David Lockington
David Lockington | Courtesy of Pasadena Symphony

Even with the official end to COVID special measures and advice approaching in May, the pandemic hangover continues to trouble the music industry in multiple ways. The latest involves former Pasadena Symphony Music Director David Lockington.

According to a wire report picked up in the journal Pasadena Now, the 61-year-old musician was fired for violating a Symphony policy ordering all employees to be vaccinated, with no exceptions. He’s now suing on the grounds of religious discrimination because he is a member of the Church of Christ, Scientist, which teaches that disease can be prevented through prayer. The suit affirms that Lockington complied with all other pandemic safety measures, including being regularly tested for COVID, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing. The conductor is seeking damages and a court order reinstating him to the position of music director.

There was no immediate response from the Pasadena Symphony’s management to the news, but reporters investigating this issue over the past year and a half suggest that the suit may be an uphill battle for Lockington.

While members of the Church of Christ, Scientist routinely turn down vaccinations for themselves, official church doctrine does not forbid vaccinations to its members, especially when the immunization is mandatory. And a Baptist News article covering the same subject reports that the opposition of a congregation or individual may not be enough in U.S. courts to claim a religious exemption to a widely imposed vaccine mandate.