Baha'i news: Three Baha'is, jailed for humanitarian work, begin...
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#1 Dec 1, 2010
Here's the glaring irony: While appealing during the last four years to the international community for help with Iran, the US Baha'i assembly was busy seeking to destroy other Baha'i denominations in US courts.
It's an interesting ruling by the US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that affects all of the nearly dozen Bahai denominations. Here are the highlights of it from my reading:
7th Cir: Public online 08-2306 case documents
Opinion in case# 08-2306
p 7: False finding of "fact" by Judge Austin in 1966
p 13: "...civil authorities may not make judgments about religious controversies when deciding church property disputes. Kedroff, 344 U.S. at 116.(The church-autonomy principle recognized in Watson must now be said to have federal constitutional protection as a part of the free exercise of religion against state interference.)."
"Building on Kedroff, the Supreme Court held in Presbyterian Church that the First Amendment severely circumscribes the role that civil courts may play in resolving church property disputes.
p 14-15: "Considered in light of these First Amendment limitations on the courts authority, certain aspects of the 1966 injunction are troubling. The decree declares that there is only one Bahai 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 Baháí. Declarations of this sort push the boundaries of the courts 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."
p 17: "It is a principle of general application in Anglo-American jurisprudence that one is not
bound by a judgment in personam in a litigation in which he is not designated as a party or to which he has not been made a party by service of process."
p 20: The court expands on and concludes that the parties were simply not in privity with the 1966 flawed decision by Judge Austin.
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