PINEVILLE, LA. …
IN IMPORTANT RELIGIOUS LIBERTIES DECISION,
COURT DISMISSES FORMER PROFESSERS’ LAWSUIT BASED ON PROHIBITED ENTANGLEMENT
Establishment Clause Of The First Amendment Of United States Constitution Prohibits Decision Where Court Would Have To Choose Baptist Theology
Court may not make ruling “respecting an establishment of Religion.” U.S. Const. Amend. 1.
After almost seven years, the suit filed by four former faculty members of Louisiana College, has been decided by the court and in full favor of Louisiana College, its President, Dr. Joe Aguillard, and four other named Board of Trustees’ defendants, Dr. Leon Hyatt, Alan Shoemaker, Amy Russell, and H. Kent Aguillard, Esq. Judge Doggett of the Ninth District Judicial Court signed her decision in ruling in favor of Louisiana College on March 28, 2012, and ordered that the lawsuit be dismissed.
The case is a landmark decision for Louisiana College, religious institutions everywhere who stand upon Biblical truth, and for Louisiana Baptists who have proudly supported their only Biblically based higher education institution. The four former faculty members, Dr. Carlton Winbery, Dr. Connie Douglas, Dr. Fred Downing, and Dr. James Heath, who taught Religion and Values classes, lost their petition for academic, defamation and other claims against the College.
The court’s ruling derives from the establishment clause of the First Amendment that Congress is prohibited from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” The court’s decision would require the court to choose sides in a dispute over Baptist Theology which violates the establishment clause. The court has said that it does not have the power to choose which Baptist view is correct.
To “delve deeply into Baptist theology . . . is precisely what is prohibited.” Slip. Op. at p. 8. The four professors testified that they held an “. . . errant view of the Bible . . .” Slip. Op. at p. 10
The dispute centered around whether or not the Bible is the inerrant Word of God himself. Louisiana College, a Southern Baptist institution, proudly operates in accordance with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 which articulates the Bible’s truths and supports Biblical inerrancy. The mission of Louisiana College is to provide liberal arts, professional, and graduate programs characterized by devotion to the preeminence of the Lord Jesus, allegiance to the authority of the Holy Scriptures, dedication to academic excellence for the glory of God, and commitment to change the world for Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
“This is an extraordinarily important religious liberties case. It is historic,” said attorney Frederic Theodore (“Ted”) Le Clercq who represented the College during the years of litigation.
President Joe Aguillard, who served on the faculty for years with the four plaintiffs before they filed suit said, “God’s Word is true, and Louisiana College will never move from its position on Biblical inerrancy, regardless of attacks from any and all directions. The Victory is the Lord’s!” Aguillard said.