The latest victim of a religion-based refusal is none other than a church.
Yes, you read that correctly.
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Fargo, N.D., was looking for a new logo. So it reached out to a local company, Custom Graphics Inc., to discuss its needs.
Initially, the meetings seemed to go well. At an early get together with Custom Graphics to discuss the rainbow logo, the church said no objections were raised.
“Everyone was on board. They were really excited about it,” Adam Johnston, a member of St. Mark’s council, told The Bismarck Tribune. “And then within a week, we get an email saying, ‘Nope, we’re done. We’re not doing it.’”
The source of the service denial seems to be Custom Graphics General Manager Zach Paxton, who decided he didn’t want the LGBT-friendly church’s job.
“The business was declined respectfully,” Paxton told the newspaper. “I didn't mean any offense by it or anything like that.”
Paxton added that he would have no problem doing other work for the church, but felt he had to draw the line because the rainbow would support a LGBT “agenda.”
“If they would come with something to be manufactured or such, no problem,” he said. “But this is trying to come up with a logo and help them come up with ways to promote their agenda.”
In an amusing twist, Custom Graphics’ own logo happens to contain rainbow colors. Paxton apparently lacks a sense of irony.
He also lacks a sense of perspective. Paxton seems to feel he did not discriminate against the church, thoughThe Tribune did not elaborate on why he feels that way.
Fortunately, not everyone agrees. That includes at least one state lawmaker – and Paxton’s boss.
Paxton admitted to the newspaper that his boss (a relative) didn’t agree with the service refusal and intended to issue an apology to the church.
But that may not be the end of the story. State Rep. Joshua Boschee (D-Fargo), the state’s first openly gay lawmaker, encouraged the church to file a report with the North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights – even though the state does not currently ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“We don’t allow businesses to say that they’re not going to design a graphic for someone who is Muslim or someone who is disabled or someone that’s a single parent because we recognize that that’s just a form of discrimination that’s not a North Dakota value,” he told The Tribune.
While we don’t know yet how this situation will turn out, it is certainly notable even among the many reported instances of religion-based refusals. When a Christian church is discriminated against for not being the “right kind” of Christian, it shows that there really is no limit to the Religious Right’s intolerant game.
Let’s hope that Paxton’s boss gives bigotry the boot and gives St. Mark’s the logo it sought.