First Amendment legal precedent has been cited in a federal court’s dismissal of a lawsuit against the North American Mission Board by a former executive of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.
Senior Judge Glen Davidson of the U.S. District Court Northern District of Mississippi ruled April 22 that a lawsuit by Will McRaney would require the court to determine religious elements in the case.
“That the Court cannot do,” Davidson wrote in a seven-page opinion.
Davidson, of the district court’s division in Aberdeen, Miss., addressed the three claims that McRaney made in his April 2017 lawsuit seeking unspecified punitive damages that NAMB had: defamed him and harmed his career with the Maryland/Delaware convention as executive director, leading to his termination in 2015; harmed his ministry by causing cancelation of a 2016 speaking engagement in Mississippi; and caused emotional distress by posting a photo of him at NAMB’s welcome desk describing him as an enemy of the mission board, which is based in Alpharetta, Ga.
Citing “ecclesiastical abstention doctrine, rooted in the First Amendment’s free exercise clause,” Davidson wrote, “The Court dismisses this case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”
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Source: Baptist Press