Is the Bible ‘hate speech’?

3 May 2017

Andrea Williams comments on the recent hearing of Barry Trayhorn at the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Is the Bible ‘hate speech’? Of course not, but of late, this is a thought that has crossed my mind.

If the current drift in the law is maintained the Bible will soon be declared a ‘hate book’ that discriminates against vulnerable classes of people. The words of the Bible are being rejected in our nation.

Such a thought would have been inconceivable 20 years ago. The Bible used to be respected as the book that set the moral and legal standards of our society. Go back just over 60 years to Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation Oath; the Bible is called “the most valuable thing that this world affords…Here is Wisdom; This is the royal Law; these are the lively Oracles of God”.

Christians were seen as people of honour; moral integrity and care.

This has changed.

A recent case of ours has exposed the irrational, illiberal and anti-Christian society in which we now live.

Barry Trayhorn is an ordained Pentecostal Minister who worked in the gardens at HMP Littlehey, a prison for sex offenders. He loves the Lord and through him many prisoners have come to know Jesus Christ. He was a regular volunteer at the Chapel service and the prison chaplain relied on him to cover many of the services.

During one such service in the Prison Chapel he read from 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 which says:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. 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.”

After saying these words, he said to the congregation of prisoners:

“You may want to complain about this, but this is the word of God. God loves you and wants to forgive you”

A prisoner complained against Rev Trayhorn, saying that those words from the bible violated the Prison’s Equality Policies.

There are a number of sex offenders at HMP Littlehey: heterosexual and homosexual sex criminals, many of which have been imprisoned for violent rape and sexual assault on adults and minors. One such prisoner complained. The Prison began disciplinary proceedings against Rev Trayhorn for “homophobic statements”. One sin only was singled out – what about drunkenness or theft?

The prison chaplain, instead of testifying for his friend Barry testified in writing against him, saying that he should have been more sensitive regarding his choice of scripture.

On 6 November 2014, the Prison Governor held:

“On Saturday 31 May 2014 during a Pentecostal Service whilst you were leading worship as a Chaplaincy volunteer you made homophobic statements …
Whilst it is not contested that you quoted a passage from the Bible, the passage was provocative especially when you consider the environment in which you delivered such message…”

So another case in the history of the Christian Legal Centre commences.

You couldn’t make it up; most of our cases would not have been believed 20 years ago. During the case last week, the judge, The Honourable Mrs Justice Slade DBE, asked a rhetorical question – the prison has a duty of care to the prisoners; they are ‘vulnerable class’ and shouldn’t their vulnerability be taken into account when reading such verses from the bible? She mused that it may be alright for this verse to be read in St Paul’s Cathedral but not in Littlehey Prison where there are vulnerable prisoners.

And so we have a Pentecostal Minister disciplined for quoting from the Bible during a chapel service! To add to our long list of cases….


Because the liberal elite do not understand the Bible; they don’t know how to read it. Counsel for the prison said that this verse from the bible poured moral opprobrium on the homosexual. What about the thief and the drunk? And what about the hope and forgiveness that was being offered?

Both he and the judge spoke of how and where the bible was being quoted from; how it would be received; and whether it would offend.

And so they make the bible a ‘hate book’. The bible challenges sinful lifestyles and it challenges sinful people. The passage in 1 Corinthians singles out fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, the covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners.

Of course, if they make the Bible a hate book, what of the people who believe in hate?

Christians will be the sole religious group singled out as transmitters of hate; other faiths will be respected.

Christians are being barred from public office; Social Workers (see Felix Ngole), a child care teacher (see Sarah Mbuyi); a Magistrate (see Richard Page) and more.

There would be little hope for such people in modern Britain without the Christian Legal Centre.

We know, at Christian Concern, where this will go and we have a window of opportunity to preserve our once great nation. Our time is short.

Once again, I call on you to join with us to stand with us.

Find out more about Barry Trayhorn
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