Cambridgeshire

Homophobia row preacher 'forced' to quit HMP Littlehey

Rev Barry Trayhorn and HMP Littlehey Image copyright South Beds News Agency/Google
Image caption Rev Barry Trayhorn read from scripture at HMP Littlehey which said homosexuals "will not inherit the Kingdom of God"

A prison minister felt "compelled" to resign after a row about "homophobic" Bible verses which he read from during services for inmates.

Reverend Barry Trayhorn told an employment tribunal he had read the verses at HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire in 2014.

He was told complaints were made by gay prisoners and alleges he was unfairly dismissed.

His case against the secretary of state for justice continues.

Mr Trayhorn, 51, an ordained Pentecostal Christian minister from Sandy in Bedfordshire, had been working as a gardening supervisor at the prison at Perry near St Neots.

He had been invited to lead the worship at services once a week from 2012.

'Homophobic statement'

He told the tribunal in Bedford, he "often focused on Christian teachings about sin and repentance".

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Mr Trayhorn said he did "not believe it is right to alter the Christian faith so as to tailor it to any modern view of sexual ethics"

He confirmed the Bible passage in question was 1 Corinthians Chapter 6 Verses 9-11 which includes the lines "neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor coveters, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God" and he read it on 31 May 2014.

Mr Trayhorn said he heard later that a gay prisoner had complained or was upset and there was "some sort of campaign" to remove him from chapel services.

"But I fear and do not believe it is right to alter the Christian faith so as to tailor it to any modern view of sexual ethics," he told the hearing.

He said he was told he could no longer volunteer at chapel services, complaints were then also made about his gardening work and he was told to attend a disciplinary hearing in a letter which said he had made a "homophobic statement".

He was signed off work in August 2014 with stress and resigned in November saying he had been harassed because of his Christian faith and it was impossible for him to return to work.

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