FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Federal Marshals Destroy Church Property Over Name of Religion; Protests Organized
Small-town Pastor's Arrest Ordered over Trademark on Church Name, Marshals to Confiscate Signs and Materials
February 06, 2010 - Guys, Tennessee - Federal Marshals, accompanied by attorneys for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, are scheduled to arrive at the property of the Creation Seventh Day Adventist Church in Guys, Tennessee on February 16 to enforce a permanent injunction against the group for federal Trademark infringement over the name of their church. The enforcement comes after a nearly 5-year legal battle between the leadership of the 16-million member Seventh-day Adventist denomination and Pastor Walter O. McGill III of the roughly 10-member congregation in southern Tennessee.
The lawsuit has raised serious concerns among religious liberty advocates, as the point of contention between the two groups - the use of the name "Seventh-day Adventist" - is an intrinsic part of the belief systems of both. "This is a First Amendment issue," says Lucan Chartier, Pastor McGill's assistant and a member of the church. "The Constitution forbids the establishment of religion. If you rule that only one church is the valid one of a given faith, and force others to either join it or say they are something else, that's establishment in every sense of the word."
A religious liberty rally is scheduled on the property for the morning of the 12th, including a picket line of protesters against the confiscation and destruction of the church's signs, advertisements, and religious materials. Despite the quickly mounting sanctions for non-compliance, the church's members appear to be committed to holding their position. "We are a completely separate group from the mainstream SDA Church Corporation, and we have always been sure to indicate that very clearly," states Dr. David Aguilar, a member of the church. "Nevertheless, we have a deep conviction that God has told us, 'Use the name "Creation Seventh Day Adventist;" it is the only one suitable for you.' How can we, as dedicated, Bible-believing Christians, ever consider denying what we have accepted as God's instructions?"
Pastor McGill is not expected to be present for the rally, as a contempt order has been issued authorizing his arrest upon his return to the United States. He is currently in East Africa on a mission trip. More information on the protest may be found at www.LanhamAct.us
For more information, please contact Lucan Chartier via email at email@example.com or via cellphone at 630/470-5858. Pastor McGill may be reached for comment via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.