Louisiana Pastor Files Religious Rights Lawsuit Over Cockfighting
A lawsuit has been filed in federal court to challenge Louisiana's anti-cockfighting laws, based on Constitutional religious freedoms.
WAFB reports that Lloyd Plumbar, the Pastor at Holy Fight Ministries, is suing the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office, and the Livingston Parish District Attorney over the cockfighting ban. The lawsuit stems from Plumbar being arrested by the Sheriff's Office, and the following prosecution, on cockfighting charges. Plumbar says the arrest and charges are violating his religious freedom.
The lawsuit argues that Plumbar and his Holy Fight Ministries believe that cockfighting represents their religious beliefs. Plumbar's attorney, Jim Holt, told WAFB:
“Reverend Plumbar, Holy Fight Ministries and its congregation hold the sincere religious belief that cockfighting represents that while they strive for CHRIST, they have a necessary symbolic physical manifestation, an epiphany through the fighting cock, a religious mandate of the struggle between good and evil, a struggle for life or death for the Salvation of the soul, and thus cockfighting is an integral and essential part of their religious faith”
Plumbar's lawsuit refers to multiple biblical passages, and even references the exemptions that some Native American churches have received for illegal drug use as part of their worship. The "Peyote Exception" is referred to in the lawsuit as an example of what Plumbar is looking for.
When Plumbar was arrested, he faced 15 counts of cockfighting charges, and was given a $375,000 bond.
Louisiana became the last state in the country to ban cockfighting back in 2007, with the law going into effect in late 2008. The ban was a hot button debate for years, with fights sparked by animal rights groups, and cockfighting supporters who believed the activity was a part of Louisiana's "fabric". The 2007 measure nearly died in the Legislature because of fighting over how fast the ban would take effect, but was eventually passed by the Louisiana House 91-1, and was unanimously passed in the state Senate.