Chaplain accused of quoting 'homophobic' Bible verses appeals case

Barry Trayhorn appears in a screen capture of a video from Christian Concern. | YouTube/Christian Concern

A prison chaplain who resigned after he was accused of quoting "homophobic" Bible verses has been given a chance to appeal his unfair dismissal case.

According to Premier, Rev. Barry Trayhorn worked at HMP Littlehey in Bedfordshire as a gardener and volunteered to lead the services in the prison chapel.

He said that officials "bombarded" him with accusations of bad behavior after he quoted 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 which condemned certain behaviors such as adultery, homosexuality, idolatry, greed and drunkenness.

Christian Concern reported in March that Trayhorn was barred from participating in future chapel services four days after he quoted the said verses. He resigned from his job as a gardener in November 2014 after experiencing harassment for his Christian faith. He filed an unfair dismissal claim in November 2015 but it was rejected by a tribunal last March.

The original ruling stated that Trayhorn spoke in an "insensitive" way which "failed to have regard for the special nature of the congregation in the prison."

In response to the ruling, the chaplain said, "The Tribunal's reasoning was based on the effect that my message, which included the bible verses, had on those who heard them. Yet those who attend chapel do so voluntarily to worship God and to learn what the Bible has to say."

He argued that the congregation knew that he will preach on the Bible and should have taken that into consideration.

The chaplain expressed his concern that the prisoners will no longer be able to listen to sermons from the Bible. He also warned about the growing political correctness that might show up in the pulpits.

Trayhorn, with the help of Christian Legal Centre, is now taking the case to an Employment Tribunal Appeal.

Christian Legal Centre chief executive Andrea Williams said: "It is vital that we stand with Barry and challenge the way that he has been treated. If gospel truth cannot be spoken in a voluntary Christian service, where will we encounter such censorship next?"