The president of a private Baptist college in Louisiana refused to hire an alumnus applying to be a football coach because of what he called the applicant’s “Jewish blood,” a new lawsuit claims.
Joshua Bonadona, who was raised Jewish but converted to Christianity while a student at Louisiana College, filed suit on Wednesday against the school and its president, Rick Brewer, for violating his civil rights.
Bonadona had an interview to be a defensive backs coach with Brewer and head coach Justin Charles. He claims that during the interview, Brewer asked him about his and his parents’ religious affiliations. Bonadona says he responded by admitting his mother was Jewish but that he was a Christian.
Bonandona resigned his coaching job in Missouri after being assured by Charles that the new position was his, but quickly found out that his hiring had been denied because of his “Jewish descent.”
“Mr. Bonadona asked Justin Charles what that meant, and Justin Charles stated that Dr. Brewer refused to approve Mr. Bonadona’s hiring because of what Dr. Brewer called Mr. Bonadona’s ‘Jewish blood,’” the suit says.
Bonadona subsequently took a new job at a school in Arkansas for less money than he would have received at Louisiana College. His attorney, Bonadona’s attorney, James Bullman, told the Associated Press that while the private Baptist university had a right to take religion into account when hiring, Jews are considered a distinct race under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, thus making Bonadona’s non-hiring an illegal racist employment practice.
“This case has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with Josh’s Jewish heritage and racial background,” Bullman said.
Brewer, an ordained Baptist minister, did not responded to requests for comment from the AP.