Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Creation 7th day folly

There is an interesting article and conversation on regarding the trademark violations of the self described Creation Seventh day Adventist church (sometimes identified with 7th instead of seventh, hereafter CSDA). The article's title and opening line reads:

Submitted: May 16, 2012
By Andrew Hanson
Should the Seventh-day Adventist Church seek to put people in jail because of their non-violent religious beliefs? That is the bottom line to the long story of a little, independent congregation and the General Conference attorneys.
As a news article it begins somewhat poorly as the SDA church never set out to send anyone to jail as there really is no jail sentence available for trademark violations, they simply sought legal protection from the misuse of their trademark. The whole idea of jail comes from the CSDA members putting back up signs which the court had taken down. Thus the whole affair with jail no longer has anything to do with the SDA church but with violations of court orders. If the CSDA folks want to pretend to be martyrs for violating US and international laws that is their business but it is hardly something that can be blamed upon the SDA denomination.
For a background of the story see the video links on the above article as well as look at the actual findings of the court in 2006 against the CSDA group. Case No. D2006-0642 Here are a the main decision findings from that case:
The Panel does not believe that the freedom to practice religion or the deviation from fundamental doctrine constitute defenses cognizable under the Policy to invalidate the protection afforded Complainant by its registered Marks.
Therefore, the Panel finds that Complainant, for purposes of this proceeding, has enforceable rights in the Marks.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Names are confusingly similar to the Marks in which the Complainant has rights pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
The Panel finds that persons interested in finding religious information are Internet users and consumers within the meaning of the Policy. Respondent is using Domain Names which are confusingly similar for purposes of the Policy. Therefore, he is attracting Internet users and misleading consumers searching for Complainant.
The Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Names pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii).
An additional factor found to support a finding of bad faith is Respondent’s actual knowledge of the Complainant’s Marks when Respondent registered the Domain Names. When considered with the attraction of Internet users using a likelihood of confusion, the Panel finds this evidence sufficient to support a finding that the Domain Names were registered and used in bad faith pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(iii).
Respondent advises the Panel that he has been commanded by YAHWEH to employ the name Creation Seventh Day Adventist Church in describing the true religion and fellowship of His spiritual kingdom on Earth. Respondent must obey God rather than men.
The Panel finds that the defense of waiver offered by Respondent is not sufficient to nullify the bad faith of Respondent. 
Now it seems from the conversation on the Atoday website from CSDA members that their claim to not follow the judicial decisions of United States courts is because they feel that God has given them the name and they must follow God. The followers also make the point that because the CSDA group does not follow the courts ruling that they be held in contempt of court; they claim to be subject to being jailed because of the SDA church. Of course if there was no governmental action to back up a judicial finding there would be no reason for courts at all. That the government takes these actions is in the courts interest as well as in the plaintiffs interest thus the use of contempt recommendations by SDA Lawyers. I would rather see our courts maintain effectiveness by holding those in contempt when the court's ruling is violated. They can always appeal and when the court asks for simple and reasonable actions there is little excuse for the CSDA to refuse and expect no consequences for their contempt of court.
Here are some of the CSDA comments about why they must refuse to follow the courts ruling:
2) We believe that He has given us a name that reflects this faith, and although it was always clear it would cause controversy, we did not shrink from this duty because of the fear of man's judgment.  The idea that Christ still speaks to His people seems to immediately trigger the adrenaline glands of some. --David Aguilar
I would be pleased if you are willing to understand what the issue here really is.  We did not and will not just flip a coin and choose a "name for ourselves."  We have not co-opted a corporate name for our own benefit.  Those who make such accusations are deluded liars. (It actually hurts me to speak with such force of words.)

Two believers in Jesus and the Adventist message saw visions from God that commanded us to take the name "Creation Seventh Day Adventist" as the name of our faith and practice of religion. "Let every fact be established by two or more..."

Many believe Moses received tablets of stone on which the commandments of God were engraved with His own finger.  "Creation Seventh Day Adventist" is engraved in every heart of our brethren by the Spirit of YAHWEH.  If this were the case for you, would you give credibility to the advice of other "helpful souls?" -- Pastor Chick
If one actually followed this kind of logic then anything regardless of legal finding would have to be accepted as part of religious liberty. “We were told by two of our members who saw visions from God that we should break into the video store to supply our church with audio and video equipment”? This is the real danger of these CSDA folks. They pretend to be standing up for religious liberty when they are not at all standing for it they are destroying it. Their arguments would make all laws useless and all deluded people free from prosecution. They would destroy the entire nation because of their selfishness. This logic is seen by another comment of Pastor Chick who misapplies the Roman/Jewish conspiracy against Christ 2000 years ago with the court case in 21st century America. He writes:
You posed the following questions for contemplation:--Should the Seventh-day Adventist Church seek to put people in jail because of their non-violent religious beliefs?
I would suggest a parallel question:  Should the Jewish Church have sought to have the Christ arrested because of His religious beliefs that led to His authoritative claims?
--Is it really necessary for our Church to put these two men in jail?
My parallel question:  Was it really necessary for the Jewish Church leaders to influence Pilate in arresting the Prince of Glory and putting Him to death?
--Do church members and pastors think that this is an appropriate way for the Church to deal with splinter groups?
My parallel question:  Did the constituency of the Jewish Church think the treatment of Christ by their leaders was appropriate for His dissident doctrine, divisive activities, and authoritative claims?
--Is there a Bible basis for enforcement efforts that go so far as to put people in jail?
My parallel question:  Was there an Old Testament basis for the efforts put forth by the “leading men” to have Christ arrested, scourged, and eventually killed?
Here again we see the self centered nature of their argument. To disagree with their positions is equivalent to the persecution of Jesus Christ. They assume they are the Christ position, they are the good and true followers. Again Pastor Chick when responding to the religious liberty position of a previous commenter:
If you knew my Father, you would know me.  If you loved my Father, you would love me.  If you did the will of my Father, you would appreciate the works that I do, for they are the works of Him who lives in me.

There is no confusion in the Church of the Living God.  His people are perfectly untied as one with the Father and His Son.  They do always those things that please Him.  What they hear from the Father, they do. Amen.

Later he writes:

Good point!  After all, God's armies have always been the large ones, right?

Let's consider the days of Noah, for example.  The Messiah said it will be same when He comes back; so, you DO have a good 92% on your side.  But, I will rely on the prophecy of One who said, "
Few there be that find it."  I hope you understand -- this is no "riddle."  It is life and death – eternal.

Here is the argument that because they have been ruled against and that most people do not support their position they must be on God's side. The majority is the enemy so if one is on a minority side they are on the side of God.

We need to pray for and if you know any of these people help them learn how to actually think rather then to manipulate information. This does seem to be a true lunatic fringe, and there should be a good deal of concern for mainstream Adventists as well that our denomination seems to breed people that think so strangely. Has the teaching of Adventism over the last 100 plus years created these strange offshoots. Now that is an interesting question.


Anonymous said...

It seems like it would have been fair to include the posts where the arguments and conclusions made in this post were already addressed...

For example, re: "Thus the whole affair with jail no longer has anything to do with the SDA church but with violations of court orders," a Court document was posted showing the SDA's attorneys motioning and pressing the Court to not only find contempt, but to specifically imprison people for it. It further explained that the civil nature of the contempt (as opposed to criminal) made it a matter of the plaintiffs' discretion.

Then, re: "If one actually followed this kind of logic then anything regardless of legal finding would have to be accepted as part of religious liberty," a whole Objection to the court was posted that went addressed that exact issue in very great detail citing relevant laws.

I didn't see anyone attempt to answer either of those posts.

Ron Corson said...

No I don't post on everything in the AToday discussion, that would be rather silly. Yes when someone violates the court order I would expect the attorneys to recommend to the court that such normal contempt of court actions such as jail would be considered by the court. You do realize that reporters have gone to jail for not revealing sources when ordered to by the court. It is not because the person is violent it is a method of getting them to obey the laws and judicial authorities established in this country. As for you last part it shows me nothing, if you have what was submitted to the court I would be interested to see it. Though clearly the court rejected it so, I would expect most other reasonable people would also reject it. All kinds of stuff can be submitted that does not mean it is valid.

Anonymous said...

Sure; the link to the submitted paper was here:

Personally, I'm not comfortable just assuming that a court's ruling is automatically reasonable without looking into it, especially in religious matters.