SDA -VS- Raphel Perez mediation notice

Adventists Sue Over Use of Name

.c The Associated Press


MIAMI (AP) - The national headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church asked a federal judge Monday to bar a West Palm Beach church it considers "a hate group" from using the denomination's trademark name.

Newspaper and radio advertising run nationally by the Eternal Gospel Church of Seventh-day Adventists denounces Catholics and most Protestants for worshipping on Sunday, likening them to satanists and pagans.

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

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

"What we have here is the trademark law being used in a religious context when it was intended to be used commercially," Pershes argued. "One particular religion, even if it's a large segment of the religion, should not be allowed to get a monopoly."

The court fight has attracted worldwide interest among the denomination's 10 million followers.

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

"The issue is vital to religious liberty," Standish said outside court. "Anyone who wants to can call themselves a Seventh-day Adventist, but you must remember there's a day of judgment."

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

AP-NY-03-13-00 1457EST

Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.