Nine Methodist Ministers in Louisiana File Lawsuit Against Conference, Alleging Flawed Disaffiliation Process

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The Board of Trustees of the Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, South Central Jurisdiction, and a group of nine United Methodist preachers were engaged in a court battle. On March 23, a judge in East Baton Rouge District Court heard the pastors' motion for a preliminary injunction against the board.

However, the judge ruled that he did not have jurisdiction over the matter and should be addressed by church courts rather than civil courts. Therefore, the request for the preliminary injunction was dismissed, and the dispute must be resolved through the appropriate channels within the United Methodist Church.

Group of Nine Methodist Ministers in Louisiana Files a Lawsuit Against UMC Conference

According to KSLA, the nine methodist ministers, four from Caddo Parish, two from Claiborne Parish, one from East Baton Rouge Parish, one retired to Tennessee, and one to Texas, have filed a petition against the Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, South Central Jurisdiction. The petition, filed on March 13, concerns the flawed process by which churches are given the option to vote to leave the denomination.

The ministers felt that the Louisiana Conference's governing body and administration required to monitor these votes, offer clear information on the only ground for disaffiliation, and safeguard the denomination's assets.

The national conference allows disaffiliation only on the grounds of disagreement with its stance on homosexuality, including opposition to same-sex marriage and the appointment of practicing homosexuals to clergy positions. According to WAFB, A limited disaffiliation rule was established for anyone who disagreed with the church's principles after the 2019 General Conference.

The ministers contend that many of the disaffiliation votes cast so far, nevertheless, did not adhere to the standards established by the national conference. The pastors contend that Louisiana congregations that support the Methodist position against the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals cannot make use of the restricted disaffiliating rule.

The ministers requested a preliminary injunction against the board, which a judge dismissed due to the issue being a matter for church courts rather than civil courts. The ministers' legal counsel contended that they had tried everything to resolve the situation within the church system. The ruling of the judge may be appealed by the ministries within 30 days.

Also Read: 36 North Carolina Churches Denied Exit from United Methodist Church as Judge Dismisses Lawsuit

Lawsuits Filed in the Court Against Some of the UMC Conferences

Recently, another lawsuit has been heard in court, and according to WFMY News, 36 United Methodist churches in Iredell County, North Carolina, filed a lawsuit to disaffiliate from the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church congregation.

Judge Richard L. Doughton of the Iredell County Superior Court, however, dismissed the claim. In January, the conference filed a move to dismiss the case, arguing that doing so would violate the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion in the United States. Constitution. Judge Doughton approved the conference's move to dismiss the lawsuit after finding that it was reasonable.

Related Article: Asbury Church to Disaffiliate with United Methodist Church Due to Disagreement on LGBTQ+ Inclusion