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.
Church & state:
- No-church zoning district faces a challenge | A federal law enacted in 2000 to protect churches against most zoning restrictions is being tested in a suburb west of Philadelphia. (The New York Times)
- Judge orders preacher to pay $1,000 | Tape shows Ovadal calling woman 'heifer,' 'whore' (WISC, Madison)
- Also: Pastor fined $1,000 for preaching the priceless gospel of Jesus Christ | Sentence to be appealed (Press release, Wisconsin Christians United)
- Your taxes for church schools? | The vote in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris will, in all likelihood, be 5-4, with Sandra Day O'Connor deciding whether to tear down much of what remains of that wall separating church and state. (Nat Hentoff, The Village Voice)
- Prayers in schools walk fine line | Few groups take advantage of the Equal Access Act (Palm Beach Post)
- Graduation 2002: One last lesson in freedom | First Amendment provides all the guidance we need for these ceremonies: Public schools must respect students' rights to freedom of speech, religion. (Ken Paulson, Freedom Forum)
- Local religious groups voice concerns over FBI policy allowing increased surveillance | New rule gives FBI agents authorization to attend public events open to any other citizen to seek signs of terrorism. (Waco [Tex.] Tribune-Herald)
Sex & marriage:
- Gays flout God's laws, says head | Headmaster faced calls for his suspension after speech at morning assembly. (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- Also: God remarks head under fire (BBC)
- Church to rule on cleric who had sex change | Methodist pastor in Md. took leave of absence for surgical procedure. (The Baltimore Sun)
- States already experimenting with marriage promotion | But uncertainty remains about what is working and what isn't. (Religion News Service)
Politics and law:
- A natural split with Bush, and many quit | Longtime, key officials who favor conservation—including evangelical James Furnis—say they are frustrated by new rules. (Los Angeles Times)
- Bush should keep faith to himself | Bush's comments may lead to genocide (Robert Reno, Newsday)
- Internet filtering overruled | Judges say libraries needn't block porn (The Washington Post)
- Also: Judges nix library Internet filters (Associated Press)
- Also: U.S. net porn law overturned (BBC)
- Florida high court hears debate over religious cemetery markers | ACLU says crosses and Stars of David erected in a city cemetery are protected under state law, but city wants to limit grave decorations to flat markers. (The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville)
- Also: Gov. Bush enters battle over religious statues at Boca cemetery | Supports ACLU's defense of religious markers. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
- Faith-based welfare reform | If the government didn't face a tax cut-induced hole in its finances over the next decade, Congress could give the president his faith-based initiative and provide the money to finish the job of welfare reform. (E. J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post)
- Cali archbishop's 'killer' is shot dead | Carlos Augusto Ramirez died after being assaulted by inmates at a high security prison. (BBC)
- Ex-Klansman passed up plea offer | Bobby Frank Cherry now serving life sentence. (Associated Press)
- Canadians deplore 'artistic merit' porn defense | Although John Robin Sharpe was found not guilty, most people oppose the use of such a defense in court, a new poll reveals. (Vancouver Sun)
- Grace Ministries pyramid scheme case complicated by zoning ruling | Sentencing is predicated on settlement of the civil case that included the sale of the Grace campus. (The Daily News, McKeesport, Penn.)
- 'Fear of God' is no protection for churches | Damage costing a record £7.3 million was caused last year, more than double the previous year. (The Daily Telegraph, London)
Church abuse scandal:
- Panel recommends dismissing priests in new abuse cases | A Roman Catholic panel proposed removing priests who abuse minors in the future, but would allow leeway in old cases involving a single incident. (The New York Times)
- Prelates' proposal draws praise and skepticism | Sveral scorned the plan's failure to include sanctions for bishops who have transferred priests from parish to parish, and their criticisms suggested that the plan would not calm protests by victims' groups, which have been growing (The New York Times)
- Dismissal of abusive priests is proposed | A committee of Roman Catholic bishops recommended Tuesday the defrocking of any priest who sexually abuses children in the future but left open the possibility that some past offenders could remain in the priesthood. (The Washington Post)
- Bishops lenient for past sex abuse | Bishops recommend defrocking priests who sexually abuse any child in the future, but mercy toward priests who already have committed a single offense (The Washington Times)
- Bishops call for abuse crackdown | National group will consider a proposal to oust new offenders but allow one molestation in the past. (Los Angeles Times)
- Bishops urge crackdown on sex abuse (Associated Press)
- Bishops' plan has mercy clause | Draft outlines policy for abuse by priests (USA Today)
- Bishops still face highly placed hurdles | The question now is whether it will intentionally subvert the will of parishioners and bishops — or follow their prescription for healing. (Editorial, USA Today)
- 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)
- Also: Pell 'knew of cover-up allegations' (Sydney Morning Herald)
- Also: New doubts over Pell's abuse claims | Catholic Archbishop of Sydney knew about crimes in 1989, not 1992 (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Vow of silence | The Vatican's death grip on the news. (Slate.com)
- U.S. bishops to propose ousting abusive priests | Draft precedes Dallas meeting (The Boston Globe)
- The church will protect children | We urge our critics to take note of what we can and will do in this adversity and not only of what we have failed to do in the past (Harry J. Flynn, The Wall Street Journal)
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