A Christian prison worker who was banned from attending prison chapel services because he cited a Bible verse that calls out the sin of homosexuality lost his appeal in court.
Pentecostal minister Barry Trayhorn, who worked at a prison for male sex offenders near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, England, and also volunteered in the prison’s chapel since 2011, was barred from attending chapel services after he quoted the words of 1 Corinthians 6:9 when he spoke during a chapel service in May 2014.
According to Christian Legal Centre, the law group that represents Trayhorn in the tribunal, Trayhorn referenced that verse while talking about how God provides forgiveness for those who repent.
The verse states: “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
However, Trayhorn’s reference of that verse, especially the part about homosexuality, didn’t sit well with some in the room. A complaint was filed four days later about Trayhorn’s inclusion of homosexuals and argued that he should not have mentioned that part of the verse.
According to the law group, Trayhorn was immediately barred from helping with chapel services and was told that his comments were “homophobic” and violated prison policy. He was also told that there would be a disciplinary hearing.
Trayhorn has asserted that he felt forced to resign from his position as the prison’s gardner because of the response to his remarks during the chapel service.
“Mr. Trayhorn is convinced that his involvement in chapel services provoked a hostile response from prison officials, leading to a series of issues being raised with him,” Christian Legal Centre reported.
Trayhorn has maintained that he is “being punished simply for daring to say what the Bible says.”
In March 2016, Trayhorn’s case was brought before an employment tribunal, which ruled that Trayhorn’s religious freedom rights were not violated “because of the way his message was received.”
Christian Legal Centre explained that the tribunal deemed Trayhorn’s reference of the Bible to be “insensitive” and stated that he “failed to have regard for the special nature of the congregation in the prison.”
After appealing the tribunal’s ruling last November, Trayhorn’s appeal received a decision last Wednesday from the High Court of England and Wales.
Justice Elizabeth Slade upheld the tribunal’s ruling, stating that quoting such a verse from the Bible could “legitimise… mistreatment,” a Christian Legal Centre press release explains.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post – Samuel Smith