Utah Company Refuses to Print Shirts for Atheist Group

The Atheists of Utah (unofficial motto: Yes, we exist!) wanted to get t-shirts printed for the upcoming Pride Parade — the theme is “Gotta Be Real” — but the Christian owners of TIKI Printing refused to do business with them after seeing the atheists’ back-of-the-shirt message: “Gotta Be Real Cuz God Ain’t!”

The owners of TIKI Printing in West Valley are Christian and found the message a personal attack on their faith. “We weren’t going to be the delivery method for that message that demeaned our beliefs,” TIKI Printing owner Sam Saltzman said.

Atheists of Utah say refusing to print the shirts is discrimination.

“I found it quite shocking that an organization that stated that they were Christian would not do business with someone because they were not Christian,” said Connie Anast with Atheists of Utah. She says her group is being unfairly singled out by TIKI.

So, saying God isn’t real is now an “attack” on the Christian faith? It’s a difference of opinion, yes, but hardly an attack.

The rejection is especially interesting when you consider some of the designs TIKI Printing has been perfectly fine with. Violence, marijuana references, and sexual innuendos are okay but suggesting God doesn’t exist is a problem…

This is a company, by the way, that makes no reference to Jesus on their website or Facebook page. They have no “We don’t print atheist t-shirts” sign on the door.

The Atheists of Utah are weighing their legal options right now.

***Edit***: The Atheists of Utah had an awesome shirt for the Pride Parade in 2011 (via @LibAthe80):



About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • primenumbers

    Sounds like a very clear case of anti-atheist discrimination that necessitates legal action.

  • http://www.facebook.com/janice.clanfield Janice Clanfield

    How about a nice big fat lawsuit?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    It is pure and simple religious discrimination.

    It is probably illegal, just as it would be illegal for a privately owned restaurant to serve all members of the public except for blacks or Jews.

    A business that is open to the public can not legally refuse to do business with you based on your race or your religious beliefs.

    • ortcutt

      “All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal and are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, goods and services in all business establishments and in all places of public accommodation, and by all enterprises regulated by the state of every kind whatsoever, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, ancestry or national origin.” Utah Code Ann. § 13-7-3

      http://le.utah.gov/code/TITLE13/htm/13_07_000300.htm

      • Jennifer Ferguson

        I disagree with your reading of this law in this case. What the t-shirt company is doing is refusing to provide a service, the service of printing a t-shirt that states that god does not exist, equally to all people. An example of discrimination would be refusing to sell any t-shirt that they would be comfortable selling to another group to an atheists or group of atheists.

        • ortcutt

          So, a print shop that refused to print a Haggadah would be in their rights because they would refuse to do so regardless of the religion of the customer? Only Jews want to print Haggadot. What about refusing to print T-shirts with a civil rights message for the NAACP on the grounds that you wouldn’t print civil rights t-shirts for anyone?

        • William Snedden

          Sorry, but that’s the same failed logic that supports the “gays already have marriage rights…they can marry someone of the opposite sex just like anyone else!” It doesn’t work there and it doesn’t work here.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

          By your logic here, a white supremacist owning a printing shop could refuse to print items that say “Black people are just as nice as white people”, as long as he equally refused to print such items for anyone, regardless of their color?

  • A3Kr0n

    Maybe they can start their own t-shirt business.

    • Persephone

      And make their own water fountains.

      • http://twitter.com/reasonablequest Reasonable Quest

        Your analogy doesn’t work because the business said they were happy to print shirts for the group, just not that particular message. You can’t force someone else to aid you to producing speech that they disagree with.

  • observer

    How does one “attack” God?

    • GCT

      With iron chariots.

    • Kay Aitch

      I guess you attack an imaginary creature with imaginary weapons.

    • Billy

      Shadow boxing?

    • baal

      Sodomy between consenting adults in private spaces.

      • Matt Delemos

        Man, am I ever tired of hearing “Sodomy” used to describe my sex life.

        • baal

          Apologies, it’s the biblical term and there was another post recently of a right winger going nuts about how god is injured by the various non-PIV act that the term covers. OTOH, woot! sodomy. I’m quite fond of it’s various versions.

          • Matt D

            No worries, I’d already assumed you weren’t being derogatory, I was just venting my irritation at how long that term has persisted.

    • ~SoACTing

      Funny how God apparently uses TIKI Printing to protect him from attack, but can’t bother to use his super-dee-dooper-god-like magical powers to protect us mere humans from his evil creation, Satan. But what’s an all powerful, perfecly just, infinite, loving god to do?? Lol!

      ~ SoACTing

    • Leiningen’s Ants

      A big honkin’ +5 sword, and a very good dice roll.

  • Eric Burkhardt

    What burns me up is the owner stating that the message on the shirt is offensive and demeaning to his religion. How is having a different belief offensive? If that is the case, then his religious beliefs are offensive to me! True Believers have a warped sense of offense.

  • C Peterson

    I’m continually astonished at just how weak the belief systems of many religious people are, that just the suggestion of different ideas is seen as an attack.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      nah, i’m not. scratch the surface of a fundie and you’ll find doubt, strong and real disbelief. i am convinced that the harder they have to pray and proclaim their belief, the more likely it is they know it’s all bs and that nobody is on the other end of the prayer line except for hucksters and con artists looking to relieve them of money.

      but yeah. god sure is a weak, scared little bitch, if he can’t take a couple of t-shirts.

      if this had happened to xtians, you know it’d be on the nightly news for a week.

      • pinkcatmint

        Very true! I’d like to see an atheist owned shop refuse to make a religious t-shirt, cake, or other item because they don’t agree with the customers religion and see how that goes. The religious customers would make a huge stink about it, guaranteed!

        • Randay

          If I were in the business, I would print Xian shirts. It’s business, though I would draw the line at statements promoting guns or violence even ones from the Bible of which there are too many.

      • C Peterson

        Of course, you are right. It was just a figure of speech. Given the intrinsic weakness of religious belief systems, which can’t hold up to even the most casual of analysis, there is really no surprise at all how easily those who hold such beliefs feel threatened by contradictory ideas.

  • John

    I’ve got to say so what? The owner of this shirt company has the right to refuse a job for any reason he or she chooses. Atheism just crossed the line. They have other controversial t shirts? The shirt company is hypocritical? A hypocritical business man? STOP THE PRESSES! Again, so what?

    If this same company refused to print Nazi shirts or KKK shirts or other white supremacy shirts, must of us would applaud them. If they refused a job for the Westboro Baptism Church, we’d admire them.

    Just go to another shirt company. There are plenty of them around. Making a big deal about this is petty.

    • JKPS

      You’re comparing atheism to the KKK, Nazis, and Westboro. I don’t really see that as a valid comparison.

      • John

        I don’t compare atheism with the Nazis or the KKK, but a religious person from Utah might. That was my point.

        • JKPS

          Okay, fine. A religious person might make the erroneous comparison between an atheist and a Nazi or white supremacist or whatever. And because of that, we’re supposed to be okay with someone not wanting to print atheist shirts – shirts that are not even a little morally reprehensible – because of a faulty comparison. I think not.

        • Spuddie

          Only those religious people who are complete and total idiots.

          Your point is that we should do things according to what idiots think?

    • Persephone

      You’re an idiot and a liar. If you look a little further up the page, you’ll notice the paragraph posted from Utah Code Ann. § 13-7-3 about an hour and twenty-five minutes before your post, which makes it quite plain that the actions of the shop were against the law.

      Your comparison of atheism to the KKK, white supremacy, and WBC is disingenuous and disgusting.

      You should be ashamed of the way you have behaved.

      • John

        Really? This is your response? I step a little out of the Party Line and suggest that a t-shirt shop owner also has a right to choose and I’m an idiot and a liar? Liar? I expressed an opinion. Where did I lie? As for being ashamed, I’M not the one calling other people names.

        • Persephone

          What you “suggest” has been ruled by courts as discrimination so many times and in so many jursidictions that someone would need to be a complete fool to say it out loud. It is discrimination on its face. If you want to pretend that there’s a controversy, you’re either an idiot for not knowing this or for not being able to think it out on your own based on the wording of the law and the actions of the proprietors, or you’re deliberately muddying the waters. You’re an idiot and a liar.

          By the way, your opinion is wrong. Dead wrong. You’re entitled to your opinion, yes, but it’s a stupid one.

          • ShoeUnited

            So, why can’t I find any of Dawkin’s books in a Christian book store?

            • DavidMHart

              I would expect because books are not persons (and thus not the beneficiaries of anti-discrimination laws), and bookstores are not able to stock every book in print. If a Christian bookstore was refusing to serve atheists – let’s say they had a sign saying ‘we can order any book for you’ and they then refused to order a Dawkins book for an atheist customer, that would be different.

              • http://twitter.com/reasonablequest Reasonable Quest

                t shirts are not persons either. The shop refused to print the message on the shirt. The are not refusing to do any business at all with atheists.

                • DavidMHart

                  No, but they did refuse to do this bit of business with this group of atheists, and it looks a lot like they did so because of the fact that they are atheists.

                  Of course, if they are generally friendly and cooperative with explicitly atheist activists, but just happen to object to this particular message then I don’t know if Utah law allows them a loophole – and it would be interesting to know what pro-atheist messages they wouldn’t print (for instance, if they were asked to print t-shirts just with the front message, i.e. just the name of the group, would they have done so?), but I’d have thought that a business which prints messages on t-shirts has implicitly bought into the obligation to print messages that they might disagree with when it is a message in favour of a legally protected group. If your business is printing messages, it is very hard to refuse to print messages for protected-group customers without refusing service to those protected-group customers, simply by virtue of the kind of message such protected-group customers are likely to want to have printed. Again – call for Utah legal specialists here?

            • Jennifer Ferguson

              Because they wouldn’t sell to the majority of they people who walk
              through the door. You don’t go to a Christian book store to buy biology
              text books. For the record not all Christians are Creationists.

        • ortcutt

          It’s not about a party line. It’s about the law. If you don’t like the law, you’re free to try to get it repealed, but no one is free to simply ignore the law. Ignorance of the law is also no excuse. If you’re under the mistaken belief that any business can refuse service for any reason, please disabuse yourself.

          • http://twitter.com/reasonablequest Reasonable Quest

            The law about requiring someone to serve people of all race and religions, doesn’t trump free speech law. It is one thing to serve people and another to be forced to produce and aid a message you object to. The business is rejecting the message, not the customer. There is a difference, but most of the commenters on this thread are starting to sound more like Christians with a persecution complex than rational people who value freedom of speech.

            • GCT

              There is a difference, but most of the commenters on this thread are starting to sound more like Christians with a persecution complex than rational people who value freedom of speech.

              Can we dispense with the bullshit tropes and make actual arguments please.

        • DougI

          The Supreme Court already settled this issue and thought your adoration of Jim Crow laws had no place in America.

    • Nilanka15

      Printing Nazi/KKK messages would be promoting hate crime, which has nothing to do with the atheism messages. Apples and oranges.

    • DavidMHart

      If this same company refused to print Nazi shirts or KKK shirts or other
      white supremacy shirts, must of us would applaud them. If they refused a
      job for the Westboro Baptism Church, we’d admire them.

      Unfortunately, whether we’d applaud them for refusing to print those shirts is a different question from whether it would be legal for them to refuse. I’m no expert on American law here – perhaps someone else can fill me in? – but I strongly suspect that the same laws that prevent the shirtworks from refusing atheist clients also prevent them from refusing crazy bigot clients, and that this is the price of free speech, and it’s still a price worth paying – so long as the crazy bigots are not having shirts printed up that would constitute speech that was not legally protected, such as incitements to violence.

      • Peter

        The case of Nazi or KKK shirts is fairly different, legally. In general, businesses do have the right to refuse to do business with you for arbitrary reasons. They could, for example, legally say “We don’t want to print shirts with pictures of dogs, because personally, I hate dogs,” or in most states could probably say “I don’t want to do business with you because you’re transgendered.” However, states have laws listings specific reasons that they can’t refuse service. That list of reasons varies from state to state, but in all states includes things like race and religion. Discrimination against atheists is discrimination on the basis of religious belief, or lack thereof. Discrimination based on ideology is, in most cases, permissible, so would allow discrimination against KKK shirts.

        One complication here is that it’s arguable that the Printing Company has a First Amendment right not to be compelled to produce speech that they disagree with. This argument has been made by respectable legal sources, but not, AFAIK, been accepted by any court.

    • ortcutt

      As it turns out, companies don’t have a right to refuse a job for any reason. Utah has an anti-discrimination statute that prohibits “discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, ancestry or national origin”. Any business owner who thinks that he or she can refuse a job for any reason needs to get better acquainted with the law.

    • GCT

      So, apparently you think discrimination is something to be shrugged off? Standing up for one’s rights is petty?

    • lorimakesquilts

      No, a business that is open to the public does not have the right to refuse service for any reason. See the citation above for the specifics from the Utah Code.

    • SeekerLancer

      Racists aren’t a legally protected group in discrimination cases. Atheism which falls under the banner of religious belief (or lack-there-of) does.

      On a personal level I agree with you. Screw them if they don’t want our business we’ll go to someone who does. On a legal level they are at fault though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sheila.galliart Sheila Galliart

    I jogged on over to their FB page and left a few comments.

  • Kay Aitch

    It is nothing but discrimination and hate disguised as religion, again. This is becoming frighteningly common in the United States. Se this story about how nonbelievers were disciminated against in a memorial for the Boston Marathon bombing victims – and the hateful comments about standing up about it. http://kaytheatheist.blogspot.com/2013/05/i-know-this-story-is-not-precisely.html

  • ShoeUnited

    I’m actually fine with a Xian owned business denying someone based on discrimination. A business does have the right to refuse business, and people shouldn’t be forced to accept something they don’t. I know it’s obtuse and harsh, but I don’t have a problem with what the company did. As atheists, we shouldn’t be making a stink about this sort of thing. We’ve no more right to force them to do business with us than they’d have a right to go to some atheist shop and force them to make a ton of religious objects.

    And apparently, the Xian business was ok with some of it and felt a line is crossed. Freedom of religion and respect for our fellow humans means allowing them to run their privately owned business and have their belief system in whatever means they think is best. We don’t have to agree with it, but we certainly should set an example and tolerate that they work a certain way.

    Chik-Fil-A caught a lot of hell for their religious tones. But what we as people can do is stop consuming Chik-Fil-A. The company doesn’t OWE us any more than I owe the company a weekly chicken sandwich. I can simply eat elsewhere. McDonald’s copied their trademark sandwich and it is quite tasty. I don’t buy music at Wal-Mart either, because they edit their music for the religious right (even if an official edited version doesn’t exist).

    If a company refuses to do service with me, then I go to another company. Religion is for sale, you and I both know that they always try to sell you on a Jesus line. But Religion also has a price and that’s set on how much they actually care about their convictions. Some people’s God is cheaper than other people’s.

    • ortcutt

      “A business does have the right to refuse business, and people shouldn’t be forced to accept something they don’t.”

      That’s not actually true. See the comments above.

    • Persephone

      “I’m actually fine with a Xian owned business denying someone based on discrimination.”
      Holy shit, you’re terrible. I mean, seriously terrible. You’re an apologist for discrimination. Also, almost everything you said after your first sentence was wrong, either factually or ethically.

      • Kevin

        No, ShoeUnited is advocating for property rights. Something you clearly don’t give a damn about. I abhor discrimination, but I don’t own this store so I shouldn’t be able to dictate how they run their business. You may have the law on your side, but the law is wrong. If I ran a printshop I’d refuse to print creationist or anti-gay literature because I will not help someone promote ignorance and hate. But you’d have them punish me for using my property as I see fit.

        It’s so nice that you and those like you are around to tell people how to run the businesses that they put their time, energy, and money into building. You know, those businesses that don’t belong to you or anyone else.

        • DougI

          Hey, if you don’t like the Constitution then you are free to go to a country that doesn’t have something annoying like our 14th Amendment.

          • http://twitter.com/Outcast_Kyle Outcast Kyle

            that’s so a typical christian answer. “if you you don’t like our country git the hell out of ‘murica!”

            • DougI

              What a pathetic response, there was nothing Christian in my post. You reek of desperation to justify blatant anti-American bigotry.

              • http://twitter.com/Outcast_Kyle Outcast Kyle

                Yeah, because “this is a christian nation, if you don’t like it go live to afghanistan” is so different of what you said.

                • GCT

                  I fail to see what is stupid about saying that people are not allowed to discriminate based on certain characteristics. As I said previously, this didn’t work out so well in the Jim Crow days, did it?

                • http://twitter.com/reasonablequest Reasonable Quest

                  We agree that people shouldn’t be able to discriminate simply because of who a person is, but they should be able to refuse to promote speech that they oppose. I’m really surprised rational people can’t comprehend the distinction.

                • GCT

                  The speech they are opposing is basically a statement of what atheism is. Saying there are no gods is now “offensive?” No, it’s a statement about the atheist position. By saying, “We won’t print that,” they’re throwing up a heckler’s veto over any atheist position and de facto refusing to serve atheists.

                • http://twitter.com/Outcast_Kyle Outcast Kyle

                  It worked pretty well for the people who weren’t just mediocre. It’s not Jim Crow’s fault that some people weren’t able to organize themselves and depended on the intelligence and achievements of the white man.

                • GCT

                  Take your racist shit somewhere else.

                • http://twitter.com/Outcast_Kyle Outcast Kyle

                  Truth hurts, doesn’t it? To bad you’re not someone that can give me orders, you little nazi.

                • DougI

                  Responding to something I didn’t say, quite brilliant. Guess you got me there.

          • Kevin

            I love the 14th Amendment! But unfortunately for your position it only applies to the government. It makes no mention of private businesses. Nothing in the Constitution supports anti-discrimination laws.

            • DougI

              The Supreme Court disagrees with you. The Commerce Clause grants the Congress the right to control interstate commerce and the 14th Amendment greats equal protection under the law. So to deny a group the right to commerce based upon their religious affiliation, or lack thereof, is, as the Supreme Court decided on numerous occasions, unconstitutional.

              • Kevin

                Yes, the Supreme Court, cowed by FDRs court packing threats, agreed that all commerce is interstate commerce, even if takes place within a single state or only affects a single person. And rather than just regulate it, the government decided that all public businesses are an extension of the federal government and therefore subject to the 14th Amendment.

                The commerce clause is not a blank check and the state doesn’t own everything. Somewhere we lost sight of that.

                • DougI

                  No claim in the Commerce clause or the Supreme Court decisions says the government owns everything. Regardless, businesses today don’t exist without engaging in interstate commerce. The shirt company in question probably gets it’s supplies from outside Utah (Utah not being a huge cotton producer) and benefits from taxpayer provided commons such as roads, etc. for which the courts say they have no right to freeload from the taxpayer and must, as a result of living in this country, provide access to those very people who make this business possible.

      • ShoeUnited

        So, if I ran a publishing house, and the State of Texas wants me to print creationism in school science books because I’m the cheapest publisher; then I’d have to print them otherwise it’s discrimination against a group. If a group of skinheads come in and want me to print a bunch of t-shirts that say “Kill the Nips” or “Down with Papists” I think I should have a right to refuse. According to you, I’d better get those silk screens ready, because otherwise I’m discriminating.

        I’m not for discrimination, I’m for personal liberties and property rights. Nobody has the right to force me to support Xianity. And I don’t have the right to force people to accept Atheism. That’s why we have debates and arguments. It’s not to force people to conform or die, it’s to give a reasoned argument in hopes that they’ll see why my side is better for everyone. Tolerance is a two way street.

        The moment we force privately owned businesses to conform to something they may not agree with, we’ve lost the moral high ground. We’ve become the people we’ve got a problem with. Freedom goes for EVERYONE in this country, even the ones we don’t agree with or are plain batshit insane. I may not like how they think, but they have a right to think.

        You’ve missed the forest for the trees here. I suggest you reevaluate. All you have to do, is reverse the situation. If you look at a situation and one you support but the inverse you hate, then your morals are in question. Morality should treat everyone equally. It’s not about supporting an opinion, it’s about supporting rights.

        • GCT

          It would help if you actually understood what a “protected class” is.

          And, let’s explore your idea. Restaurant owners don’t like blacks? They shouldn’t have to serve them, right? I mean, it’s their property rights. Don’t they have the freedom to refuse service based on skin color? Your ideas enable bigotry.

          • http://twitter.com/reasonablequest Reasonable Quest

            Your analogy is wrong. It would be like if a black person wanted the restaurant to put up a poster on their bulletin board that said “god doesn’t exist”, the restaurant refusing, and the black person claiming the reason they refused to put up the poster is because they are black instead of the real reason, which is because the object to promoting speech they disagree with.

          • Kevin

            The First Amendment’s right to free speech also enables bigotry. It says you can hold whatever opinion you want even if it’s discriminatory. Property rights should be no different.

            • GCT

              True about the 1st amendment. I should have said “discrimination” instead of bigotry. Property rights do not trump discrimination rights, however, when the property rights in question are part of a public service. And, when people open businesses to the public, they become subject to those anti-discrimination laws. It’s part of the cost of doing business.

              • Kevin

                I really want to understand why owning a business open to the public nullifies my right to decide what to do with my property. If my Christian neighbor wants to borrow a cup of sugar, I’m free to refuse because I don’t like Christians. It would make me an asshole, but it’s my sugar. But if I own a store and that same sugar is on a shelf then suddenly I no longer get to decide what I can do with it. I honestly do not understand that distinction.

                • GCT

                  Yes. If a Xian comes in to buy sugar, you can’t refuse service to them based on their religion. That’s because your business is operating in the public sector whereas your house is completely private.

                  Think about the Jim Crow era in the south. If we decided that business owners could do what they want with their property, then it was fine and dandy for them to not allow blacks to use their services. Too bad for the discriminated minority, right?

                • Leiningen’s Ants

                  It’s okay that you don’t understand the distinction, it’s nothing a little remedial civics reading and a bit of critical thinking won’t solve.

    • Mario Strada

      No, it’s not their right to refuse based on religion, race, sexual orientation, etc.
      I would actually grant you the religion one if they made it very clear ahead of time what religion they would refuse to take an order from.

      This is similar to the seattle coffee shop debacle, where they refused to host the atheist singer. If they said it immediately before the organizers actually make arrangements, it would be one thing, but to take an order or book a concert and then, in the middle of the process claim that “a line has been crossed” is simply bad business. It’s already a pain to shop around for a venue or a manufacturer, to have the jerks cancel on you is even more frustrating.

      Have the courage of your conviction and print it, put it on a sign and then live with the consequences instead of coming up with ad hoc discrimination.

      • ortcutt

        Sexual orientation isn’t a protected class in Utah.

    • baal

      I’m still waiting for examples of atheist shops refusing xtian customers (and maybe posting signs to that effect so it’s unambiguous?).

    • Spuddie

      Its exactly this kind of bullshit reasoning why we have anti-discrimination laws. Discrimination is more than just government attacking the rights of people, its private actors doing it with government support (or indifference).

      Someone who holds their business out to the general public has to take anyone willing to pay for the goods and services within reason (no shirt, no shoes, no service is perfectly OK). If they don’t want to take business from atheists, then they should not be using a storefront or take orders from people off the street. They should be a private club or subscription service.

      • Kevin

        “Someone who holds their business out to the general public has to take anyone willing to pay for the goods and services within reason…”

        You keep saying this but I’ve never heard why this is reasonable. Why is discrimination okay for a private club but not a store on Main Street? What’s the difference?

        • Spuddie

          Because it is considered restraint of trade when it is a store on main street. Something open to the public, where anyone can essentially walk in must be available to the entire public.

          A private club is not something which is inherently set up for the purposes of trade since you are intentionally limiting its availability nor is made available to the public on its face.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Actually, “no shoes” is highly discriminatory and quite ableist.

        There are NO LAWS mandating that customers must wear shoes.

        • Spuddie

          That’s true, but the barefooted are not a protected class under civil rights laws.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            No, but the disabled are, and for some of us, shoes aren’t the most practical thing.

            • Spuddie

              Agree absolutely.

              Any store owner who pulls the “no shoes” thing on a disabled person deserves to be sued out of existence and then publicly shamed for being a monumental jerk.

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                And now I wish I’d gotten the name of that bus driver last week…

                • Spuddie

                  A complaint probably could have gotten the person suspended or fired. Missed opportunities.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Well, if it happens again, I know what to do. Douche even tried telling me “It’s Washington state law” — a quick check of the RCW proves her wrong.

                • Spuddie

                  This guy is really sounding like someone deserving of a flaming paper bag full of herbivore poop on his front step.

    • GCT

      Because Jim Crow worked soooooo well.

      • Kevin

        That’s the point. No one here is asking for a return to Jim Crow where the government mandated discrimination. The Constitution is clear that the government cannot discriminate. We are talking about private citizens unaffiliated with the government making decision with regard to their own property.

        Rosa Parks wasn’t arrested because bus owners didn’t like blacks. She was arrested for violating a discriminatory city ordnance.

        • GCT

          No, we would/could just have a de facto Jim Crow situation. Minorities can be shut out of all services and accommodations simply because the bigotries of the majority. The law against discrimination is there to protect minorities from being unfairly treated in this country. Whether it’s a black being allowed to buy food, a disabled person being able to be employed, or any number of other situations, it’s protection of the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

    • http://twitter.com/Outcast_Kyle Outcast Kyle

      It’s pointless to try to explain libtards all this. They only want their little fascist utopia where everyone has to do what they desire.

      • GCT

        What’s pointless is trying to have a discussion with bigots like you. Go away troll.

        • http://twitter.com/Outcast_Kyle Outcast Kyle

          Typical butthurt libtard. They think only them hace cree speech. But I like how they use bigote anytime someone disagrees with their Little pink world. Just like when Christian say hathen to someone.

          • GCT

            No, I’m quite fine with freedom of speech, and you can practice your freedom of speech all you want and show the world how much of a bigot you really are.

            There is no compulsion, however, for this blog to host your bigoted views. And, while you are crying about your freeze peach, you seem to forget that we all have the freedom to point out your bullshit and call you out on it. You do not have the right to say whatever you want without consequence.

            • http://twitter.com/Outcast_Kyle Outcast Kyle

              Too bad it hurts you so much that I call on your bullshit, specially when I wasn’t talking to you in the first place. Now you can go and to someone who cares.

              • GCT

                Is this was passes for a reasoned rebuttal in your warped world? It seems I was right and you really don’t know much about your freeze peach.

                • http://twitter.com/Outcast_Kyle Outcast Kyle

                  Whatever. I’m way over you, so toodles. Keep using that flawed liberal logic.

                • GCT

                  Weird way of showing it with your over-the-top Nazi references. Godwin’s law, you lose.

                • Spuddie

                  Does your Mom know what you are doing in the basement?

      • Spuddie

        I don’t know if there is a “law” about this online, but as a rule of thumb someone who uses the term “retard” or some variation, is the dumbest person in the discussion.

  • Billy

    Denying someone service because you don’t agree with their religious beliefs or non-beliefs is illegal. The law is pretty clear on that. Same reason christians cannot deny gay people service.

  • Billy

    Denying someone service because you don’t agree with their religious beliefs or non-beliefs is illegal. The law is pretty clear on that. Same reason christians cannot deny gay people service.

    • http://twitter.com/reasonablequest Reasonable Quest

      The difference here is that it’s not just about the business owner disagreeing with the person they are serving, but crossing the line into free speech law, because you shouldn’t be required to be an advocate of speech you disagree with.

      • GCT

        The speech they seem to disagree with is that atheists exist. Atheists don’t believe in god. That’s the message they put on their shirt. That’s what these Xians objected to, the idea that god doesn’t exist…the idea of atheism.

      • Billy

        Then they shouldn’t be in a business who’s sole purpose is to put other people’s ideas in print.

  • JWH

    Did the T-shirt company refuse to do business with an atheist group? Or did it refuse to print this atheist T-shirt?

    • Peter

      The distinction between discriminating against the group because of their atheism, and discriminating between the message because it’s an atheist message is a valid one, but not, I think particularly clear-cut here. Some forms of discrimination may be, at face value, permissible as not falling into one of the anti-discrimination protected classes, but so closely linked to those protected classes as to be the same for legal purposes. For example, if I were to have a policy of discriminating against people with dark, naturally kinky hair, that would seem to be OK, as hair type is not a protected class, but that would fall so heavily upon African-American that it would probably be viewed as covered by anti-discrimination laws regardless.

      Here, discrimination against atheist messages clearly falls disproportionately on atheist groups. It may be true that the printer would be willing to print a pro-Catholic message by an atheist group, but not a pro-atheist message by a Catholic group, but these are clearly not typical cases. You mentioned Elaine Photography below, and I think that’s instructive — the photographer was (presumably) discriminating not against gay people in general, but against gay people who wanted to use his services for gay weddings — but in that case, discrimination against a particular type of service was seen (correctly, IMO) by the courts as tantamount to discrimination against a particular class of people.

      • JWH

        Disagree, and the discrimination claim here is not nearly as clear as you think it is.

        It’s worth visiting Tiki’s Facebook site if you get a chance. In their correspondence, Tiki indicates it is willing to print a T-shirt for Atheists of Utah, including, for example, a shirt that features the group’s name or its URL. (A fact I noted above). This indicates that the distinction between message-based discrimination and religious discrimination is quite a valid one. I would also note that the printer didn’t object to a “pro-atheist” message, but to an anti-religious one. Would the printer have objected to a shirt that read “Atheists are really good people?” We don’t know.

        As for the Elane Photography case, I note two things: First, I would not rely on that case for precedent. It is currently on appeal before the New Mexico Supreme Court, and as of yet that court has not ruled on that case. I further note that according to the facts in that case, the photographer (Elaine Huguenin) indicated that she would be willing to photograph a same-sex couple in a studio session, but that she would not be willing to photograph their wedding.

        I further submit to you that courts should apply far more scrutiny to public-acommodations law in these sorts of cases. Both Elane Photography and this circumstance implicate the potential defendants’ free-speech rights. Because of that, I would caution against applying the same standards as you would to an ordinary discrimination claim.

        Also, is a disparate-impact theory applicable here? I know of at least one case in (I think) Minnesota where a disparate-impact discrimination claim was thrown out because under that state’s laws, a disparate impact claim was only available in the employment context. What do Utah’s laws say?

        • Peter

          I don’t think the discrimination claim is clear. In fact, I believe I said that the discrimination claim is “not, I think particularly clear-cut here.” I understood you as saying that this was clearly not discriminating against atheists, but only against their message, and I was pointing similar cases to show that it’s more difficult than that. You make valid arguments that this is permissible discrimination, I’m just saying that there are valid arguments that it’s not. I could reasonably see a court ruling either way on this.

          I would see the free speech claim as fairly distinct from the question as to whether the anti-discrimination laws are even applicable. I tend to side with the free speech claim, but there are, I think, fairly good arguments on both sides there as well.

  • baal

    “Yes, we exist!”
    I love the motto and feel that way about several of the labels I’m willing to wear (including bi).

  • youpackofclowns

    leave them alone you wankers. Would a gay printer print anti-gay t-shirts? No, and you’d be strung up in the media for trying

    • ~SoACTing

      While this may be tangential and wholly irrelevant, in my view, anti-gay bigotry seems to stem from disgust while anti-atheist prejudice seems to stem from a lack of trust. But, that may neither be here nor there.

      ~ SoACTing

    • GCT

      There’s a difference between messages of hate and refusing service based on a protected class.

    • DougI

      Being anti-gay is as much of a protected class as being vegetarian. In other words, not at all.

  • DougI

    I so hope they sue these criminal bigots.

  • http://twitter.com/reasonablequest Reasonable Quest

    It seems to me you are entitled to free speech, but you are not entitled to force someone else to help you produce or promote speech that violates their freedom of conscience.

    That is why I take the side of the business in this case. There is no evidence that the atheists are being refused service simply because they are atheist. I’m sure the business would be happy to take the business from an atheist if the message on the shirts was benign.

    These are the types of things that make people think atheist are whiners who want to sue everyone. This crosses the line from simply being about refusing to serve to refusing to participate in speech that you disagree with, which should be the right of every free person.

    • http://twitter.com/Outcast_Kyle Outcast Kyle

      I agree, it’s like some atheist can’t just take teir business elsewhere without bitching like teenage girls.

      • GCT

        Why the misogyny and atheophobia in your comment? Flagged.

        • http://twitter.com/Outcast_Kyle Outcast Kyle

          Please get all that sand from your vagina. We could use a new beach.

    • GCT

      Apparently, that speech they so object to is the idea that god doesn’t exist. Oh, how horrible. That idea also happens to be the central idea of atheism. IOW, they’re objecting to atheism.

      • http://twitter.com/reasonablequest Reasonable Quest

        No, they are objecting to participating in promoting atheism. You can’t see the difference between refusing to serve an atheist simply because they are atheist (which they are not doing), and refusing to participate in promoting speech (the message on the t-shirt) that they disagree with?

        • GCT

          Which is a de facto way of saying that they won’t serve atheists.

        • Leiningen’s Ants

          You can’t sit there. No it isn’t because you’re black, I simply refuse to support civil rights, as I disagree with the premise.

  • BamaJack

    Uhmmm.. What don’t you get? A privately owned business can refuse to serve anyone they wish for any reason they wish. Ever walked into a restaurant and seen the sign “NO SHOES, NO SHIRT, NO SERVICE” ? What are you all crying about?

    • DavidMHart

      Actually, Orcutt in comments above has been quoting the Utah statute that explicitly lists the things for which a privately owned business isn’t allowed to refuse service:
      “All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal
      and are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages,
      facilities, privileges, goods and services in all business
      establishments and in all places of public accommodation, and by all
      enterprises regulated by the state of every kind whatsoever, without
      discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, ancestry or
      national origin.” Utah Code Ann. § 13-7-3

      This would seem to be discrimination on the basis of religion, and thus illegal under Utah law.

  • BamaJack

    Furthermore, if this business thought that serving the atheist club would do harm to their own business, they had every right to refuse service. For instance, you can buy porn at Wal Mart. That’s not because Wal Mart is discriminating against the porn industry, it’s because Wal Mart feels that selling porn in their stores may hurt business. Thus, Wal Mart doesn’t have to sell porn.

    • Timmah

      It’s funny however that they have no problem at all printing stuff that has sexual innuendo on it. Not to mention the shirts with drug references which of course is something that is flat out illegal. Their moral code of what they will and will not print seems to be a bit fishy.

    • GCT

      Is porn a protected class? No? Then, analogy fail.

  • BamaJack

    Goodness you guys really are fuggin stupid if you think this business is required by law to serve the atheist whiners. Let me ask it this way: If a Christian group solicited an atheist owned t-shirt maker for business, the atheist owned business has every right to refuse service. Got a problem with it? Go somewhere else.

    • GCT

      The atheist owner can’t refuse service based on their beliefs. Of course, this doesn’t happen (where are the examples?) but the law is equally binding on both theists and atheists. So, before running off and calling everyone “stupid” perhaps you should actually have some passing knowledge before inserting your foot in your mouth.

    • DougI

      The Civil Rights Acts requires the business to not discriminate on the basis of things like race, religion, creed, etc. So yeah, they are required by law, just as the flower shops that refused to deliver flowers to Jessica Ahlquist for being an Atheist were violating the law.

  • Jennifer Ferguson

    Actually I have to side with the printer on this one. The owners of the print shop clearly felt uncomfortable being part of spreading the message that God does not exist when they believe he and or she does. I assume they feel a religious obligation to tell the truth about the existence of God as they perceive it. I imagine the printer would be comfortable printing other shirts by the group that did not deny the existence of god. However TIKI should have ensured that the Atheists association had access to another printer who did feel comfortable pinting the shirt at a cost comparable to what TIKI would have charged.

    • BamaJack

      TIKI isn’t obligated to help the atheists find anything….. Their answer is no. Get over it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/StrangeCandee Candee Bell

    When I decided to get my tubes tied I went to my doctor and he refused because of his religion. I simply found a doctor that wasn’t religious and would listen to my needs. They don’t have to give you service.

    • GCT

      That doctor does not have the right to force his religion upon you. You should report him to the AMA.

      • Kevin

        And yet you would force you’re non-religion on the doctor. Why does his time and effort belong to someone else? He has chosen to not offer that service. I think he should, but neither my opinion nor your should be forced upon him.

        You do with your life what you want, and let others do what they want. Why is that too much to ask?

        • GCT

          So, pharmacists should be allowed to deny birth control pills to their patients? It’s the same principle. But, hey, let’s go further. People should be able to refuse service to anyone for anything as long as they say it’s a religious principle, right?

          Sorry, but no. Doctors are professionals and are held to a certain standard that they must follow. They don’t get to pick and choose which health care services they will and won’t provide that fall under their area of expertise (I would not expect a general practitioner to do my brain surgery – just to nip that in the bud before you even try to bring it up). They don’t get to enforce their religion on the rest of us, and asking them to perform the professional duties of their job is not us forcing non-religion on them any more than saying that Xians can’t compel prayer in schools is forcing non-religion on those Xians.

        • DavidMHart

          Where one’s religion conflicts with the duties involved in a profession regulated by law, one is free to not join that profession. If one chooses to join a profession, one implicitly consents to carrying out the duties of that profession. A jehovah’s witness is free to not train as a blood transfusion specialist. They are not free to qualify as a blood transfusion specialist and then refuse to perform blood transfusions on the basis of their religion.

          If someone were being forced to become a doctor and perform medical procedures that conflict with their religious taboos, then that would be ‘forcing non-religion’ on that person. But this does not happen in real life.

      • http://www.facebook.com/StrangeCandee Candee Bell

        I wouldn’t want a doctor that would put his religion before my needs anyway. Besides that was over 15 years ago I don’t even remember his name.

        • GCT

          I wouldn’t either, but I also wouldn’t want to have a situation where I’m relying on that doctor only to find out that he won’t help me because he’s more concerned with pushing his beliefs on his patients than with being a licensed professional that actually does his job. And, what about other patients? I’m sure he has/had other patients and he may have negatively affected them too. Bottom line is that he didn’t act as a professional, he didn’t take your health care needs into account, and placed his own religious ideas over your health care.

          What if you were in surgery and he decided that he was unable to give you a blood transfusion because he’s a JW? This kind of shit cannot be allowed.

          • http://www.facebook.com/StrangeCandee Candee Bell

            Exactly why I found a different doctor that was AWESOME!

    • DougI

      Why did the doctor offer such a service if he wasn’t going to provide it?

      • http://www.facebook.com/StrangeCandee Candee Bell

        Doctors of gynecology offer different services not just tubal ligation.

  • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

    The lesson here is never agree to do something until you are fully aware of the consequences. A business can refuse service all the way up to actually agreeing to perform the service, after they agree, then it’s up to the courts to decide whether they breached the contract.

  • http://twitter.com/reasonablequest Reasonable Quest

    This is like going into a Christian used book store and getting a persecution complex because they refuse to buy your used copy of The God Delusion to sell in their store.

    • DougI

      Not really a great analogy since the Atheists in the story were purchasing shirts at a shirt selling business. A Christian book store sells Christian books. Had the Utah Atheists gone into a shirt store trying to buy shoes then it would make sense to refuse their business since they wouldn’t have any business to offer.

  • Persephone

    Man, this discussion thread took a turn for the trolly overnight. Did this article get linked somewhere else on Patheos or something?

  • BamaJack

    I don’t know if anyone is still following this thread or not but I feel an obligation to correct most atheists here who think the business owner MUST sell his products and services regardless of his religious beliefs. Two things: 1) do you even realize the hyprocisy you’re spewing? All you whiney pussies do is cry about Christians pushing
    their moral beliefs on you…. Now you want to FORCE yours on us? Screw
    that. 2) If you so much as tried to sue a business I owned for this I’d
    laugh in your face and double down on you, counter-suing for EXTORTION.
    Unlawfully coercing a person or business to extract goods or services
    against her will is a criminal offense. You cannot, I reapeat, CANNOT
    tell a business what to sell. Would you expect a an
    African American owned t-shirt company to sell vulgar shirts to the KKK?
    A Jewish company to sell anti-Jewish shirts to the American Nazi party?
    A gay and lesbian owned company to sell anti-gay shirts to the westboro
    baptists? Of course you wouldn’t. So why do you take exception to this?
    You should really read up on actual law before having a knee jerk,
    emotional reaction to an issue that’s so amazingly clear it’s not even
    funny.

  • BamaJack

    How can all of you so called “Enlightened” atheists who are soooo smart about everything fail to understand such simple logic? The business owner is not refusing the atheists service because they’re atheists. Their simply refusing to sell them a specific product. Now, if the owner explicitly refused to serve the group at all specifically because they’re atheists, they may have a problem. Notice I said MAY. If the atheist club requested another un-related t-shirt and the owner said “no, I won’t sell to you because, you’re an atheist”…. THAT’S discrimination.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

      “We weren’t going to be the delivery method for that message that demeaned our beliefs,” TIKI Printing owner Sam Saltzman said. That sounds pretty discriminatory to me.

      But I suppose you are a christian BamaJack. That statement would not sound discriminatory to you because you are programmed to only see when you are being discriminated against, not the other-way around. This by the way is not expressing your free will. An expression of free will would be to not hold the party line when you see that someone is causing another person harm. In this you are just another automaton reciting scripted programming like a robot. Unfortunately you have no choice in this matter. Nor do you want to choose a different path because the path you are on is easy and free of impediments. The uphill path, the harder path to take, would be to see things in the shoes of the Atheists. But because you are a christian which is pretty much is equal to having a lazy mind, you will choose the easy path. Free will escapes you. Not because you were supposedly given it by an imaginary deity but because you are too closed minded to see any thing different and new, other than your programming. You have been programmed to respond because you think your beliefs are right but in reality (a place we Atheists live) you know in your heart that they are not. You will respond either here or in your consciousness, because I get under your skin, quite successfully I might add. You will respond because you lack a mature mind capable of sound reasoning, something that is not as simple as a five minute decision but one that takes years of thoughtful meditation. Face it you are lazy. But is it not true that the simplest answer requires the least amount of thought. Why do you continue to complicate your mind with religion? Come out of the closet my friend. Free your self from the bondage of theism and tradition. Or not. And be forever locked into your mind set. I really don’t care either way. I am an Atheist troll who trolls people who support theism. As you have so energetically done here on this forum. This is entertainment to me. Go ahead if you will and mock me but I am living the life I want to. A life unrestrained by religious dogma and theistic programming, can you say the same? Alas this is the internet and you can tell me anything, perhaps to appease me or attempt further ridicule, it does not matter. What does matter is that I trolled you and even after I told you I was going to do it. Your passion to be apologetic for the owners of TIKI printing opened the door for me. You were an easy target. Like a lamb seperated from the herd just waiting to be slaughtered by the wolves. You have the power with in you to end this charade, reject your belief in gawd and you will be free. I bet you will not for you lack the courage to exceed your programming.

      • BamaJack

        Yeah honestly I don’t have an idea what you’re trying to say in that long and boring rant. You lost me pretty early in there…. That was just weird, really….

  • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

    Elane Photography, LLC v. Vanessa Willock pretty much sets the precedent.
    It is up to the courts to decide if the business owners have rights
    under the First Amendment (exercise of free speech) or if they (the
    print shop) violated the rights of the Atheists under Title II CRA 1964.

    http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/elane-photography-llc-v-vanessa-willock

  • http://www.facebook.com/victoria.hewitt3 Victoria Hewitt

    why must anyone impose their way on others, if you believe in peace, you would just go to another company to accomplish your goal, . . .isnt that just alot easier, than trying to force christians, who cmon obiviously, are super duper against what you believe as atheist, to maybe go to an atheist print shop, . it just seems you are being purposely antagonistic, you have an agenda by being provokative to draw a bad light on these people. . . and thats just evil, and really silly..lol

  • http://firstjohn.wordpress.com/ John Luther Barnhart

    I know this is an old story, but in my opinion the business has freedom of the press. The “press” doesn’t just mean the news media. This business is printing shirts and has every right to refuse business based on the content of the print job. I bet they sell t-shirts to atheists all the time, just not atheist t-shirts

  • Kate

    Just find another company… Quit forcing your agenda on private companies.


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