Defamation: Jews For Jesus
VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu
Sat Jun 5 08:19:26 PDT 2004
I continue to be somewhat skeptical of the defamation claim, for reasons I mentioned before. But I don't think the examples below are quite analogous: Both of them involve statements of opinion about (1) how to characterize a person's beliefs, and (2) the spiritual consequences of those beliefs. They do not involve statements of fact about what indeed a person believes, which is what the allegation in this case is.
Taking this outside the religion area, the allegations in the Jews for Jesus case involving something like someone saying "X is a member of the Democratic Party" or "X has told me he always votes Democrat"; the examples below are like someone saying "X's beliefs aren't really compatible with what Democrats should believe" or "X's policies are lousy for this country."
From: religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu on behalf of Steven Jamar
Sent: Sat 6/5/2004 11:08 AM
To: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
Subject: Re: Defamation: Jews For Jesus
Would it be defamatory to assert, as many fundamentalist Christians do about others of different denominations, that a person who considers herself to be a Christian, is not one?
Would it be defamatory to assert, as some of my relatives do about me, that I am damned to hell because I don't believe what they believe?
It cannot be that every misstatement of another's beliefs is in fact defamatory.
Even if it is, I suspect the damages would be $1.00.
On Saturday, June 5, 2004, at 10:57 AM, Lawyer2974 at aol.com wrote:
Yesterday, June 4, plaintiff Edith Rapp issued an amended complaint in her lawsuit against Jews for Jesus.
The amended complaint still constains a defamation count, this time asserting that while it would not necessarily be defamatory to depict a Christian as belonging to a particular Christian denomination, it is defamatory for a Jew to be portrayed as a member of a Christian denomination when she is not Christian.
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