“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
– First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
In July 2012, two American members of the “Creation 7th Day & Adventist Church” were arrested after being sentenced to 30 days each in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Their crime? Civil contempt of court stemming from a trademark lawsuit brought by the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. These men were arrested and held in a Federal detention facility on American soil because of the name of their church – a name that their religion requires them to use.
They now face permanent incarceration if they do not comply with the order to stop using the name of their faith – a fundamental requirement of their religious beliefs.
In July 2015, after three years of relative silence, the Seventh-day Adventist denomination sought to expand the court decision beyond merely the Creation 7th Day Adventists, seeking control over any occurrence of “Seventh-day” or “Adventist” in any online format, including communication (tweets, social media posts, etc.) and media (videos, documents, any files, etc) regardless of context, intent, or user.
The truly amazing thing about this case is the Federal judge’s ruling that the smaller church had not attempted to impersonate the larger denomination, had not attempted to confuse or deceive the public, and was not guilty of any fraudulent activities. Their sole ‘crime’ was using a name for their church that, according to the U.S. government, is too similar to another church – despite ruling that there was no evidence of confusion between the two groups.
There is something you can do, however, to support religious freedom and free speech in this country – and it will only take a few minutes of your time.
Sign the petition to demand an end to this litigation
Share it with your friends, family, loved ones, and anyone else who loves liberty of conscience
Stop the arrests of law-abiding citizens for the name of their faith