideas and ideologies of LGBT activists. Indeed, since Trent exists ‘to educate boys and girls according to the Protestant and Evangelical principles of the Church of England’, anyone who tells you that you must accept contrary principles is jeopardizing the school’s charitable status, and therefore its very existence.”
And so on, all in the same, seemingly moderate, vein. Dr Randall clearly knows his Christianity better than he understands modernity.
During his ill-fated 1964 presidential campaign, Barry Goldwater uttered a statement put into his mouth by his speechwriter, the philosopher Harry Jaffa: “Extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
Our brain-washers could adopt a slight paraphrase of that spiffy adage: extremism in the defence of wokery is no vice, but even moderation in the pursuit of sanity definitely is.
Dr Randall’s incendiary sermon indeed constitutes terrorism to today’s ‘liberals’, and it’s worse than simply blowing up a train or driving an HGV through a crowd of bystanders. To a totalitarian ideology, dissent, no matter how soft-spoken, is much worse than any common-or-garden mass murder.
People don’t matter; only the ideology does. And Dr Randall’s life and career, which he says are “in tatters”, are simply fodder providing Leviathan’s daily sustenance.
A society where something like that could happen is beyond decadent and even degenerate. It’s deeply, and one fears irreversibly, evil… sorry, slip of the tongue. I meant ‘progressive’.