The former organist with Saint Brigid Catholic Church in Georgia is complaining that he was recently forced to resign from his position because he’s gay.
In an open letter explaining the situation, organist Nick Johns wrote that then Monsignor (now Bishop) David Talley had long known of his homosexuality but he was simply told to make his Facebook page private.
The Georgia Voice has Johns explaining his meeting with then Monsignor Talley like this:
“We had a meeting to talk about it and he was saying he didn’t care that I was gay because one of his childhood best friends turned out to be gay and they’re still best friends. We were talking about making my profile private. I didn’t know it wasn’t private. I made it private and that was the end of it for a long time,” Johns told GA Voice.
In an open letter to the St. Brigid’s community, Johns described it this way:
A few months ago, Bishop (then Monsignor) David Talley and I spoke about my (then public) Facebook account, my homosexuality, and how that has challenged my faith. He was very understanding about my sexuality and had some very nice insight about it. We discussed making my Facebook profile private; I did, and that was the end of it. I don’t believe I ever let it get in the way of my ability to serve as music minister to the parishioners of Saint Brigid.
So what happened?
After Msgr. Talley became bishop, Fr. Joshua Allen was made temporary administrator of the parish. Johns wasn’t crazy about Fr. Joshua because he seemed to take a harder line of things.
“I’ve heard some of his sermons before,” Johns told The Voice. “I had to bite my tongue. During the last election for Obama, he had a sermon about how you couldn’t be Catholic and vote for a pro-choice candidate. The church gave him a standing ovation.”
And then Fr. Josh called Johns in for a meeting over a number of blog posts Johns had reportedly written in favor of gay marriage. Johns described it this way in his letter:
I received a call from Fr. Josh on Monday evening (5/6/13) and he stated that I was under suspension and possible termination due to my Facebook profile being in public moral dissension with the teachings of the church, despite having been warned (referring to my chat with Bishop Talley). I was told to come get my things and leave my keys, so that’s what I did on Tuesday the 7th…
It didn’t feel like the proper way for the church to be going about all of this, especially since Fr. Josh is only a temporary Administrator…
Johns wrote in his letter that “Fr. Josh” confirmed that it was a blog post and some other pictures that conveyed his support for marriage equality.
My support for marriage equality isn’t something I feel ashamed about nor will change. Some of you knew that I recently got engaged to my boyfriend Luke. I do apologize on behalf of Saint Brigid to Meredith, who had to pick up the slack while being quite pregnant. I was very much looking forward to what we as a choir were going to accomplish through our ministry to this wonderful parish. Also, I rarely feel full mutual collaboration with an organ, but the Casavant at Saint Brigid and I got along just swell. The same goes for Meredith and me, and the students of the Saint Brigid Day School.
The fact that, as Johns said, many already knew that he intended to marry his boyfriend is an example of why he needed to resign.
To his credit, Johns did say that the Church had every right to fire him.
The Archdiocese of Atlanta is currently advertising for Johns replacement with an ad that includes in the responsibilities “conducting Adult Traditional Choir and Children’s Choir (3 masses per weekend); planning music for masses and special liturgies; recruiting singers and instrumentalists; organist for weddings and funerals; coordinating instrumentalists, special liturgies, and cantor program; overseeing activities of music department.”