Faith

Pro-Life Prayer is a No-Go

Woman turned away at a printing office for her religious message

Christians and their deeply held religious beliefs apparently are not afforded the same rights as those who cry foul based on their sexual identity — at least according to a case that has recently come to light.

Last month employees of an Office Depot in Schaumberg, Illinois, told Maria Goldstein, a Roman Catholic, that they would not print her flyer entitled “Prayer for Planned Parenthood.” The flier included detailed abortion statistics and included a prayer, written by Rev. Frank Pavone, the national director of the anti-abortion group Priests for Life.

An Office Depot representative said the prayer advocated the “persecution” of people who support Planned Parenthood.

Goldstein placed a 500-copy print order, which they refused to complete, stating it would violate company policy.

“I feel discriminated against,” Goldstein told the Associated Press. Now, the large office supply chain has issued an apology and invited her back to complete her order.

“The intention of the prayer is to ask for conversion,” she also said. “The conversion of staff, employees, everybody who is a part of Planned Parenthood. It means they will recognize that life has dignity and is valuable and not a commodity to be bought and sold.”

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An Office Depot representative told the local newspaper that the prayer advocated the “persecution” of people who support Planned Parenthood.

Thomas Olp, a lawyer for the Thomas More Society, is representing Goldstein in the flyer-printing controversy.

“The public accommodation laws were passed precisely to prevent businesses like Office Depot, who service the general public, from refusing service on the basis of race and other invidious reasons including religion, religious practice, and religious expression,” Olp wrote in a letter to the chairman of Office Depot, Roland C. Smith.

This comes at a time when Christian businesses such as bakeries and wedding planners have been forced to cater to gay customers or be penalized, and a county clerk in Kentucky was jailed several weeks ago for not issuing a marriage license to a gay couple because it went against her religious beliefs.

When Goldstein first called the office of Office Depot’s chairman to complain, staffer Diana Demma told her that “if it makes employees feel uncomfortable they don’t have to print something,” according to the Associated Press.

“We stand against the evil that has been exposed in Planned Parenthood and in the entire abortion industry.”

The flyer included details of controversial videos about Planned Parenthood’s reprehensible efforts to sell baby body parts. It also included a prayer called “Prayer for the conversion of Planned Parenthood,” which read, “Lord for whom all things are possible, We are confronted once again today with the evil of the abortion industry and the corruption found in the world’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood.”

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It continued, “We stand against the evil that has been exposed in Planned Parenthood and in the entire abortion industry. We stand today for the triumph of truth over falsehood, of light over darkness, and of life over death.”

“We suggest that you consider what your position would be if our client were black and your employees refused service because of her race,” Olp also said in his letter to the chairman, according to losangeles.cbslocal.com.

He continued, “We believe that by allowing and ratifying your employees’ refusal to serve Ms. Goldstein because of their hostility to and disagreement with her flyer, you have unlawfully discriminated against Ms. Goldstein because of her religion and religious expression within the meaning of the Cook County Human rights ordinance and the Illinois Human Rights Act.”

Olp added, “We do hope this matter can be resolved short of legal action.”

Related: Planned Parenthood Outrage

Office Depot changed its tune Friday, issuing a statement that read, “We sincerely apologize to Ms. (Maria) Goldstein for her experience and our initial reaction was not at all related to her religious beliefs,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

“We invite her to return to Office Depot if she still wishes to print the flyer,” the statement continued.

Americans are taking notice of Christian discrimination. Almost 50 percent of Americans believe discrimination against Christians in the U.S. has become as big of a problem as discrimination against other ethnic and religious groups, according to a new survey published by the Public Religion Research Institute.

Will Goldstein pursue a case against Office Depot? She is unsure, but said she is turning to her faith.

“I need to take a step back and pray about it,” she said about the chairman’s response, according to the Tribune.

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