Tennessee Newspaper Lifts Ban on Word 'Christian' Deemed Too 'Offensive' to Print

Cedar Springs Christian Bookstore
The Tennessee-based business Cedar Springs Christian Bookstore. |

A Tennessee newspaper that banned an ad from a Christian bookstore because it included the controversial word "Christian," has reversed its decision.

Curtis McGinnis of Cedar Springs Christian Stores told The Christian Post on Monday that "When my wife, Lois, called to find out why our ad did not run, she was told that the ad did not go through because it had an offensive word in it."

"She asked what was the offensive word and the lady told her 'Christian,' and the word was on the offensive word list," McGinnis added.

News of the ad rejection over the word Christian being labeled offensive garnered much outrage from supporters of Cedar Springs Christian Stores, who sent several complaints to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

In a statement posted to their Facebook page last Friday, the bookstore thanked those who offered support to the Christian company.

A demonstrator holds pencils in tribute to the victims of a shooting by gunmen at the offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, during a demonstration organized by the NGO Rio de Paz (Rio of Peace) in Niteroi, near Rio de Janeiro, January 8, 2015. Armed and masked anti-terrorism police swooped on woodland villages northeast of Paris on Thursday in a manhunt for two brothers suspected of being the Islamist gunmen who killed 12 people at the French satirical weekly. |

The Knoxville News Sentinel is now running an ad from Cedar Springs Christian Stores about their sale, and McGinnis reports that the newspaper also "gave us an extra two days free."

"We have enjoyed a working relationship with the Knoxville News Sentinel and appreciate the work they do in our community," the bookstore's owners wrote on their website. "We are grateful that they are now printing our ad and hope that the awareness brought to this issue will prevent mistakes like this going forward."

Soon after the controversy ensued, the Knoxville News Sentinel issued an apology on social media, blaming the ad rejection on a technology glitch.

"We had a system failure, which resulted in a classified ad for Cedar Springs Christian Stores getting hung up in our front end system. We corrected the technology issue in our system and the ad is now running for an extended period at no extra charge," posted the Sentinel on Facebook.

"We have had a business relationship with Cedar Springs Christian Stores and we have run many ads as part of that relationship. We apologize for the error and any inconvenience this has caused."

Some conservative outlets denounced the rejection of the ad as "anti-Christian bigotry" and praised the backlash against the Sentinel.

The Conservative Tribune said "… let this be a glaring example to all anti-Christian bigots in America: Your hateful attitude will not be tolerated, period."

When asked by CP if he thought the Sentinel's actions were anti-Christian, McGinnis of Cedar Springs Christian Stores said, "I have no reason to believe that. All I know is what they told us what the reason was."

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