Judge: Baha’i believers can call themselves Baha’iPosted: November 29, 2010
November 23, 2010 9:11 PM
A federal court in Chicago has ruled a group of self-proclaimed orthodox Baha’i believers can keep calling themselves Baha’i despite a 1966 court decision that stopped an offshoot organization from using the Baha’I name. Today, the federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 1966 decision does not apply to a different offshoot known as the Orthodox Baha’i Faith. Though the judges criticized the ruling from more than four decades ago as wrongfully trying to resolve a question of religious authority, they determined it was amoot point since the original defendants led a denomination that no longer exists. Tuesday’s ruling sidestepped any questions about whether a religious organization can trademark its name or icons. North American Baha’is have been based in Chicago ever since believers came to the U.S. about 90 years ago. Adherents of the Orthodox Baha’i Faith–about 50 strong in the U.S.–believe the mainstream Baha’i faith — about 5 million strong in the world — has strayed from the religion’s original teachings.
— Manya A. Brachear