Victory of Covenant – PART-B. Great Victory for the OTHODOX BAHA’I FAITH in the Court Case

Posted on December 25, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The Provisional National Bahá’í Council of the United States, the governing body over Orthodox Bahá’ís, issued the following statement on December 5, 2010

Orthodox Bahá’í Faith wins appeal before 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

CHICAGO, IL– After reviewing briefs and then hearing oral arguments on February 20, 2009, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, on November 23, 2010, to uphold the judgment previously handed down by the United States District Court. It was the ruling of the Honorable Amy J. St. Eve of April 23, 2008, after holding an evidentiary hearing January 7, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois, that the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith was found not guilty of contempt charges levied against it by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States (Wilmette NSA). The injunction that the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith was accused of violating would have prohibited it from using the name “Bahá’í”, meaning a follower of Baha’u’llah (as the name Christian refers to one who follows Christ.)

In the ruling of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, it found that the original judgment and ruling of Judge St. Eve to be sound and free of any legal error. It therefore upheld in its entirety the innocence of the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith in the contempt charges levied against it by the Wilmette NSA. Furthermore, the Appellate Court could not refute her written judgment in which she cited that key witnesses for the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith, Franklin D. Schlatter and Marilyn Meyer, gave “credible testimony” that the organization was not formed with the intention of violating the 1966 Judgment.

The Court of Appeals affirmed that the Orthodox Bahá’ís were not legally identified with the NSA under Mason Remey and therefore the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith is not bound by the 1966 Judgment. The original injunction was issued over forty years ago to that now-extinct rival body to the Wilmette NSA. In the judgment handed down by Judge St. Eve, she wrote: “[T]he chain of succession lacks a link.”

“The Council is pleased that the Court of Appeals upheld the sound decision of Judge St. Eve. We the Orthodox Baha’is of the United States, as fellow believers in the Faith of Baha’u’llah, differ with the Wilmette NSA only in that we believe Shoghi Effendi did not fail in his duty to appoint a successor during his lifetime,” said Jeffrey Goldberg, the Secretary of the Provisional National Bahá’í Council for the Orthodox Bahá’ís (PNBC).

The Wilmette NSA, a national branch of the world organization with over 6 million members, brought the legal action against the PNBC, whose membership, in contrast, numbers about 50 in the United States, many of whom are lifelong believers.

As a result of the Appellate Court upholding the original findings of Judge St Eve, assuming it becomes final, there is no legal impediment to the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith’s use of the name “Bahá’í” in identifying itself and it may continue to teach its belief in the continuing Guardianship of the Faith of Baha’u’llah, a teaching in direct opposition to that taught by the NSA group. The Orthodox Baha’i Faith recognizes Joel B. Marangella as the rightful living Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith.

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