Federal Judge Humiliates Louisiana College: “America is no stranger to anti-Semitism.”

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ederal Magistrate Judge Mark Hornsby of the Western District Court in Alexandria issued an historic and stinging recommendation against Louisiana College’s motion to dismiss a blockbuster lawsuit that asserts the small, Baptist college engaged in racial discrimination when it refused to hire Joshua Bonadona as an assistant football coach because of his Jewish heritage.

The 12-page recommendation was published late on Friday, and it almost certainly signifies a major defeat for the school in a case that gained international attention after I had first reported it on The Bayou Brief on Feb. 22, 2018.

“This is the first case to ever provide racial protection for Jews under Title VII,” Bonadona’s lawyer, James Bullman, explained to me, “This is huge.”

It is worth reading the entire recommendation. Judge Hornsby’s arguments are essentially bulletproof and elegantly reasoned.

He eviscerated them.

 


 

[dropcap]B[/dropcap]onadona was the top-ranked applicant for the job and a 2013 Louisiana College graduate.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Joshua Bonadona was raised by his Catholic father and Jewish mother and had grown up in the Jewish faith until converting to Christianity as an undergraduate at the school.[/perfectpullquote]

He had been told by head football coach Justin Charles that “despite (his) recommendation to (President) Dr. (Rick) Brewer, Louisiana College (LC) had decided not to hire (Bonadona) because of his ‘Jewish descent.’”

Actually, both Bonadona and Charles claimed that Brewer had also used the term “Jewish blood,” and the definitional distinction between “descent” and “blood” was considered by the court and then quickly tossed aside as irrelevant.

“While (he) was playing football for LC, his family, chiefly his mother, became active supporters of the team. It was ‘a widely known fact’ that (his) mother, Miriam, was Jewish and that (he) was of Jewish heritage,” Magistrate Judge Hornsby explained in his recommendation. “(Bonadona), however, had converted to Christianity, often led the team’s Christian devotional, and made it known to the team and coach that he had converted to Christianity.”

 

[aesop_image img=”https://www.bayoubrief.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/p17166coll1_6603_extralarge.jpg” panorama=”off” imgwidth=”40%” credit=”Louisiana College Archives” align=”center” lightbox=”on” caption=”Louisiana College students performing "The Diary of Anne Frank." 1966″ captionposition=”left” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]

 

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] day after my report on The Bayou Brief, LC President Rick Brewer issued a pathetic e-mail statement denying that he had ever made any anti-Semitic remarks.

I decided to share Brewer’s statement in full on The Bayou Brief, which implied that he had been the victim and not the offender.

“Based upon lawsuit allegations without truth, I have been vilified and determined guilty by certain persons from across the nation. I am not nearly as upset as I am hurt” Brewer wrote, melodramatically. “I feel wounded by such reactions because I love and worship Jesus Christ, whose shed blood is the reason I have a personal relationship with the eternal God.”

Brewer’s office subsequently and falsely claimed that The Bayou Brief had published a “press release” on the school’s behalf, an assertion that the college appears to have removed from its website.

 

 

[aesop_image img=”https://www.bayoubrief.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Screen-Shot-2018-07-14-at-12.50.27-AM.png” panorama=”off” credit=”Louisiana College archives” align=”center” lightbox=”on” caption=”A Louisiana College tradition in the 1960s.” captionposition=”center” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]
[dropcap]D[/dropcap]uring the past twelve years, I have written and published approximately 180 different essays, reports, and opinion columns on Louisiana College, the vast and overwhelming majority of which expressed my profound disappointment in the increasingly intolerant, fascistic, and utterly incompetent leadership.

As a native of neighboring Alexandria and like thousands of other locals, I had earnestly hoped that LC could potentially emerge as the one of the state’s most respected institutions of higher learning. Central Louisiana- Pineville actually- was the original location of what is now the state’s flagship public school; today, the school is known simply as LSU.

In the immediate aftermath of the discovery of the Haynesville Shale, LC became led and dominated by its former President Joe Aguillard, and because I worked in the Alexandria Mayor’s Office, I sometimes found mysef  in the same room.

Brother Joe, as he was known, I quickly realized, was dangerously naive, an almost caricature, a slippery salesman who had gotten through life by promoting himself as a conduit to God.

He promised the city of Alexandria a law school, a film school, and a medical school, and then he drove up to Shreveport and promised our colleagues there the same thing.

Year after year, LC was on the verge of losing its accreditation.

Of course, it didn’t help that his leadership was best-known for erratic and utterly bizarre stunts like these:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. – Act 12:23[/perfectpullquote]

Aguillard’s incompetence and sanctimony resulted in the moral and, nearly, the academic bankruptcy of the college. (For context, I outlined much of this here).

The overwhelming majority of the state likely does not know that Louisiana College exists, and even if they do, the chances are they don’t have a clue where the college actually is.

Although I now live and work in New Orleans, I will always consider Alexandria, Louisiana to be my hometown, and I hope that explains why I consider the decline of Louisiana College, directly across the Red River in Pineville, to be such a tragedy and an important cautionary tale. It’s why I have written about the plight of a once-proud institution nearly two hundred times.

It is also why I instinctively write about Louisiana College in the first-person, because, although I did not earn my education there, this story is still personal to me: Many of my closest and most accomplished friends and family members were once proud  of their degrees there, but they have watched, helplessly, as their alma mater was captured in a mutiny by intolerant, unethical, and incompetent zealots.

This is not to say Louisiana College was ever a great school or that these problems are new and unique. Consider this:

 

[aesop_image img=”https://www.bayoubrief.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Screen-Shot-2018-07-14-at-12.58.07-AM.png” panorama=”off” imgwidth=”60%” credit=”Louisiana College Archives” align=”center” lightbox=”on” caption=”Three female students perform the Hitler salute in an image published in 1935.” captionposition=”center” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]

 

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]inally, my criticism is about their administrative incompetence.  It’s not about authentically-held religious beliefs.

I earned a bachelors degree in Religious Studies, which taught me, among other things, two important lessons.

Charlatan is just a synonym for sociopath, and any “religion” that extols bigotry or intolerance is nothing more than a hate group engaging in criminal tax fraud.

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Lamar White, Jr.
Lamar White, Jr. is an award-winning writer and the publisher and founder of the Bayou Brief, Louisiana’s only statewide news and culture publication. Born and raised on the banks of the Red River in Alexandria, he is a proud product of the Louisiana public education system and a graduate of Rice University in Houston and SMU’s Dedman School of Law in Dallas. Lamar has been writing about politics and public policy in Louisiana for twenty years, beginning as a weekly youth columnist for his hometown paper, the Town Talk. After earning his undergraduate degree in English and Religious Studies, Lamar moved back to Alexandria, where he launched a popular blogsite, CenLamar, and worked for five years as the Special Assistant to the Mayor. He exposed significant problems with Louisiana’s school voucher program, which resulted in a series of other investigations and ultimately in the removal of several schools from the program. He was the last person to argue online with Andrew Breitbart. He investigated and then broke the report that U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise had once attended a white supremacist conference. He was the first to share a photograph of Bobby Jindal’s portrait in the state Capitol. He exposed U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy’s incomplete timesheets while the then-representative moonlighted as a physician. He earned headlines in Texas after the gubernatorial campaign of Greg Abbott falsely claimed he had been exploited as a “campaign prop” by Abbott’s opponent, Wendy Davis, and after exposing U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign for relying on online “bot farms” to counter Beto O’Rourke, and he earned headlines in Mississippi after publishing videos of U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith making bizarre comments about public hangings and voter suppression tactics which were both perceived as racist. Lamar was the recipient of the 2011 Ashley Morris Award, given to the writer who best exemplifies the spirit of New Orleans, and in 2019, he was honored as one of Gambit’s Top 40 Under 40 and as the year’s Outstanding Millennial in Journalism at the annual Millennial Awards. He has been the subject of profiles in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, Above the Law, and the Advocate and has appeared multiple times as a guest on CNN and MSNBC. Lamar currently lives in New Orleans with his two golden retrievers, Lucy Ana and Ruby Dog.