A prison chaplain is claiming that he was essentially punished by officials for publicly sharing Bible verses opposed to homosexuality, and that he was forced to resign as a result of an uncomfortable work environment that followed.
The Rev. Barry Trayhorn began volunteering at the chapel inside HM Prison Littlehey in Cambridgeshire, England, back in 2011, where he had also worked as a paid gardener, Christian Today reported.
Trayhorn, 51, claims that he was essentially forced out of his paid gardening position after sharing Bible verses about Christian ethics that were deemed to be homophobic by prison personnel; now, he's challenging the prison system in an employment tribunal.
"I spoke from the word of God, saying homosexuality's a sin ... as much as other sins like adultery," Trayhorn told the Christian Legal Centre. "And the prison service didn't like it."
See Trayhorn discuss his story below:
The debate touched off, in part, after Trayhorn, who was reportedly speaking to a group comprised of at least a few sex offenders, read from 1 Corinthians 6, which lists a variety of biblical sins, including homosexuality. Verses 9-11 read:
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
The minister said that he was simply trying to educate the prisoners about forgiveness, but after sharing these verses, he was reportedly told that he had violated equality laws.
"I was very angry," Trayhorn told the Daily Mail. "All I was doing was preaching the Bible and repeating the same message of repentance that was heard in many services."
The details surrounding the case are somewhat murky, but Trayhorn was reportedly told in April of last year that he had not filled out anti-terrorist paperwork that would have allowed him to officially work as a chaplain and that he must stop.
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That said, he claims that the request for him to halt his religious involvement might have stemmed from a complaint over a statement that he made about gay marriage, though that statement is unclear and appears separate from the 1 Corinthians mention, the Daily Mail reported.
It was during a service in May that he reportedly uttered the Bible verses from 1 Corinthians; he said that he was not formally preaching at the time, but the prison began looking into the matter, and Trayhorn quickly became uncomfortable.
The minister resigned just days before a disciplinary hearing was set to unfold. Now, he's suing for compensation, with a Bedford Employment Tribunal hearing set to begin on Monday and extend through November 10.
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