South African church musician dismissed for being gay
A church organist in South Africa is suing his employers after being dismissed due to his sexuality.
Johan Strydom, 31, from Tshwane, South Africa, is suing the Reformed Church Moreletapark for 205, 000 South African Rand (£13,880) for his loss of income and violation of dignity.
Mr. Strydom was fired from his post as a music lecturer at the church’s Arts Academy, which he claims is because he is gay.
In July 2005 Mr. Strydom was sent an email from his employers saying that his services were no longer required.
The email also said that the church’s views on homosexuality are non-negotiable.
According to Queerty.com, the church had received an anonymous telephone call from a man who claimed that Mr. Strydom was having a homosexual relationship.
The church leaders then summoned Mr. Strydom to a meeting to discuss his personal life.
Mr. Strydom, who was not a member of the Reformed Church, refused to attend this meeting as he did not feel it was appropriate.
He told the courts that his dismissal led to him being diagnosed with depression, which in turn put an end to his relationship with his partner of eight years, SABCNews.com reported.
The church’s Arts Academy has since closed.
Academy spokespeople reiterated at the trial that Mr. Strydom, as someone in a leadership position, was required to ‘set a good example’ of the values of the Reformed Church.
The trial continues.