Refused: Graphics company declines to make rainbow logo for 'welcoming' church

by Gregory Tomlin |

The ancient Christian fish symbol, or Ichthus, is seen here with rainbow colors. The image appears on the website of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Fargo, N.D.

FARGO – A Fargo graphic arts company has declined to craft a new logo that includes a rainbow for a "welcoming" Lutheran congregation because the rainbow has become the international symbol of the gay rights movement, the Bismarck Tribune has reported.

According to the report, St. Mark's Lutheran Church asked Custom Graphics, Inc., about crafting the logo, but once the church council asked for the logo to include rainbow colors the company backed off the deal.

Zach Paxton, general manager of the company and a cousin to the company's owner, said the church's business was "declined respectfully."

"I didn't mean any offense by it or anything like that," Paxton said. He added that he had no problem printing items for the church, but could not invest his business's labor into an art project that would assist the church in promoting the LGBT agenda.

Already a group calling itself Fargo-Moorehead Pride has latched onto the news and initiated a social media awareness campaign. It has called attention to the fact that Custom Graphics' logo includes bars with all of the colors of refracted light in them – much in the same way a prism would look.

The church has yet to make a formal complaint with the state about the incident, and it likely will not since it has no legal recourse. Custom Graphics has not violated a state law. North Dakota legislators have rejected the creation of anti-discrimination laws against the LGBT community three times in the past six years, Fargo's ABC affiliate, WDAY, reported.

But the state's first openly-gay lawmaker said he plans to change that. Rep. Joshua Boschee (D-Fargo) said businesses should not be allowed to discriminate.

"We don't allow businesses to say that they're not going to design a graphic for someone who is Muslim or someone who is disabled or someone that's a single parent because we recognize that that's just a form of discrimination that's not a North Dakota value," he said.

The church may soon have an apology. According to the report in the Tribune, the owner of Custom Graphics, Paul Paxton, said his cousin should not have declined the business. He said he plans on offering an apology to the church.