July 7th, 2008
11:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Conservative group drops plans to sue Obama team

 The Obama campaign is launching a new evangelical initiative.

The Obama campaign is launching a new evangelical initiative.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A conservative Christian activist group said Monday that it is dropping plans to sue Barack Obama’s presidential campaign over the name of its new program aimed at courting evangelical and Catholic young people because the campaign has told them it will re-name the initiative.

The Obama campaign did not immediately confirm the move.

The Home School Legal Defense Association, which launched grassroots group “Generation Joshua” in 2004, sent the Obama campaign a cease-and-desist letter last month over the decision to call its own outreach effort to evangelical young people - which includes blogs, concerts, and house parties - the "Joshua Generation Project."

“Generation Joshua” provided heavy grassroots assistance in key swing states for President Bush’s re-election effort last cycle. Founder and conservative activist Michael Farris also authored a 2005 book that included the words in its title.

“We’re pleased the Obama campaign has acknowledged our trademark rights,” Farris said in a statement released Monday.

The name is drawn from the biblical account of how Joshua’s generation, which followed the one that fled Egypt with Moses, led the Israelites into the Promised Land. Obama referenced the story in a 2007 speech.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. christine

    it is a shamefull thing to watch the media work the way they working now i thought journalist are suppose to be very smart , watch MSNBC andrea mitchell on morning joe with obama's aid gibbs, she doesnt even know what she is talking about do they really do their homework before they are on air, and the media do they have to publish something simply because the other compaign is pushing for it i think they should first look at the facts we are now tired of watching MSNBC MESS UP ELECTIONS THIS IS WHY WE WENT TO WAR BECAUSE OF JOURNALIST WHO DONT DO THEIR JOB WELL get a dictionary and look up some of the words obama says, because define does not mean pulling out of iraq it is really a sham, go to HUFFINGTON POST WATCH THE VIDEO andrea mitchell of msnbc talk to GIBBS OBAMA'S COMPAIGN AID she sounds really pathetic

    July 7, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    this is NOT a trademark infringement. first of all, they are different; you cant copyright a concept.

    by his own (il)logic, farris also violated trademark rights cuz the bible also uses the concept of joshua generation.

    this is stupid, and they are wasint our next president's time with this nonsense!!!!

    July 7, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. Fairfax Voter

    Good Harvard lawyers like Obama are smart enough to know when it's worth going to court and when it's not.

    The Joshua Generation was a great name that recalled Obama's own speech at the 40th anniversary of the Selma protest, and the story of Joshua has been used for religious youth outreach long before the home-school defense league came along–it's a perennial.

    That said, why go to court when you can just pick a different name? Smart call and an appropriate response to the HSDL's concerns.

    As for Mike Farris, he is the former lieutenant governor of Virginia who believed the Wizard of Oz (the book) should not be included in public school libraries because it promotes satanism. Not exactly Mr. Mainstream.

    July 7, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. CW4Barak

    Now how are they going to take something from the bible and copyright it....the Joshua generation is from the bible, not this group that wanted to sue Obama....and clearly the names are different...but I guess that is more important for this so called "christian" group to stress than to be happy that another person wants to do something to extol the glory of God. Some "christians" you all are!!

    July 7, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. Janey/Michigan

    I'm' pleased that someone has finally called him on his numerous plagerisms. Does this man have ANY original ideas? If by chance he wins the election, I at least have the comfort of knowing that the Clintons will be running the show!

    July 7, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. Ratgurl

    Lawyers told them their suit was unjustifiable. Ha Ha!

    Trash, the lot of them.

    July 7, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. Scott D

    Yes, Obama stole 'Yes we can' along with "Hello, how are you doing" and "See you later". Christians threatening frivolous lawsuits, what a surprise. Well, I'm glad Obama didn't push it. There's nothing that Christians hate more than copyright infringement. I always thought that should have been the 11th commandment, don't know how God missed that one...

    July 7, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. Ratgurl

    Ron- democrat turned independent via HILLARY then obama:

    Um, what?

    July 7, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. Joshua

    It's a freaking name, people! Not worth fighting over. That's it, that's all. Besides, whoever heard of this group before hand. Personally, I should sue the group for stealing MY name.

    July 7, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. Jason L

    I wish these ultra religious folks would stay out of politics. I am sick of the Repulsican party shoving religion down America's throat every chance they get like Bush's illegal Faith Based Programs (violation of the 1st amendment). I guess since Obama is trying to reach out to everyone in this country through faith (whatever you believe) the Republican'ts must sue for HIM using their play book.. There is a reason why we have separation of church and state in the constitution, It's so government doesn't force religion upon anyone. .

    Christine, There is NO Christ, No Jesus, and you can't prove he existed. There is ZERO physical proof of it's existence. IF he was so great, why is there no cross? no nails? no crown of thorns? no hair saved of your precious savior? There are pharaohs who after 4000 years still have hair and skin in their coffins and their bodies preserved, and who are more revered than this fictitious person. I have read and studied the bible, grew up in a christian school, yet noone can prove his being on earth! Religious scholars will say, if it's in the bible, then its true. The bible was written 2 or 3 centuries after so-called Jesus' arriving on earth. If he was able to resurrect himself once, why hasn't he done so again, or is he still alive or did he die again as an impostor?

    July 7, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. Chris K

    At least the conservative group wasn't suing him for mentioning faith. They usually think they own the idea.

    I heard on Fox News that Karl Rove invented religion actually... although that doesn't seem quite right to me. I did hear he personally baptized W. though (to help get him elected).

    Wake up people! The republican party DOES NOT hold a monopoly on faith or values. All Americans share this. It's great to see Obama reaching out to these faith based groups. Together we can all build a better America for everyone.

    July 7, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. Sherri

    You would think they (Christian Activists) would be happy to have young people of their faith involved and engergized regardless of the name of the group. Isn't it time we all work together for a better America and world?

    Go Obama!

    July 7, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. mk

    If they would have sued, they would have completely lost any interest in their target group of young people. What kind of 'Christian' group threatens to sue over a similar (but not the same) name? There are only so many Joshuas, Johns, etc. in the Bible to be used as names for the entire world. They know this – they were just looking to stamp their disapproval on Obama in any way they can. Sounds like mind control to me..

    July 7, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. Orange County



    GENERATION CHANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 7, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    I had thought this would happen. I was surprised the suit was not thrown out of court as frivolous. It seemed as if the group felt that they owned names that are in the public domain. Or at the least, felt they were in charge of how biblical related names can and cannot be used.

    July 7, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  16. chas alabama

    It's time to start taxing these bible thumpers every time they start talking politics

    July 7, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  17. Stephanie

    David – I'm a republican – I don't stand for hate and agression, but it seems by your posting you do. Personally, as a Christian I don't see how someone could side with Obama over McCain – guess we all have our differences. Jesus "dint" stand for people condemming people they "dint" agree with, either.

    July 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. pam Eugene OR

    My Lord! You haters are so simple minded. You jump all over the smallest things to spew your hate. Give it a rest. You sure don't make me want to run and vote for John McCain will all you hate filled comments. You sound like little children name calling.
    I want to hear the good about both candidates to make an informed choice and all the garbage you throw against either candidate turns me off.
    Can't you defend your own own candidate with out ripping the other one apart. Stop the hate and blog with some grown up comments

    July 7, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    I guess the Obama team didn't want an issue out something that was not really an issue. Why spend money on a lawsuit that had no merit?

    There are churches in my area that have their own internal programs named Joshua Generation. Obama's campaign was an attempt to unite such groups. I wonder if this conservative group is aware of that these groups have existed long before their politically motivated group was formed.

    July 7, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Staunton, VA

    Trademarking the bible ... that's mighty Christian of them.

    The right wing has always pretended they owned it, but now they've come out and said so. "Our toy! Everyone else go away!" That's the cry of a two-year-old, not a mature Christian.

    I think I hear Jesus weeping.

    July 7, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Phil Newton, Murphy, OREGON

    Whom would Jesus sue?

    I didn't know fundamentalists had a copyright on the Word of God.

    July 7, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. Obama remorse

    Just another sneaky campaign tactic by Obama-
    Try to fool evangelicals looking for the previous organization into finding Obama's new organization, by inverting the two words.

    An Obvious ploy to steer evangelicals to Obama's site.

    With the publicity, people have now been made aware of the ploy... so it will no longer fool so many... so now Obama will just change the name.

    People... those are the slick, legal but unethical ways that Obama keeps using to disadvantage and eliminate his opponents.

    He is the dirtiest, slickest, sleaziest candidate of all time.

    July 7, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. Liar Obama

    Why is Obama pandering to the Evangelicals anyway... and trying to trick them to his site, rather than the original organization they are looking for, by naming his new organization almost identically?

    No... inverting the two key words doesn't make it alright- it is unethical, though not "illegal".

    And this pandering for votes and wanting to expand faith based funding is absurd.

    We need a clear separation of Church and state.

    Stay clear of the Obama.

    July 7, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. Texas Trail Dog

    TO DAVID – You're supporting OBAMA and claiming to be a Christian. I'll let that one go for it not for me to judge!!!


    'G.... DA.... WHITE AMERICA!!!

    GO OBAMA......................................................................STRAIGHT BACK TO THE ARABS WHO ARE YOUR BUDDIES and to your stupid supporters. All you other ethnic groups that are supporting this man must be ATHEISTS OR RETARDS.

    July 7, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. Lee, Mays Landing New Jersey

    The Home Schooling Movement is so sad. It's driven by a fear of society, and just a fear of modernism. No wonder most of them are "conservative" and ignorant. It's sad that America is so dysfunctional with ignorance and fear running rampant like this.

    July 7, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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