The US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sides with OBF & BUPC against Wilmette Haifan Baha'is

by Aryana-Vaeja

The United States 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the earlier Illinois Court's (i.e. Judge St. Eve's) opinion on the Wilmette based US Baha'i NSA's (National Spiritual Assembly's) contempt action brought against the Orthodox Bahai faith and Bahais Under the Provisions of the Covenant. The larger Haifan Baha'i organization today officially lost its appeal with the appelate court with the court unanimously finding the arguments put forth by the Haifan US NSA to be completely spurious. Attorney Jeffrey Goldberg has announced on the USENET group talk.religion.bahai that a PDF of the decision will be going up on his site shortly.

Good day!!!


  1. The loss of the case does not change the fact that the intent of the so called Orthodox Baha'i Faith and Bahais under the Provisions of the Covenant has been to mislead, confuse and misuse the identifying marks and institutional names of the Baha'i Faith. In the end, the court decision is only a pyrrhic victory, because the covenant is clear and the spiritual vitality of the Baha'i Faith is dependent on the guidance of the Universal House of Justice which your groups so vehemently reject.

  2. All the court decision states is that the Orthodox Baha'is and the BUPC are not bound by the earlier decision made against Mason Remey's original organization. It does not preclude separate legal action being taken against these groups nor does it address the question of copyright infringement per se.

  3. Susan you need to see this

  4. Judge Sykes' Opinion did not sidestep "questions about whether a religious organization can trademark its name or icons," as was erroneously reported by the Chicago Tribune. In fact, it directly answers the question:

    p 14-15: "Considered in light of these First Amendment limitations on the court’s authority, certain aspects of the 1966 injunction are troubling. The decree declares that “there is only one Baha’i Faith,” that Shoghi Effendi was its last Guardian and none has come since, and the National Spiritual Assembly was its representative and “highest authority” in the United States and was “entitled to exclusive use of the marks and symbols of the Faith,” including the exclusive use of the word “Bahá’í.” Declarations of this sort push the boundaries of the court’s authority under Kedroff and Presbyterian Church. In church property disputes (trademark suits obviously qualify), the First Amendment limits the sphere in which civil courts may operate. When a district judge takes sides in a religious schism, purports to decide matters of spiritual succession, and excludes dissenters from using the name, symbols, and marks of the faith (as distinct from the name and marks of a church), the First Amendment line appears to have been crossed."

    The Court clearly states, as a matter of incontestable historical fact, that the Wilmette nsa merely constitutes one of many interpretations of the Baha'i Faith.

    Opinion of US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, Case No. 08-2306 - November 23, 2010

    For a context on Judge Sykes' Opinion, it's worth listening to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judges hammer NSA's attorney February 20, 2009 (3 minute MP3 from the court website)
    Judge Diane S. Sykes: "Clearly raises some constitutional concerns."

  5. Dearly loved Susan Maneck

    I am a newly enrolled Baha'i. I have never read the command of Baha'u'llah or Abdul Baha or the guardian that asks the baha'is to register their holy symbols as trademarks. Could you kindly give me a reference where Baha'u'llah or Abdul Baha have mentioned this action.

    With Love & Baha'i Greetings

  6. All Bahais must thoroughly introspect after this verdict. Let us be honest in evaluation. For how long will we deceive ourselves. Let us embrace our fellow brethren. Its high time we did.


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