|I apologize for posting this post unsolicited, but would be very grateful if you would lend us a few moments of your time. This is NOT a request for money, materials, or anything else other than your attention and thoughts.|
I am requesting your attention in a controversial matter that has far-reaching implications for the future of our nation’s liberty. The Creation Seventh Day & Adventist Church, an organization that many would consider to be an "offshoot" of the mainstream and well-known Seventh-day Adventist Church, was ruled against in Federal Court for "Trademark Infringement" in the name of their Church. The mainstream S.D.A. Church organization has trademarked the name "Seventh Day Adventist", “Adventist” and the initials "S.D.A." with the United States government by deceptively casting it as a matter of commerce, expressed in reference to "products," "services" and "consumers," rather than religious principle. Since that time, it has proceeded to bring lawsuits against other, smaller institutions who believe it is their religious duty to bear that name, and those initials, as a part of a title that God has given to them. Of course, we cannot expect that everyone will accept this religious conviction. I do not anticipate that many will believe that God has spoken to a people and given them a particular name, however descriptive that name may be of the particulars of their faith. Nevertheless, this issue is an important one in a far more general sense, especially for those living in the United States [a country that was founded upon the fully compatible principles of religious and civil liberties], or those who believe in freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom from religious discrimination.
As it now stands, under the authority granted to this religious organization by the U.S. government due to this S.D.A. Trademark, a Church that once taught the importance of the separation of Church and state has become a persecuting entity, having confiscated property, leveled fines against individuals, minorities, and groups, and placed individuals in prison for no crime other than conscientiously believing that they have a duty to uphold particular religious viewpoints. It has been doing so for decades, attempting to keep these activities "under wraps;" however the Church's legal actions drew national attention last year, when it incarcerated two individuals: Walter McGill (a Creation Seventh Day Adventist pastor) and Lucan Chartier (a young assistant pastor).
The First Amendment implications of this are enormous. The result is that the Federal Government is presently regulating religious observances and missionary services and even handing down civil judgments against those who hold them in a registered name. This is, in the truest sense, religious persecution - the Federal Government can and will rule against you for the name of your religion if you are decided by the Court not be within it's graces. The alternative is to "give up the name" - which is identical to the demands of past ages of persecution, i.e. "Confess that you are not a [Christian/ Muslim/Pagan/SDA, Baptist, Jewish, etc]."
In order to do this the United States Patent and Trademark Office must decide what organization is entitled to Federal protection; in this case they must decide who the real “Seventh-day Adventists” are. In other words, they must establish one organization above all others as the one and true Church of a given type. This is in direct violation of the "Establishment" clause of the First Amendment.
Though one may hold to the original doctrines of Seventh-day Adventism, and though the organization may no longer holds to those doctrines, it has nonetheless been established by the State as the true and only Seventh-day Adventist church. Because the faith of some remains unchanged that they are Seventh-day Adventists in belief and practice, they cannot in good conscience deny that name and what it stands for. This has placed before them a choice that our Forefathers never envisioned for an American on his own soil; the choice between obeying our nation’s laws and obeying the dictates of our consciences.
The misuse of trademark law as a means for the regulation of religious observances and missionary services is a gross abuse of the fair and well-intentioned laws of our nation, and a violation of Constitutional rights. If we can’t seek for Congress to propose an amendment to the Lanham act, preventing it from being used in such a manner as to violate the “establishment” clause of the First Amendment, the Creation Seventh day Adventists have at least prepared an international petition, in order to provide a forum for those who are of a mind to let their voices be heard, and present this petition, with its growing list of signatures, to the president of the General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists, in an attempt to demonstrate that there are people who still believe in respecting the convictions of others, and that using the civil courts to decide religious matters is not an acceptable course of action in the minds of the general public, whether they are personally religious or not.
This is an issue that affects everyone, for it reveals that the courts now have few reservations about making decisions in regard to matters over which they have no constitutional jurisdiction. We pray that you will consider adding your name to such a list. Should you be interested, a link to the online portion of the petition is found below:
Thank you very much for your time, and may God bless you.