Sunday, April 12, 2015

Intolerance & Freedom

Recently in Springfield, MO, the City Council voted to add protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people, they would be considered a protected class of people just like for race, religion and gender. As you can imagine, the conservative city sitting in the "buckle of the Bible belt" didn't agree with their leadership. It didn't take long to obtain enough signatures to vote on a repeal, and win the repeal, although by a slim margin.

Not living in Springfield, I didn't have a vote to give. However, owning a business in Springfield, I did have a horse in the race.


A bookseller being told what kinds of books they have to sell.

An artist being told what he can and cannot paint.

An actor being forced to act in roles he has no interest in.

A singer being made to perform songs that offend her.

Is that freedom? And yet it is exactly what some of the “tolerant left” are demanding from their governments. 

So do I think it's permissible to refuse to serve a gay, lesbian or transgender person? Absolutely not! I believe God created all men equal and it is a personal life goal of mine to love others and to make them feel loved. We have customers that fall into this category and we always treat them with love and respect.

Why then have we recently been targeted by the LGBT community? Why have we been called "disgusting, intolerant and on the discriminatory bandwagon?" Why have we been harassed through phone calls, Facebook messages and "naughty lists?"

Because as a company that strives to honor our Creator God, we will not design or print shirts that have a message that we feel contradicts His words.

We have many times and while sacrificing profit, chose to turn down orders containing alcohol or drug references, any concept of hate, gambling promotions, adult content, profane language and.... LGBT matters.

Does that mean we won't print for an alcoholic? No! Just not a design that promotes alcohol.

Does that mean we won't print for a prostitute? No! Just not a design that promotes prostitution.

Does that mean we won't print for a bigot? No! Just not a design showing hate to others.

It boils down to this...

If a vegan restaurant owner refused to add bacon to a woman's salad, would it be discriminating against her? Of course not. The Vegan does not offer bacon because of his beliefs. We do not offer designs that contradict God's laws... because of our beliefs.

Do we have the freedom to honor our religious beliefs?  Can we expect others to be tolerant of our beliefs?

I did not hunt down a gay person and tell them I thought their lifestyle was wrong.... and yet I've been hunted down and told my beliefs are wrong, and even told I was going to hell.

I did not tell the lesbian she doesn't have the freedom to be gay, and yet I was told I don't have the freedom to honor what my religion calls for. 

I did not tell the transgender person their community was wrong in how they interpret their traditions & customs, and yet I was told I was wrong in how I interpret my Bible.

Who believes in freedom for everyone? Who is practicing bigotry & intolerance?

I know people don’t equate T-shirts with fine art, but it’s how we express ourselves. And some of the very people who claim to uphold artistic freedom have no qualms dictating to bakers, florists and photographers how they should expend their creative abilities and talents. But they need to carefully consider what they are arguing for. They need to ask themselves if giving the government the power to force people to act against their conscience could ever affect an issue they care about.

We are free. We were born free—endowed by our Creator—and we would that everyone know the increased freedom that comes from living a life guided by Jesus Christ. Not everyone will, not everyone wants to, but that will not change the truth. The phone calls, bullying and harassment only cause us to turn to Christ, Who suffered exceedingly more for us.


Margo Long said...

Our redemption draweth nigh. I love the Lord and I appreciate your compassionate address of the issue that people tend to think only involves Springfield citizens, but it is already impacting the lives of Americans outside the city limits.

God is good to all people, all the time whether they accept Him or reject Him, but it will always be His terms.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such a well written piece. As a fellow Christian and business owner, I feel the same way and had the very same concerns on the matter. I share your stance and appreciate how you have articulated your thoughts.

Erin McSweeney said...

I'll agree to disagree...being a prostitute is illegal hence don't write or do anything to promote that business, being gay is not illegal hence you take the business and carry on.

I am a Christian, however I have a big problem with people picking and choosing out of the bible what they are going to agree with and also says an eye for an eye, however I'm going to think that you don't believe that what is done to one person should be done back to the other in the exact same manner as a form of punishment.

I wish that everybody could just accept each person for who they are, and worry about God judging them and us as humans just being the accepting humans God created.

Anonymous said...

If I were LGBT, which I am not, I would flat out refuse to spend my money at a place that was obviously against my lifestyle and I would tell everyone I know not to shop there. Why spend good money to keep a business open that doesn't like you when you can spend it at another store that not only willingly takes my money, but believes as I do that God created all as we are, and since He doesn't make mistakes ever, then who am I to judge what others do, wear, or in this case want printed? As a straight, married Christian woman, I refuse to shop at any store who speaks out against LGBT.

I realize you think you are being tolerant, but you are merely painting bigotry in a different color and calling it love and tolerance. Bigotry, no matter what paint brush it is stroked with is still bigotry. One Christian to another, this is likely why you have been targeted, even though I still believe they should just boycott. Forcing you to print is giving you money for services which I would never do.

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

I'm relieved Creator Designs has the courage to stand up for God's Word. I love their work and know God will honor their faithfulness and integrity. How ridiculous would it be if they started printing designs that contradicted the Word of God? If they compromised, it would put a price tag on their morals and dilute their witness; turning them into "Christians" who support the LGBT lifestyle. Thank you, Creator Designs. I will continue to bring my business to you.

Justin Tapp said...

You probably are well aware, but Hands-On Originals in Lexington, KY refused to print t-shirts for a gay pride parade in 2012 and the city ruled against them. They've appealed and are represented by an Arizona firm. They'd probably share their experience with you.

Anonymous said...

These are courageous words— thoughtful, insightful, compassionate, compelling and respectful. If anyone chooses to leave with the opinion that you “hate” the LGBT community, then they obviously missed the point of your message. May you and your business continue to shine truth and love!

Anonymous said...

The bigotry against Christians is astounding

Anonymous said...

No matter how others react to you, you are doing the right thing (as you know) and we are all responsible before God to uphold His word. I commend you and as someone who has known your family in past times, I can say that you all live up to what you respresent: Jesus Christ. Thank you for being a witness to Him that shows His love. Thank you for standing up for what is right. God will honor you for it. Keep strong. You are faithful people.

FYI-the link from facebook is not working. I had to go to your website by typing it in. (I know others who have had things changed or even removed from facebook when it contained content that people were offended by - i.e. Christian rights, etc.)

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