A printing company in Mobile has refused to print the latest issue of a magazine for the University of South Alabama for religious reasons.
On Wednesday, Interstate Printing & Graphics told the Editor-in-Chief of Due South Magazine that the content of the magazine did not align with their company’s religious values. The subject matter covers diversity and inclusion, according to reports from al.com.
“They emailed me back and said they would be exercising their right to decline printing this issue because it does not adhere to their Christian values and they hope to print with us in the future,” said Sara Boone, 21, who has run the magazine for the past three years.
“It’s very ironic for me because this particular issue of Due South is a special topics issue on diversity and inclusion. And it’s the very first special topics issue that we have ever produced. For them to decline printing it because it’s so diverse and the content is incredibly ironic.”
Boone said the company had quoted $5,000 for 3,500 copies of the magazine. Interstate Printing has been printing Due South magazine since 2012, according to Boone.
An email from the company to Boone explains, “As the magazine expresses freedom of lifestyles, we must express our freedom by declining to print on the principle that we are a Christian company that does not adhere to the content,” wrote Tracy Smith of Interstate Printing. “We value the 40-plus years relationship we have with the University of South Alabama, and look forward to continuing our work with USA on other print and mail service projects.”
On the company’s website, their “About Us” page explains that the company is Christian and “will serve the Lord God Almighty in any way we can.”
Boone said the special edition contained stories about LGBTQ students and drag queens, along with articles about religious head coverings, body positivity and students with disabilities.
Boone said she believed the problem was likely the LGBTQ and drag queen stories.
The University of South Alabama said in a statement that it respected student courage on the issue and hoped for healthy dialogue on the issue in the future.
“The University of South Alabama is committed to the principles of freedom of expression and the exchange of different points of view,” said the statement. “We respect our students for having the courage of their convictions. At the same time, we also respect the rights of individuals and private businesses to make decisions that are consistent with their values. It is our hope that healthy and constructive dialogue can emerge from differing perspectives.”
Printing services at the university will instead print the magazine, due for release Nov. 20.
“It’s kind of disheartening to know that there are people out there who won’t change their minds, their views will not be wavered,” said Boone. “No matter what we do, whose stories we write, no matter whose stories we tell, they are not going to bat an eyelid at all.”