- (Photo Courtesy Atheists of Utah)
A Utah T-shirt making business has refused to do an order of shirts for an atheist organization due to an objection to the message on the proposed T-shirt design.
TIKI Printing of West Valley declined the business of the group Atheists of Utah, which sought to have the Christian-owned company make them a two-sided T-shirt. The shirt would have featured the web address of Atheists of Utah on one side and the message "Gotta Be Real Cuz God Ain't."
Sam Saltzman, part owner of TIKI, told The Christian Post that his company was first contacted about the shirts last week, as Atheists of Utah wanted them for an upcoming gay rights parade.
"After reviewing the shirt design me and my wife (part owner) decided that the message on the shirt, specifically their slogan 'gotta be real cuz god ain't!' went against our core beliefs in our Christian faith. We then contacted them and declined the order," said Saltzman.
"We are more than willing to print shirts for their group. We offered to print their organization on the shirts, what we refused was to print a message that conflicts with our own beliefs and in our beliefs is a sin against our God."
Since the news broke, TIKI has seen its share of responses being expressed in social media, most appearing to be positive. On Facebook, many individuals posted on TIKI's page statements like "supporting you" and "God bless."
Dan Ellis, Atheists of Utah president, told The Christian Post that he was "disappointed" by the decision of TIKI Printing to not make the T-shirts.
"While I respect the right of TIKI Printing's owners to hold whatever religious beliefs they may have, I am disappointed that they are unable to separate their private religious views from their public enterprise," said Ellis.
"TIKI Printing did not advertise their company as a religious organization or a Christian company. If they had, we certainly would not have wasted our time or theirs by submitting a shirt design that they would possibly found objectionable."
Ellis also told CP that contrary to initial reports by local media, Atheists of Utah was not pursuing any legal action against TIKI.
"I have stated from the beginning that it is improbable that we will pursue any legal action against TIKI Printing," said Ellis.
"TIKI may be within their rights to refuse to print our shirts, but we are definitely within our rights to alert members of our own community that they may not wish to do any business with TIKI Printing."