A Christian printing company is “respectfully declining” to publish the “diversity” issue of a magazine from the University of South Alabama, claiming its contents contradict the business’ faith-based values.
Sara Boone, editor-in-chief of the student-run magazine, Due South, said in a statement she found it “shocking” Interstate Printing refused to run copies of the issue.
“That was very shocking to me, considering this issue of Due South is about diversity and inclusion,” said Boone, according to Jag Media. “We are trying to showcase the differences that people have and not hide them under a rug.”
“We want to show that we are not ashamed that we have different lifestyles present in our community,” she continued. “For a company to decline to print a magazine with this purpose, I find it very ironic.”
Boone and her fellow staffers for Due South were able to find another printer, ensuring the magazine would be released as scheduled.
The magazine cover includes a Muslim woman as well as a drag queen. Boone told WPMI-TV the issue features stories “about body positivity, students with disabilities, religious diversity, but we also have stories on LGBTQ life and drag queens.” It was the stories about “LGBTQ life and drag queens,” Boone added, that she believes “triggered” Interstate Printing.
Tracey Smith, operations manager for Interstate Printing, defended the decision to decline the print job, saying, “It is our First Amendment right to say ‘no’ when it is against our sincerely held religious beliefs.”
On the “about us” page of the company’s website, it states, “We are a Christian company that will serve the Lord God Almighty in any way we can.”
As for the University of South Alabama, the school said in a statement it is “committed to the principles of freedom of expression and the exchange of different points of view.”
“We respect our students for having the courage of their convictions,” the statement continued. “At the same time, we also respect the rights of individuals and private businesses to make decisions that are consistent with their values. It is our hope that healthy and constructive dialogue can emerge from differing perspectives.”
Boone told AL.com that, though Interstate Printing declined to publish this current issue of Due South, which would have been a $5,000 job, the company’s staff told her they hope to work together again “in the future.”