The University of South Alabama publishes a student-led magazine called “Due South,” and the latest issue was all about diversity and inclusion. It even included a story about drag culture in the city of Mobile, which I’m guess isn’t a topic that gets much attention from mainstream media. So more power to the students.
The Due South staff submitted the issue to a company called Interstate Printing — along with the $5,000 printing fee — expecting them to send back hard copies of the publication, as they’ve done for the past few years.
That’s not what happened.
This time, the company’s owners sent back a letter saying they wouldn’t publish the magazine “after reviewing the subject matter.” Apparently, it went against their Christian values… which I can only assume includes learning.
The company’s website says it’s “a Christian company that will serve the Lord God Almighty in any way we can.” Unless, of course, someone asks them to publish stories about LGBTQ people, in which case the promise to God no longer applies. The website doesn’t explicitly say what they will and won’t print. But according to Jag Media, the university’s student-run media group, business owner Dewey Phillips has all kinds of anti-Muslim bigotry on his personal Facebook page.
While the university hasn’t officially cut ties to the company, the Due South staff has found another printer for its issue. So it will come out soon.
But what the hell is going on with these Christians? A local NBC affiliate went to the company’s building and tried to speak with someone there. They ended up getting a passive aggressive dismissal from a woman named Tracey Smith, who said with all the charm of a rabid Rottweiler, “And you find it necessary to be here because?” (Because you’re a bigot, Tracey. That’s why.)
The only substantive thing she said was that it was her “First Amendment right” to say no. That’s still up in the air, legally speaking, but it would at least be helpful to know what the principle in play is. Do they not publish positive portrayals of gay people? Do they hate drag queens? What in the issue violated their beliefs?
If the company won’t publish a student publication covering the LGBTQ community, they should at least put up a sign on the door saying “Christian Bigots Inside” so potential customers don’t have to waste their time doing business with such hateful people. By refusing to do that, they’re just lying to the public — which you would think also violates some Christian principle.
(Screenshot via WPMI. Thanks to Brian and William for the link)