By Jonathan Howe
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court of the United States denied a petition by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) to review its ongoing case involving a lawsuit filed by a former Southern Baptist state executive director.
Originally filed in 2017 by Will McRaney, former executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCMD), the lawsuit alleges NAMB had intentionally defamed him and wrongfully influenced his 2015 termination by the BCMD after a dispute over collaborative missions efforts in the region. NAMB legal counsel George McCallum called the allegations “unfounded” in a statement to Baptist Press in November of last year, adding that NAMB has “consistently denied” McRaney’s claims.
NAMB is represented pro bono by First Liberty Institute, the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious liberty. Jeremy Dys, special counsel for litigation and communications at First Liberty Institute, expressed disappointment at the decision not to hear the case. First Liberty contends that an earlier decision by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 2020 reversed a 2019 dismissal of the case by the U.S. District Court Northern District of Mississippi, undermines the doctrine of church autonomy. [Read more…]