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Tribunal Hears Case of Dismissed Christian Lecturer’s Homosexuality Remarks

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Dr. Aaron Edwards, a Christian lecturer, was dismissed from Cliff College, a Methodist institution in Derbyshire, England, after posting his religious views on homosexuality on social media, leading to student complaints about feeling “unsafe.” An employment tribunal heard the details of the case, where Dr. Edwards, who had worked at the college for seven years, defended his stance and actions.

In February 2023, Dr. Edwards posted on social media: “Homosexuality is invading the Church. Evangelicals no longer see the severity of this b/c they’re busy apologising for their apparently barbaric homophobia, whether or not it’s true. This is a ‘Gospel issue’, by the way. If sin is no longer sin, we no longer need a Saviour.”

Another post followed, asserting, “The acceptance of homosexuality as ‘not sinful’ is an invasion upon the Church, doctrinally. This is not controversial. The acceptance is controversial. Most of the global Church would agree. It is not homophobic to declare homosexuality sinful.”

These posts triggered complaints from three female students, who claimed they felt “unsafe.” Despite this, Dr. Edwards maintained that his views were consistent with those he had shared in various academic and religious contexts, including blogs, podcasts, and sermons. He argued that the college was aware of his views long before the controversy arose.

Following an investigation, Dr. Edwards was accused of homophobia and bringing the college “into disrepute,” leading to his suspension and subsequent dismissal in March 2023. He is now pursuing a legal claim against Cliff College for harassment, discrimination, and unfair dismissal, seeking damages, compensation, and reinstatement.

During the tribunal, Dr. Edwards emphasized that his tweet was made amidst a significant debate within the Church of England regarding same-sex blessings. He expressed that he intended to uphold what he believes to be the truth in a society where such views are increasingly challenged. The tweet garnered significant attention but Dr. Edwards stood by his statements, asserting that they were academically defensible and aligned with his professional and religious convictions.

Dr. Edwards criticized the college for its lack of support during the backlash, highlighting that no students had previously expressed concerns about his views during his tenure. He described the college’s response on Twitter as a public betrayal without prior consultation.

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