THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - In a first for property-use rights, a group of Christian ministers have filed with the World Court to trademark the name of their deity. Organizers say the move requires the payment of royalties each time "Jesus®" is spoken. It also requires anyone with that name to choose another. Those who refuse could be hit with a lawsuit at the international court or, if they live outside the United States, invasion.
"Unless somebody with that name can prove in a court of law that he's the Son of God, he'll have to choose another name. Maybe go by a middle name or a nickname," said Charles Lively, an Alabama Baptist minister and one of 12 multi-denominational Christian leaders who made the filing.
The new trademark is expected to have the biggest impact in Central and South America, where Jesus® is a popular name. Lively said the fact that the name is often pronounced "hay - zoos®" in Latin America would make no difference.
Johann Cohen, a Swedish Jews for Jesus® evangelist who took part in the filing, said the trademark is meant to thwart what he called growing attacks on the Christian faith by the media, political liberals and Communist homosexuals.
"Jesus is the one true God. And if you don't believe that, we will pound your ugly face into a bloody pulp until you understand the boundless love and compassion of our Lord and Savior," said Bishop David Johnson of the Full Gospel Church in Charlotte, N.C. "Now get out of my sight before I slap the Beatitudes right on your forehead."
A spokesman for the World Court said the filing was approved immediately.
"Are you kidding? The Netherlands can't risk invasion," said Marcus Voodenharmer. "Of course we approved it. We're also born again. Everyone of us. Even the janitorial staff. Be sure you put that in your story, please for the love of Oh, just put it in there, please, please," he added.
After completing the paperwork, the group of ministers joined thousands of fellow Christians outside the court offices, where the crowd danced with snakes and drank from strychnine-filled Mason® jars.