A professor at a Bible college in the U.K. who was fired for tweeting that homosexuality "is invading the church," and who later found out college administrators also considered reporting him as a potential terrorist, has filed a lawsuit against his former employer.
As CBN's Faithwire reported in March, Dr. Aaron Edwards was ousted from his position at Cliff College in Derbyshire, England, after he posted the tweet in question on Feb. 19. College administrators fired Edwards for "bringing the college into disrepute" with his tweet addressing homosexuality.
The professor's counsel at the Christian Legal Centre accused a senior staff member of saying his client's words "could be extremely damaging" and "impact the college's core work" and "business plan," Fox News reported.
In his Feb. 19 tweet, Edwards wrote: "Homosexuality is invading the Church. Evangelicals no longer see the severity of this b/c they're busy apologizing 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."
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.
— Aaron Edwards (@aaron_p_edwards) February 19, 2023
In addition to his dismissal, the college revealed that, during a disciplinary hearing on March 8, administrators considered reporting Edwards to Prevent, an initiative monitoring allegations of terrorism in the U.K.
Edwards had been employed by the college for seven years without any formal disciplinary issues or warnings, according to the Christian Legal Centre.
Edwards believes as a result of his firing and the subsequent controversy that followed, he may not be able to work in higher education in the country again. He's suing Cliff College seeking damages for unfair dismissal, and compensation under the Equality Act 2010. A full employment tribunal hearing for his case is expected next year, the Christian Legal Centre said.
"Anyone concerned about academic freedom, Christian freedoms, and free speech should be deeply concerned by what has happened to me," Edwards said in a statement.
"The reaction to my tweet and the unjust treatment I have experienced by Cliff College and the Methodist Church in Britain completely illustrates the problem my tweet addressed," he said.
"The tweet was not defamatory; it was not an attack on any colleague or individual; it was not abusive; and it was not an extremist religious view. It was addressed to evangelicals as a point of doctrine, and it has been misunderstood by many who wish to cause personal and institutional trouble for those who express that view," Edwards explained.
"The impact on me and my family has been very significant. I have lost many friends as a result, and been slandered by people who do not know all of the details but who now see me as an unkind or hateful person," he concluded.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, who grew up in the Methodist Church, said she's sad to see the Methodist Church, and a once renowned Bible college lose their way by no longer upholding marriage as God defines it, or supporting those who express it.
"The key to the revival that sprung up through Methodism was its passion for the truth that is contained in the Bible. I caught that passion from faithful Methodist Sunday school teachers as a young girl and it is devastating to see the movement reflecting society's values rather than upholding true marriage," Williams said.
"The Bible is clear that homosexual practice is sinful. Dr Edwards is right that if sin is no longer sin, we no longer need Jesus as our Saviour," she noted.
"God's plan for sex is one man and one woman marriage. Every Christian should be ready to believe that God's pattern for our lives is the best way for individuals and society to flourish. Every church denomination – including Methodists and the Church of England – should confidently proclaim this vision, rather than mirror the zeitgeist," she continued.
"This story sets a dark precedent for the Methodist Church going forward and also serves as a warning to the Church of England," Williams added.
The governing body of the Methodist Church in Britain voted in June of 2021 to allow same-sex marriages in its churches. Since the vote, Methodist Church leaders and members have found themselves in the impossible position of being compelled to affirm same-sex 'marriage' while also continuing to teach the biblical belief that homosexual practice is sinful, according to the Christian Legal Centre.