THE despicable, anti-semitic, anti-Black, Nazi-loving Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa – principle architect and stout defender of racial segregation – preached for decades that the separation of the races had been ordained by God.
An out-and-out fascist organisation, it claimed to have found ample justification in the Bible for supporting the country’s vile, White supremacist apartheid system – and closed the doors of its White churches to all non-Whites.
A classic joke – still doing the rounds – about the old South Africa’s insane colour bar concerns a DRC dominee (minister) who enters his church one morning and finds a black man on his knees at the altar.
Minister: Hey boy, what the hell are you doing in my church?
African man: Just, cleaning, baas.
Minister: Oh, ok kaffir – but I am warning you that I ever catch you praying in here I will beat seven kinds of shit out of you!
Today, my jaw dropped when I learned that a genuine minister from the DRC – or Much-Deformed Church as those of us who knew and passionately loathed the institution dubbed it – now states that the Bible never mentioned apartheid – an astonishing admission that the DRC had LIED to its congregations right up to the point when a democratic, multi-racial government came into being in 1994.
The Bible does, however, mention homosexuality, and that’s why Dirkie van der Spuy, of the DRC in Moreleta Park, Pretoria, found himself in the city’s High Court this week trying to explain why his church had given its music teacher, Johan Strydom, 31, the boot.
According to Pretoria News, Strydom has launched a damages claim against the church, claiming about R150 000 (Â£10,000) in damages for “the impairment of his dignity”, as well as a further R50 000 Â£3,500) for loss of income.
His case comes within weeks of a gay church employee in the UK, Stephen Price, winning damages for discrimination.
During often stormy proceedings, the court heard that the Pretoria Church wanted their gay music teacher to “free himself” from his “sin” – either by changing his ways or living a celibate life without impure thoughts about men.
In January 2005, Strydom entered into an oral agreement with the church to give music lessons to young students at the congregation’s music academy.
He worked happily for a couple of months and was described by his supervisor, Janie de Bruin, as a being a first class music teacher.
But in July of that year, word reached the church via an “anonymous call” that Strydom was in a homosexual relationship. He has been with his partner for eight years.
The council of the congregation demanded to speak to him about his sexuality, but Strydom refused. He maintained that it was a matter between him and God and that it had nothing to do with his work. He said he was not even a member of the Moreleta Park congregation, but merely in their employ.
Van der Spuy told Judge Dion Basson that Strydom knew how they felt on the gay issue and that it had been Strydom’s duty to divulge the fact that he was a homosexual.
Van der Spuy then trotted out some time-worn old Christian bilge about “loving the sinner, but hating the sin”, and said the church wanted Strydom to undergo “therapy”.
It is an act of love to reach out to such a person. God in fact loves sinners but he speaks to them through the Bible to realise their wrongs.
Van der Spuy said no outside opinions mattered, as God had clearly pronounced on the subject of gayness in the Bible.
When confronted with the fact that the DRC had at one time justified apartheid, but had changed its stance in this regard and asked for forgiveness, he said this may be so, but apartheid was not mentioned in the Bible, while homosexuality was clearly pronounced on.
The DRC now appears to have reinvented itself – but needs to go that extra mile to rid itself of its deeply-ingrained homophobia.
NOTE: I have one thing to be grateful to the DRC for. It taught me at a very early age how vile religion could be, and ensured that, by the age of 13, I was a militant, outspoken, uncompromising atheist.