Friday, September 11, 2015

Office Depot Refuses Christian Customer: Illinois

When Maria Goldstein took her print order to the Office Depot in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois, she was turned away because the office supply store was “restricted by corporate policy” from reproducing a “religious flyer” with pro-life propaganda that criticizes Planned Parenthood.  Attorneys representing Goldstein have informed the big box retailer that their policy is a violation of “the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance, which forbids public businesses from discriminating based on religion.”

For background, read America Protests Planned Parenthood, Media Ignore

Click headlines below to read previous articles:

9th Circuit Court Forces Christians into Abortion Business

Harassment of Pro-lifers Costs Illinois City $$

Ohio College Pays $9,000 for Censoring Christian Speech

Christian Refused at Pro-gay-only Lunch Counter

Lesbian Government Official Nixes Christian Business at Denver Airport

Kansas Governor Protects Religious Liberty, Homosexualists Attack

Public Schools Ban Pro-life Student Clubs Across America

Persecuted Christians Testify at Iowa Rally for Religious Liberty

-- From "Office Depot in Schaumburg Accused of Religious Discrimination" posted at WMAQ-TV5 NBC Chicago 9/10/15

The demand letter [from Goldstein's attorneys] says Office Depot must “cease its unlawful refusal to service Ms. Goldstein’s copying order.” [Special counsel Thomas] Olp said if the company refuses, he will bring the issue before the Cook County Human Rights Commission or the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

Office Depot did not immediately respond to NBC Chicago’s request for comment but a spokeswoman for the company told the Chicago Tribune the company policy prohibits “the copying of any type of material that advocates any form of racial or religious discrimination or the persecution of certain groups of people.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Office Depot accused of religious discrimination" by Manya Brachear Pashman, Reporter, Chicago Tribune 9/10/15

Last month, Maria Goldstein, 42, ordered 500 copies of "A Prayer for the Conversion of Planned Parenthood" at an Office Depot in Schaumburg to distribute at her [Catholic] parish the following Sunday. The handout also included statistics about abortion in the U.S. and at Planned Parenthood, a non-profit organization that provides women's and reproductive health services.

The prayer, composed by the Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, an anti-abortion group, calls on God to "Bring an end to the killing of children in the womb, and bring an end to the sale of their body parts. Bring conversion to all who do this, and enlightenment to all who advocate it."

The prayer also decries "the evil that has been exposed in Planned Parenthood and in the entire abortion industry."

Thomas Olp, a lawyer for the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, a public interest law group that represents Goldstein, said the situation fits into the public accommodation laws that date back to when businesses refused to serve African-Americans and Jews.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Schaumburg store accused of refusing to copy anti-Planned Parenthood flier" by Eric Peterson, Daily Herald (suburban Chicago) 9/10/15

The Thomas More Society describes itself as a not-for-profit law firm that provides pro bono services aimed at restoring respect in law for life, family and religious liberty.

Goldstein said she already knew of the Thomas More Society and thought of them immediately when she felt she was facing religious discrimination.

"I know that they're strong defenders of religious freedom," she said.

Olp said that because Goldstein's flier has already been printed, Office Depot could make amends stating that such discrimination will never happen again. If such a statement is not made within five working days, Olp said he plans to file a complaint with the Cook County Human Rights Commission.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Office Depot Refuses To Print Anti-Planned Parenthood Flyers" by Casey Harper, Daily Caller 9/10/15

Office Depot may face a lawsuit after refusing to print flyers that criticize Planned Parenthood, saying the flyers “persecute” people who believe in abortion rights.

“When I tell people they’re shocked because this is America,” Goldstein told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Office Depot is trying to silence my freedom of speech and my freedom of religion.”

“This seems crazy,” Olp told TheDCNF. “To say that a prayer that calls for conversion and understanding and enlightenment is persecution, to call that persecution to me is the height of intolerance.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Charge: Office Depot refused Christian print job" by Bob Unruh, World Net Daily 9/10/15

“We suggest that you consider what your position would be if our client were black and your employees refused service because of her race,” said a letter to Office Depot Chairman Roland C. Smith from Thomas Olp of the Thomas More Society, which is representing the woman.

“In that case it would not be hard to see how unreasonable that refusal of service would be. The public accommodation laws do not give any greater leeway for refusal of service when a customer’s religious expression motivates the refusal. … Our laws welcome religion and religious expression, treat it fairly and equally, and do not permit its marginalization or silencing.”

[Olp] said if there is an employee with some sort of religious objection to the Christian statements, the company should accommodate that employee and find someone else to do the print job.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

UPDATE 9/12/15: From "Office Depot Retreats from Refusal to Print Pro-Life Prayer it Said Was ‘Hate Material’" by Terence P. Jeffrey,

The company explained its decision in a letter its assistant general counsel, Robert A. Amicone, sent Olp on Sept. 11.

“You also say that [the flyer] is ‘religious throughout in tone and content’ and ‘contains a prayer’ seeking an end to abortion,” said the Office Depot attorney in this letter. “You do not mention, however, certain language within the prayer that discusses ‘the killing of children in the womb’ and ‘the grisly trade in baby body parts.’

“Nor do you address the strong language presumably condemning those who perform and obtain abortions,” said the Office Depot letter. “Indeed, the prayer characterizes those individuals as ‘evil,’ and it advocates for the closure of the ‘death camps in our midst.’ It is this type of language that led to the decision to refuse you client’s copying request.”

“There are two provisions [of the company’s policy] applicable to this dispute,” explained the lawyer. “The first prohibits the copying of ‘graphic material,’ which can include descriptions of dead or dismembered bodies. The second provision prohibits the copying of ‘hate material’ that advocates for the persecution of groups of people, regardless of the reason.”

Goldstein’s flyer did not contain any illustrations—and called for the “conversion,” not persecution, of those who advocate aborting unborn children.

“To be clear,” said Office Depot’s lawyer, “Office Depot’s position is that the above-quoted language falls within the definition of ‘graphic material’ and/or ‘hate material,’ making the refusal to print the flyer appropriate.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

UPDATE 9/11/15: From "Office Depot apologizes over refusal to copy anti-abortion prayer" by Manya Brachear Pashman, Chicago Tribune

"We sincerely apologize to Ms. (Maria) Goldstein for her experience and our initial reaction was not at all related to her religious beliefs," Roland Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Office Depot, said in a statement. "We invite her to return to Office Depot if she still wishes to print the flier."

[Spokeswoman for Office Depot, Karen] Denning said a more detailed review of the flier determined that it was not a clear violation of the company's policy, which prohibits "the copying of any type of material that advocates any form of racial or religious discrimination or the persecution of certain groups of people."

Denning said the policy won't change but added that customers can use the self-service copy machines inside stores without being subject to the policy.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read ACLU Forces Catholic Hospital To Sterilize Woman

And read Gay American Courts Persecute Christian: Kim Davis