Final arguments were heard yesterday in the case of fired music lecturer Johan Strydom versus the Moreleta Park NG Kerk.

Strydom, who now lives in Jeffreys Bay, was fired from the church’s Arts Academy in July 2005 after an anonymous caller told the church that he was gay.

He is suing the church to the tune of R200 000 for damages related to loss of income and dignity in terms of the Promotion of Equity and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.

He also claims that his firing was unconstitutional and is further demanding an “unconditional” apology.

Strydom’s Advocate, Ronel Tolmay, asked the judge to make his ruling based not on a moral position on homosexuality but rather to consider the law and the constitution.

“The church, in the past, justified apartheid on biblical grounds and had to ask forgiveness about it. The mere fact that the general synod has already asked for forgiveness from homosexuals is indicative that this debate is walking the same road as apartheid,” she told the court.

Counsel for the church, Johan Louw, argued that it had acted reasonably and that Strydom knew that it would not accept an active homosexual in his position when he applied for the job. He claimed that he was now seeking publicity and said that church had to act on the basis of its convictions.

Louw also re-iterated the church’s claim that it was prepared to work towards keeping Strydom in his job if he had been prepared to change his behaviour and become celibate.

Judge Dion Basson has reserved judgement in the case.

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