Main Page

Frequently Asked Questions

Sign Up!

Press Release

News Segments on the Raid and Aftermath

Lucan Chartier's Court Testimony (.wma download)

Letter from Dr. David Aguilar

Writings of Pr. Walter McGill from Africa

Documentation & Legal Papers


Frequently Asked Questions

What's so important about this? Isn't it just a lawsuit?

Are the CSDAs deceiving people about if they are part of the denomination suing them or not?

Businesses have a right to protect their names from people misusing them. Why should it be any different for a church?

Why don't they just change their name to comply with the law?

What's wrong with the law itself? What's this about trademarks, and why should we support people breaking laws, even if it is part of their religion?

What should I expect at the protests? Do I need to bring anything?

Q. Where is this happening? How do I get there?

Those with a GPS may enter the following address:

1162 Old Highway 45 South
Guys, Tennessee 38339

The property is located in southwestern Tennessee less than one mile from the Mississippi state border, off of main U.S. Highway 45. It is roughly 5 minutes north of Corinth, MS and 45 minutes south of Jackson, TN. Those without a GPS are advised to use a service such as Mapquest. For further directions or information, please see the Contact link on the menu to the left.

Q. What's so important about this to warrant a protest? Why should I become interested in a lawsuit ruling being enforced?

"Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedoms of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our justice system operates off of precedents - once something is done, it is easier to not only do it again, but for further steps to be taken in the direction of that ruling. Far from just being a run-of-the-mill lawsuit, this particular case has far-reaching consequences, though it may appear small at this point in time. Specificially, this case sets a chilling precedent that a church may apply to the Government for recognition as the only valid church of it's kind - essentially establishing it as the one true church of any given type. Once this is done, it does not matter if that church strays from the principles of it's religion, or abandons it entirely. If any believers protest this, they may be removed from the church. Should they continue in claiming their understanding of their faith as the right one, they will be silenced and subjected to Federal penalties for it.

In short, the precedent is being set that if we call it "trademark violation" and not "heresy," the Government can decide who are and are not the true practicers of a given faith, and subject law-abiding citizens to fines and even imprisonment for contempt of court if they disagree with the Federal ruling on what they are and are not to be called before God. History shows us precisely what happens when the Government is lead to define which church is the true one of a given faith, and it is well-known that those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. For more details, please see this article. If a man tells you that you are not a Christian because you do not agree with his understanding of Christianity, he is considered intolerant. When the Government agrees with him and forces you to stop identifying yourself as one, of whatever type or sect, it is not only intolerant - it is the first step of tyrrany. This is why this is such a large issue, and why it must be protested as what it is - a violation of the Constitutional rights of not only the people currently being sued, but everyone who will be affected in the future by what is happening today.

Q. Isn't it wrong to try to pretend you are someone you aren't? Is this really a religious liberty violation if the Creation Seventh Day Adventists are trying to confuse people into thinking they are a part of the denomination suing them?

Despite the claims of the Plaintiffs, the Creation Seventh Day Adventists have always been forthcoming about their separation from the denomination and status as a separate group. According to the Judge in the case, "while the use of the mark was certainly knowing, there is no evidence that the Defendant intended to confuse the public into believing that his church was one of the Plaintiffs’. Rather, the proof supports the conclusion that they chose the name based on a divine revelation." (ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART THE PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, p.22)

As indicated, the use of the name is a matter of conviction and identifying the features of a faith, not attempting to deceive the public into mistaken ideas of who they are associated with. It is thus an issue of free exercise in the plainest sense, as it deals with an individual or a group's obedience to "a divine revelation."

Q. Why shouldn't the larger church be able to protect their name? Aren't all businesses allowed to do the same thing?

Churches are a completely different kind of organization from other corporations, specifically because they are not engaged in business in the common sense. While this is obvious from a religious perspective, as most practicing adherants of any religion would be apalled to have their beliefs referred to as "products" and it's practitioners called "consumers," the Government also acknowledges this in the form of tax-exempt status for non-profit organizations such as churches. Trademarks are designed to prevent unfair competition - how can a non-profit organization "compete?"

It is in the Government's interest to allow businesses to protect their identities and names, lest it's people be deceived by false and misleading imposters and thus suffer a lower quality product, and the real producer lose money that was spend based on it's reputation. Religion has nothing to do with this, however - The Government has no duty to protect it's people from being spiritually deceived, and the idea that it does is the basis of every religious persecution in history, from the Inquisition to the Crusades. This is why the Constitution specifically forbids the establishing of a religion, but not legitimate businesses. It is further laughable that any man or woman would join a church under the false pretense that it belongs to an organization it does not, as there is a large difference between buying an item of a popular brand and joining a religious organization. Trademarks are for commerce - business trade, buying and selling. Religion is not commerce - the moment it is defined as such, it is open to Government regulation, which is precisely what is happening here.

Q. Why don't they just change the name?

The particular religion of Seventh-day Adventism requires it's followers to use the name "Seventh-day Adventist" to describe that faith in identifying themselves and their organizations. According to the writings of one of the religion's founders, "'As to the name Seventh-day Adventists: I was shown in regard to the remnant people of God taking a name. . . . No name which we can take will be appropriate but that which accords with our profession and expresses our faith and marks us a peculiar people." - Ellen G. White

Further quotes reveal the notion that the name was, as the Judge stated, based upon Divine revelation: ""We are Seventh-day Adventists. Are we ashamed of our name? We answer, 'No, no! We are not. It is the name the Lord has given us.'" - Ellen G. White

Of course, one need not agree with the religion of either party to acknowledge the eternal principle that they have a right to practice that religion free of Government interference. The idea that any one church can monopolize it's religion to the point of crushing out others who claim to also represent it is entirely opposed to the principles of the First Amendment in almost every area, from free speech to free exercise to the establishment clause.

Q. If Trademarks are what are called a "neutral law," isn't it okay to apply it to religious groups? After all, they are breaking a valid law, aren't they?

Trademarks are a potentially complicated subject, however a simple summary is that they must be registered in certain fields. For example, McDonald's is a food service organization, registered in that category. A man could not open another McDonald's restaurant, but a McDonald's Shoe Store would be entirely proper, because the trademark is not registered in that field.

For religious organizations, a particular abuse has been made of "Class 42" of the Lanham Act, which governs trademark registration. Class 42 was intended for scientific and professional services, such as those offered by lawyers and scientists. In the Seventh-day Adventist trademark, however, this has been filed for "conducting religious observances and missionary services." As a result, no one can hold a religious service under any name registered for such, be it "Seventh-day Adventist" in this case, or should they be registered, names such as "Baptist," "Pentecostal," or even "Christian."

As a result, using the name "Seventh-day Adventist" is not a universal law, such as those against murder that would be applicable whether done in a religious context or not. Instead, it is something specifically applied to religion and the exercise thereof, making it in no way neutral, and instead a law deliberately aimed at the regulation of religion.

The non-neutral nature of the law is further obvious from the fact that it exists only because of an active application made by a church to the Government for protection and recognition, and that the Government will still not enforce it of it's own volition; the church must bring action against violators, effectively controlling the Federal justice system to it's own ends. A neutral, fair law is in regards to all people in all situations. A law that is expressly aimed at regulating religious observances for the sole purpose of establishing one church as "protected" by the State is not only non-neutral, but unconstitutional in every aspect. As stated by the U.S. Senate in earlier years, "If the principle is once established that religion or religious observances shall be interwoven with our legislative acts, we must pursue it to its ultimatum." - U.S. Senate Report on Sunday Mails, 1829

Q. What should be expected at protests? How will it be conducted, and is there anything I should bring in advance?

- Attendees to protests should expect to supply their own signs and placards voicing their support for free exercise and the separation of Church and State.
- The location may vary depending on the action being protested. The last protest was conducted on the property of the CSDA church building, by permission from the owner of the property.
- Protesters are strongly advised to conduct themselves in a civil and peaceful manner.