Louie Bishop

Louie Bishop

A brief biography

Louie Bishop writes, “After graduating in 2007 with a bachelor’s in Business, as well as playing for the golf team at University of California, Davis, I came to La Sierra University to take pre-medicine classes.” [13]

Bishop “showed promise as a professional golfer before his commitment to the seventh-day Sabbath intervened.” [8] [4] His golf coach at U.C. Davis was the brother-in-law of Adventist origins expert and professor of geology Dr. Art Chadwick. [11] (Chadwick has also been very critical of LSU. See below.)

Educate Truth writes,

Louie Bishop received a B.S. in Business from the University of California at Davis. Afterward, he attended the Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism. He then worked as a Bible worker for two churches in Trinity County, California. [1]

Bishop’s experiences in the classroom at La Sierra University

Bishop writes in his “testimony”:

The first day of General Biology 2 I sat down only to see Charles Darwin’s face on the first slide. In my opinion, there would be no problem with that, except for the fact that we were taught only evolutionary principles of life for the next several weeks, and were told they were the truth. In fact, we were told Evolution “is the single unifying explanation of the living world, and nothing makes much, if any, sense outside of this unifying theory.”

After a few class lectures, I sat down to talk with Biology department head Dr. Wilson. Though it has now been almost five months since that meeting, I distinctly remember him saying “I was afraid this was going to happen.” In other words, he was not looking forward to the day when someone would take a stand and speak up concerning the teachings of the Biology department. Not to go unsaid, I have had many good conversations with members of the Biology department, including Dr. Lee Greer. He has taken the time to talk with me for over an hour on a number of occasions, providing me with reasons for his views of life on earth. I respect him for the fact that he has studied both the Bible and science to a great extent, and is convicted concerning what he believes. Yet what he and many others teaching Biology at La Sierra believe and teach involves many assumptions, and most importantly, is contradictory to the clear messages of the Bible. This fact was made clear to me when I attended one of Dr. Greer’s worship “breakouts.” He talked about the Biblical Creation accounts in detail, and concluded that Genesis chapters 1 and 2 are contradictory accounts.

(See [1] for the entire unedited testimony.)

Educate Truth reports on a particular breakout session on February 26, 2009, when Carlos Cerna, Louie Bishop, and two other students challenged Greer during a Q&A session after Greer’s presentation. Dr. Lee Grismer eventually joined the increasingly heated conversation. [10] An article on Educate Truth about the event describes it as follows:

Grismer’s tone escalated into what Olmo and Lemus [the two other students] described as yelling. According to Cerna, it was Bishop that really got Grismer riled up. Bishop quoted Matthew 19:4 to Greer, asking how he reconciled what the Bible said about human origins with evolution. According to Olmo and Lemus, Grismer said, “You’re stupid and ignorant. You don’t know enough to say anything. Your kind of thinking drives planes into buildings.” [10]

Louie Bishop’s testimony continues:

This Spring Quarter, Professor Perumal has taught Biology with contagious excitement. His teaching has given me and others good reason to study hard. Professor Perumal tells me that he is a creationist, and we also have enjoyed some good discussions. Yet I see where this could make any student very confused. Last quarter we were told that Evolution is the truth. This quarter we have still studied Evolution via secular class materials, but at a lesser intensity. My point is that only Evolution is presented and studied at an objective level. My teacher this quarter has spoken openly of the glory of God in nature, and for that I am thankful! But evidence for a young-age earth, in support of the Biblical account, is not presented for study. The objective support of the Bible is not touched on. [1]

Louie Bishop’s account of his discipline by the university

Because federal law limits LSU’s ability to discuss student discipline [9], Bishop is the sole source for accounts of his discipline. In a document written in response to LSU’s own response to an Adventist Review article (see next section) originally published on Bishop’s website (now defunct, see below) and republished on EducateTruth [12], Bishop recounts three disciplinary actions taken against him by the university for the following “alleged infractions”:

1.

Passing out a letter after church on Alumni weekend, in February 2009, describing my concerns abut how evolution was being taught at LSU, without getting permission. Almost seven months later (September of 2009) I was blocked from registering as a student at LSU. The Administration placed a disciplinary hold on my student account because of this incident. Although the Admissions Committee eventually granted me admission to LSU, I missed the entire first week of school.

2.

…I wrote a personal note which I gave to about 20 of my fellow students. …For this alleged infraction I was disciplined by the so-called ‘Judicial Committee,’ which does not appear to be an official committee of LSU. I was given a ‘Letter of Censure’ for not having my note approved by LSU before I distributed it. I have since sought approval for distribution of my letter through the process that the Administration requested—my letter was denied.

3.

…After attending a lecture by Dr. Greer, which promoted the idea that humans and chimpanzees evolved from a common ancestor, I felt convicted to allow slides from this lecture to be published on the Educate Truth Website. For this alleged infraction I was given ‘Citizenship Probation’ for not talking to Dr. Greer first. Citizenship Probation is defined as a ‘disciplinary status indicating that a student is in serious violation of policy.’ This punishment will impact my future because negative information, including a letter stating I was suspended, will likely be shared with graduate schools that I apply to in the future.

In the same document, Bishop maintains that “[a]ll of the above disciplinary proceedings and actions were in violation of several of the provisions of the LSU Student Handbook and other policies.” He also maintains that “at least 3 of my student rights, as assured on page 39 of the current LSU Student Handbook, were violated”. Quoting from the handbook, Bishop writes:

“2. La Sierra University students have the right to expect a Christian university to be a place of spiritual nurture. A Christian learning environment nurtures spiritual growth of all members of its community while teaching the faith and traditions of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.”

“9. La Sierra University students have the right to freely and without fear of reprisal express their opinions, beliefs, and questions, including expressions about University student life and academic experiences. A Christian learning environment supports respectful expression of diverse ideas through appropriate means.”

It is my right as a student to express my opinions about my academic experiences at La Sierra University, including my concerns about how evolution is being taught as truth at LSU. It is my right to describe my academic experiences publically, freely and without fear of reprisal. This right should have protected me from the disciplinary actions to which I was subjected for distributing a letter at church, giving a personal note of concern to my classmates, and publishing information about my academic experiences on the Educate Truth website.

“10. La Sierra University students have the right to impartial discipline appropriate to the infraction of the University policies. A Christian learning environment respects and supports the individual.”

I am entitled by Federal law to review all of the information in any of LSU’s files about me. In order to prepare my defenses, I repeatedly requested information about the evidence supporting the allegations against me, as well as information about individuals who testified in these matters. My requests were largely denied. Additionally, in all of the above instances, I was denied my right to appear and defend myself before any of the committees who were deliberating against me. Instead I was told to describe in writing how I would change my behavior in the future before I even knew what evidence was being considered against me. Despite my profuse apologies, disciplinary actions were taken against me that violated the LSU Student Handbook.
In LSU’s response to the Review article, it inaccurately stated:

“When a student is reported to have committed an infraction against a specific policy, it is investigated and, if necessary, he or she is heard before a judicial committee.”

As indicated above, despite repeatedly requesting permission to appear before the Admissions Committee, “Judicial Committee” and the Student Life Committee, all these requests were denied. I was never allowed to be heard before any of these committees in order to defend myself against unknown evidence and accusers. In short, I was denied fair hearings and due process.
[12, Emphasis removed from the original.]

Reports of Louie Bishop’s discipline

The Adventist Review, in the controversial article “Evolution Controversy
Stirs La Sierra Campus,” reports:

Bishop said he was placed on “citizenship probation” by the school for circulating letters opposing the teaching of evolutionary concepts and for posting notes of a professor’s lecture online, despite a verbal agreement that Bishop would not do so without consulting the teacher.
 
In a Jan. 25 interview, Bishop said he “thought a lot about that before I did that and I talked to a lot of people because I was wrestling with certain things and the administration issued me this status of citizenship probation. From U.S. copyright law I understand the university doesn’t have the right to do anything if I am posting a lecture online for academic critique. There is nothing wrong with reproducing that."

In a statement prepared in response to the Adventist Review article, La Sierra University criticized the Adventist Review’s decision to report on Bishop’s discipline in the manner that they did, saying,

La Sierra University has never, and will never discipline a student for holding Seventh-day Adventist beliefs.  Never!  Nor will La Sierra ever discipline a student in other areas because he or she holds Seventh-day Adventist beliefs.  Federal law limits us from commenting on the situation of a specific student (something the Adventist Review chose to do).  La Sierra, like every other Adventist college and university, requires all students to abide by regulations printed in our Student Handbook, which is available online.  When a student is reported to have committed an infraction against a specific policy, it is investigated and, if necessary, he or she is heard before a judicial committee.
Furthermore, the article conveyed the student’s opinion on U.S. copyright law as pertains to posting online a professor’s intellectual property, such as lecture notes and slides.  The article did not make clear whether the student’s opinion is based on appropriate legal counsel or is his own interpretation.  In either case, the Review article did not give the University an opportunity to share the opinion of its attorney’s perspective on the ethics and legality of unapproved selective posting of faculty intellectual property. [12, emphasis in the original.]

Bishop himself never claimed that he was disciplined for his personal beliefs. [12] However, others, including some prominent Adventists, have made this claim. Adventist origins expert and professor of geology at Southwestern Adventist University Dr. Art Chadwick writes in his letter to the editor of the Adventist Review:

Louis is the farthest thing from a troublemaker one could imagine, yet he has been branded as such and threatened with censure at LSU for challenging the evolutionary teachings of his instructors at LSU.  What a travesty. [11]

Responding to the Adventist Review article in a letter to the editor, LSU President Wisbey writes:

Let me assure you and your readers that La Sierra University never, ever disciplines a student for expressing and upholding Adventist beliefs. Instead, we teach and encourage our students to live out Adventist beliefs every day. We do, however, expect that our long-standing policies requiring appropriate student conduct be followed for order and fairness within the campus community. [11]

Louie Bishop’s activism

In February of 2009, Bishop handed out a letter critical of the university’s teaching of origins on campus on alumni weekend. [12] He also helped organize the February 20, 2009 presentation by Sean Pitman. [3]

Bishop emailed a letter critical of the university’s teaching of origins to 20 of his classmates. Bishop has provided several materials from his biology classes to be published on Educate Truth. [12] Bishop apparently told the university he would not distribute course materials but chose to do so anyway. [8]

The Spectrum blog reports:

On November 5, [2009] Louie Bishop, a La Sierra University biology student who has vocally criticized the department, sent out a mass email encouraging people to take three actions: 1. Sign the EduTruth petition, 2. Email Ricardo Graham, Pacific Union Conference president and LSU Board of Trustees chair, along with the other members of the board to “encourage them,” and 3. Contact Louie if interested in participating in a prayer vigil on the La Sierra campus during the Wednesday and Thursday board meetings. [7]

Soon after (around November 10), Bishop along with Shane Hilde of Educate Truth organized a prayer vigil on campus in anticipation of an upcoming meeting of LSU’s board. [6] “The planned vigil also coincided with La Sierra University's college visitation day, when several hundred high school students visited campus to learn about the university's programs.” [7]

Sean Pitman, in a reply to an email response he received to his email to GC President Jan Paulsen, pointed to Bishop’s activism to illustrate his allegations against LSU. [2] In an article titled “Why I Support La Sierra” published in the July 2010 edition of the Pacific Union Recorder, Ricardo Graham cited Bishop’s activism (without naming Bishop) as the beginning of the controversy at LSU. [5]

LouieBishop.com

At some point prior to May 28, 2009 [14], Louie Bishop set up a website, louiebishop.com, with links to his response to LSU’s response to the Adventist Review article about Louie Bishop (which can now be found at [12]), the first Adventist Review article talking about Louie Bishop, and LSU’s response to the Adventist Review article. Some time after February 24, 2011, the website went offline. (However, its contents is current still available via the the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.) The website’s front page reads:

After graduating in 2007 with a bachelor’s in Business, as well as playing for the golf team at University of California, Davis, I came to La Sierra University to take pre-medicine classes. I have since learned first-hand that professors of both the biology and religion departments at LSU believe and promote the theory of evolution as the true model of origins. The purpose of this website is to clarify what is being presented to LSU students regarding the origin and development of life. I’m seeking to promote greater transparency between leaders of LSU and members of the SDA Church by providing my testimony. [13]

See Also

Carlos Cerna

Sources and articles

Bibliography
1. Louie Bishop, LSU Testimony by Louie Bishop, Educate Truth, June 5, 2009. http://www.educatetruth.com/la-sierra-evidence/testimony/lsu-testimony-by-louie-bishop/
2. Sean Pitman, Response to Elder Paulsen, April 12, 2009, from Pitman’s website The Evolution of La Sierra University. http://www.detectingdesign.com/EvolutionofLaSierraUniversity.html#Paulsen
3. Nicholas Smith, The Evolution of a Controversy, in The Criterion, fall 2009. http://criterion.lasierra.edu/?p=57
4. Jimmie Trame, Seventh-day Commitment, September 17, 2009, Adventist Review. http://www.adventistreview.com/article.php?id=2797
5. Ricardo Graham, Why I Support La Sierra University, Pacific Union Recorder, July 2010 edition, July 1, 2010. http://pacificunionrecorder.adventistfaith.org/issue/24/9/424
6. Prayer on LSU Campus, on “La Sierra University — My Blog”, November 10, 2009. http://lasierrauniv.tigblog.org/post/1371841
7. Jared Wright, Educate Truth Group To Force LSU Action, Spectrum blog, November 11, 2009. http://spectrummagazine.org/blog/2009/11/11/educate-truth-group-force-lsu-action/
8. Mark A. Kellner, Evolution Controversy Stirs La Sierra Campus, Adventist News Network, March 31, 2010. http://www.adventistreview.com/article.php?id=3227
9. Larry Becker, La Sierra University Responds to Adventist Review Article, April 1, 2010. http://www.lasierra.edu/index.php?id=2784
10. Educate Truth Staff, Creationist students find little support from LSU, Educate Truth, April 7, 2010. http://www.educatetruth.com/la-sierra-evidence/creationist-students-find-little-support-from-lsu/
11. Randal Wisbey et al, Readers Respond to the Evolution Controversy at La Sierra University, Adventist Review, May 6, 2010. http://www.adventistreview.org/article.php?id=3304
12. Educate Truth staff, Student reveals true intent of LSU’s biology seminar class, Educate Truth, May 11, 2010. http://www.educatetruth.com/la-sierra-evidence/student-reveals-true-intent-of-lsus-biology-seminar-class/
13. Louie Bishop, louiebishop.com, February 7, 2011. Accessible via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine: http://web.archive.org/web/20110224023403/http://louiebishop.com/welcome/Home.html
14. Robert Jacobson, What's Going On with La Sierra University and Why It Matters, March 28, 2010. http://davidlurie.posterous.com/whats-going-on-with-la-sierra-university-and
lsu
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License