Canada says Messianic organization can't claim menorah symbol
The Federal Court of Canada has told Chosen People Ministries, an international evangelistic ministry for Messianic Jews, that it may no longer use its stylized menorah as its official symbol.

Specifically, the court overturned the Registrar of Trademarks decision to award the group's logo design "official mark" status. Because official marks offer more exclusive rights than trademarks, the Canadian Jewish Congress argued that the messianic organization could deny any menorah symbols to synagogues or other Jewish organizations.

The court agreed. "The menorah [has been] the official emblem of the Jewish faith and its people since antiquity," wrote Justice Pierre Blais. "It would be counterproductive to prohibit Jewish organizations and associations from using and adopting a mark such as the menorah, since it [has] always been historically associated with the Jewish culture."

But this battle goes far beyond the spurious accusation that Chosen People Ministries would have forced synagogues and other Jews to stop using menorahs. What the Canadian Jewish Congress really wants is to force Chosen People Ministries to stop using the symbol. "These groups create the misleading perception of Jewish affiliation through their appropriation of Jewish religious symbols (such as the menorah), holidays, traditions, and terminology, all to facilitate their proselytizing campaign," CJC president Keith Landy said after the court's decision.

So far, Weblog hasn't seen any comments from Chosen People Ministries, but organization president Mitch Glaser earlier said, "Interestingly, it's our responsibility to defend the Canadian government's decision, but what I really believe is that our faith is on trial."

Chosen People Ministries continues to seek trademark status for its symbol, and the Canadian Jewish Congress continues to oppose that move as well.

Disgraced evangelical cricket star Hansie Cronje dies
Longtime Weblog readers will remember the sad tale of Hansie Cronje, the outspoken evangelical South African cricket star who was forced to resign after admitting he took money from a bookmaker. The tale just got even sadder: Cronje, 32, died Saturday in a plane crash.

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Sex & marriage:

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Church abuse scandal:

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  • The real issue is fidelity | How can we expect the Catholic people to be faithful to their sacred vows if they know that some, perhaps many, priests and bishops are not faithful to theirs? (Richard John Neuhaus, USA Today)

  • Child sex abuse proposal lacking, say some Catholics (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Victims then, priests later | No one knows how many spiritual mentors of one generation abused the priests of the next, but the numbers are probably "larger than we think," according to A.W. Richard Sipe, a former Benedictine monk and psychologist. (Chicago Tribune)

  • O ye of much faith! A triple dose of trouble | This is a rare moment in history, like a planetary alignment: three world religions simultaneously racked by crisis. (The New York Times)

  • Publishers are wary of books on church scandal | A story of bungling bishops and pedophilic priests, may, in fact, repel the core Catholic audience (The New York Times)

  • Clerics redefining their space among kids | A generalized suspicion of priests -- one lamentable cost of the Roman Catholic Church's scandal -- has made many members of the clergy keenly attuned to ''professional boundaries,'' particularly with children. It also has raised concerns that too much formality can have a chilling effect on pastoral work (The Miami Herald)

  • Archbishop offers Milwaukee faithful a public apology | Rembert G. Weakland said he accepted "full responsibility for the inappropriate nature" of his relationship with a man who accused the archbishop of sexually assaulting him and was paid $450,000 in an out-of-court settlement (The New York Times)

  • Australian bishop admits abuse money offer | Just days after angrily denying that he tried to cover up sexual abuse of children by priests, Australia's most senior Roman Catholic churchman has been forced to admit offering victims thousands of dollars. (BBC)

  • Pell says he wasn't buying victim silence (AAP/Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Also: Aussie archbishop admits abuse offer (Associated Press)

  • Also: Pell allegations lack evidence | The claim by critics and victims that compensation was a euphemism for hush money appears difficult to sustain, given that priests who perpetrated abuse on 101 "Pell process" compensation recipients had been convicted and, in 25 other cases, the abusive priest was either dead or the sexual misconduct was not criminal (Editorial, Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Also: Money talks: when hush comes to shove | At what point does compensation become hush money? (Kelly Burke, Sydney Morning Herald)

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