It has recently come to our attention that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is facing a major legal and financial crisis. It could lose its non-profit status due to discrimination. I include many links in this article, sometimes to in-depth material that you might find eye-opening. For a thorough understanding, please take the time to fully examine the linked material.
Federal law enjoins upon non-profit organizations that they operate in a non-discriminatory manner. Organizations which are found in violation risk revocation of their non-profit status. This issue for churches in general was brought to light when the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last year, as reports after the ruling warned.
What makes this a special concern for the Seventh-day Adventist Church is that it already has some legal experience in this matter. The Church registered its name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 1981, which you can verify by using their trademark search facility with “Seventh-day Adventist” as the search terms. Since it is not possible to link to the actual results, I quote the following data fields:
(REGISTRANT) GENERAL CONFERENCE CORPORATION OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS CORPORATION D.C. 12501 OLD COLUMBIA PIKE SILVER SPRING MARYLAND 209046600
Published for Opposition
||August 18, 1981|
November 10, 1981
NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE "ADVENTIST" APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
It is important to note that this registration includes a disclaimer. The disclaimer was added because the words “Seventh-day Adventist” are descriptive in nature, and trademark laws do not protect against use of words in a descriptive capacity. However, the law can protect against infringement when a meaning has been developed in the public mind that associates descriptive words to a specific product or service (or Church in this case).
To have this protection, the Church opted to allow a five-year waiting period to pass by because it is assumed that after five years, a secondary meaning has been developed in the public mind. Thereafter even the descriptive words can be protected to a degree under trademark law.
You can be sure that the Church was not idle during those five years; it was collecting a hefty list of violators to prosecute once the waiting period was over. Doing the math, the five year mark after the registration date would fall in November, 1986. Note that the name “Seventh-day Adventist” was not the only registration; the Church publishes their long list of registered trademarks on their website.
The five-year anniversary dates are highly interesting because they cluster around the Day of Atonement in 1986, the date that is marked by the star Rigel in the Orion clock, as well as by the 1986, ’87, ’88 triplet in the HSL. There are profound lessons to be drawn from this.
The Church’s appeal to state power to protect its name was called a first among Protestant churches by at least one source. This appeal to state power is contrary to the principle of separation of church and state, and it reflects the mindset of the Roman Church. There is a name for being of one mind with Rome: ecumenism. And that is precisely the Church’s sin of 1986 that wounded Jesus afresh, as shown by the Orion Clock.
The HSL shows that the ecumenical movement constitutes a rejection of the Holy Spirit (even though it purports to be accompanied and even inspired by the Holy Spirit). How can a person be led by the Holy Spirit at the same time that they espouse a fascist power structure? They can’t! The Holy Spirit works by convicting the individual conscience in regard to truth, not by a top-down authority that supposes to hold universal sway over the individual conscience.
The Church did not waste any time. As soon as the five years were up, they immediately started harassing and prosecuting “violators” of its trademarks. The case of a little church in Hawaii is often cited as the first. Interesting details of the story are told and re-told by various on-line sources. The L.A. Times reported this case on November 27, 1988.
While it might appear that the Church has had success in wielding state power to defend its name against misuse by “innocent” congregations, they suffered a defeat which serves as an omen. In 1987, right in the middle of the HSL triplet, they sued a homosexual group named Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International and lost. They had overstepped the boundary of their privileges.
Kinship is a support group and not a church, and therefore its use of the term “Seventh-day Adventist” was considered a descriptive term and not an infringement of the Church’s trademark.
So how does this loss against the gay group serve as an omen?
The earliest statutory reference to tax exemption was introduced in the 1890s, shortly after the 120-year wilderness wandering began, and the modern 501(c)(3) tax status was introduced in the 1950s as the Church was compromising on the nature of Jesus.
As long as the laws did not conflict with the laws of God, there was no problem. Since the Supreme Court overturned DOMA, however, persons have been protected under federal law against discrimination based on sexual orientation. There have been notable cases of bakeries and photographers, for example, who have found themselves in violation of the law just for standing true to their conscience on the Bible’s teaching against homosexual practices, refusing to service at homosexual weddings.
To maintain its 501(c)(3) status, the Church is obliged (as the past affirms) to abide by the laws that govern such organizations, and those laws mandate that they follow non-discriminatory practices. In the business world, discrimination against women (or minorities) in leadership is not allowed, and in recent years this has expanded to homosexuals as well. But can a Church remain in good standing with a world whose man-made laws contradict the laws of God, and still be true to the Bible which defines different roles for men and women and condemns homosexual behavior?
This does cast a different light on the issue of women’s ordination, doesn’t it? The NAD could have motivating factors involved. All it would take is someone to stand up and take the Church to court for discrimination, and they could theoretically lose their 501(c)(3) status as a result, and that could lead to owing enormous sums in back taxes, which could in turn lead to seizure of assets if they can’t pay. We are speaking here about amounts of Billions of Dollars!.
Ordaining women does not, of course, remove discrimination against homosexuals in leadership. But realistically, I think the “trick” is somewhere else. There are a thousand other churches which condemn homosexuality too, and they probably won’t change that opinion overnight.
Nevertheless, the fact that the Church is obliged to adjust its policy to changing laws in order to maintain its 501(c)(3) status does leave it in a precarious stance. When the issue comes to Sunday observance, for all of its ecumenical compromises it will be left alone with two options: switch to Sunday, or lose everything - money, property, churches, schools, hospitals - you name it. Go directly to jail - do not pass Go, do not collect $200. The faithful Seventh-day Adventist will recognize that either way, the organized Church will not reach the pearly gates.
Now that we’ve broached the topic of the Sunday Law, I might as well mention that it is already as good as there. It comes with Obamacare, the health reform or the work of “temperance and reform” that Ellen White prophesied of. The exact day was pinpointed in our timeline studies, but I will reserve the detailed explanation of that for another article. Suffice it to say that the debt ceiling was the last credible obstacle that was restraining Obamacare, and now it is unstoppable.
Pastor Andrew Henriques explores other striking aspects of this prophecy of Ellen White in a recent sermon. And once again we can see in retrospect how the Holy Spirit was guiding John Scotram in what he said in his own sermon about the Sunday Law coming in 2013. It might not have looked like what you or we expected, but things nevertheless did happen right on schedule.
So the moral of the story is that it doesn’t pay to compromise what is right for the sake of financial advantage or so-called unity. You will either end up being the one to move away from the right, or you will find yourself jeopardized by those you’ve compromised with.