Two Christian groups have slammed last week’s court ruling which found a church guilty of discrimination for sacking a gay music lecturer.
On Thursday, the Moreleta Park NG Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church) was ordered to apologise and pay damages to Johan Strydom after firing him from its arts academy because of his sexuality.
In response, the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) said it was disappointed by the ruling and that a church should have the right to hire or fire people based on its religious convictions.
The Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, MP and President of the ACDP, said in a statement that “the right to equality should not trump the right to religious freedom and the right to freedom of association.”
“We trust that the Moreleta Park DRC will appeal the ruling because of the far-reaching implications for other churches in the country,” said Meshoe. “This particularly so in view of the statement by the Editor of the gay newspaper, ‘Exit’ who said that they ‘regarded the judgment as a victory for gay rights which would open the door for many others in similar situations’.”
The ACDP concluded the statement by commending the Moreleta Park NG Kerk “for their commitment to biblical teaching and for loving the sinner, but not the sin.”
The Apostolic Faith Mission Church also rejected the court’s ruling, with its president, Dr Isak Burger, describing it as a serious threat to religious freedom.