Adventists Sue Over Use of Name

.c The Associated Press


MIAMI (AP) - The national headquarters of the Seventh-day AdventistChurch asked a federal judge Monday to bar a West Palm Beach churchit considers "a hate group" from using the denomination'strademark name.

Newspaper and radio advertising run nationally by the EternalGospel Church of Seventh-day Adventists denounces Catholics andmost Protestants for worshipping on Sunday, likening them to satanistsand pagans.

Jeffrey Tew, an attorney for the national denomination, calledthe offshoot church "a hate group" and branded the campaign"a classic case of a breakaway church trying to use the motherchurch's name." The name "Seventh-day Adventist"was registered as a trademark in 1980.

Robert Pershes, the attorney for the West Palm Beach church, toldU.S. District Judge James Lawrence King that "Seventh-dayAdventist" is a generic term describing the religion.

"What we have here is the trademark law being used in a religiouscontext when it was intended to be used commercially," Pershesargued. "One particular religion, even if it's a large segmentof the religion, should not be allowed to get a monopoly."

The court fight has attracted worldwide interest among the denomination's10 million followers.

Russell Standish, an evangelical pastor from Melbourne, Australia,plans to testify in support of church pastor Rafael Perez's rightto use the Adventist name.

"The issue is vital to religious liberty," Standishsaid outside court. "Anyone who wants to can call themselvesa Seventh-day Adventist, but you must remember there's a day ofjudgment."

The religion's name is based on its two basic tenets of honoringSaturday as the Sabbath and anticipating the second coming ofChrist.

AP-NY-03-13-00 1457EST

Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.