Office Depot defends Planned Parenthood from prayers

How ’bout this? From Breitbart:

OFFICE DEPOT REFUSES TO PRINT COPIES OF PRO-LIFE PRAYER

Office Depot has refused to print copies of a pro-life prayer on the grounds that to do so violates company policy of printing material that “advocates the persecution of people who support abortion rights.”

Maria Goldstein, 42, ordered 500 copies of “A Prayer for the Conversion of Planned Parenthood” at Office Depot in Schaumburg, Illinois, for distribution at her Roman Catholic parish’s Masses Sunday. The prayer was composed by national director of Priests for Life Father Frank Pavone, a Breitbart News contributor.

The handout, according to the Chicago Tribune, also included statistics about abortion in the United States and at Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, which is currently under investigation by Congress after being exposed for its practices of harvesting the body parts of aborted babies and selling them on the open market.

Pavone’s prayer asks God to “Bring an end to the killing of children in the womb, and bring an end to the sale of their body parts. Bring conversion to all who do this, and enlightenment to all who advocate it.”

The prayer also denounces “the evil that has been exposed in Planned Parenthood and in the entire abortion industry.”

Karen Denning of Office Depot defended her company’s refusal to make copies of the prayer, stating that company policy forbids “the copying of any type of material that advocates any form of racial or religious discrimination or the persecution of certain groups of people.”

“It also prohibits copying any type of copyrighted material,” she added. “The flier contained material that advocates the persecution of people who support abortion rights.”

[…]

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36 Responses to Office Depot defends Planned Parenthood from prayers

  1. APX says:

    Hello, Pot? This is Kettle calling. You’re black too!

    Do they realize that in doing so they are being religiously discriminatory?

    Should have used Latin. They wouldn’t have known what it was.

  2. LarryW2LJ says:

    “Karen Denning of Office Depot defended her company’s refusal to make copies of the prayer, stating that company policy forbids “the copying of any type of material that advocates any form of racial or religious discrimination …..”

    And here I was, getting made fun of, by some people I know, when I stated that for Progressive Liberal Democrats, that Socialism in their religion and abortion is their sacrament. Looks like Office Depot agrees with me.

  3. j says:

    Office Depot has repeatedly argued in copyright infringement case after infringement case that they are NOT responsible for content. They can’t possibly argue that now they can refuse to copy something because they ARE responsible for the content.

    This is not some low-level employee running the machines in a local store being uncomfortable; this is corporate policy of a publicly traded retail giant.

    While Priests for Life and Maria Goldstein both have obvious deeply held religious beliefs that ARE protected, Office Depot has none, nor have they proposed one; this is simple denial of religious speech.

    Hard to see that there are even shades of gray in this one.

  4. clarinetist04 says:

    What’s the difference between this and refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding? Someone should seriously file a lawsuit.

  5. NDPhys says:

    What if they had decided not to print an announcement related to a same-sex wedding ceremony? Do you think that the courts of the land would find that they have a right as a private company to decide who they serve (in that case)?

  6. j says:

    clarinetist04;

    HUGE difference. The bakers personally own their business, and their logo goes with the cake – AND they are being asked engage in speech that is contrary to their deeply held religious views. None of those apply to Office Depot.

    What Office Depot does is reproduction, not creation of speech. This is more like a baker refusing to serve a cookie without a message to a PERSON who IS gay. Office Depot is not being asked to create speech (like the bakers were), and has no religious views.

    (PS – in the example I just gave, the baker would be wrong, in the example of the wedding cake, the baker is protected)

  7. Clinton says:

    Well, it looks like I need to add Office Depot to the list of businesses
    that won’t be seeing any more of my trade. And I think a short, polite
    call to their customer complaint number at 1-800-463-3768 is in order.

  8. CatholicEditor says:

    I think perhaps the headline should be rendered: *AN* Office Depot location defends Planned Parenthood from prayers. Sounds like this is one store applying corporate boilerplate according to their own ideas. Fr. Pavone remains a skilled media warrior.

  9. MarkJ says:

    @clarinetist04
    Exactly what I was thinking. File a lawsuit and press the issue. Tolerance goes both ways.

  10. rwj says:

    “Scratch a liberal and a fascist bleeds”
    -Somebody

  11. jaykay says:

    “The flier contained material that advocates the persecution of people who support abortion rights.”

    That’s what really gets me, this perversion/corruption of language (and it’s just as insidious over this side of the Big Pond, believe me, as we saw all too clearly in the recent “marriage” referendum here in Ireland). Sorry, dear Office Depot lady, but persecution is what is happening in e.g. Syria, Sudan, Iran, China, North Korea, where people are being killed or imprisoned for their beliefs or, let it be said, sexual orientation. It may also be happening in another way in other jurisdictions where people are being imprisoned or fined or dismissed, or threatened with the foregoing, for their beliefs. That is persecution. But the definition does NOT extend to praying for the conversion of others, which may include your honestly held belief that the actions of others are evil. That is not “hate speech” either. Truly, he is the Father of Lies.

  12. Northern Ox says:

    @Catholic Editor
    Karen Denning, the person quoted in the article, is from Office Depot corporate.

  13. LeeF says:

    More tyranny of the politically correct crowd. I guess self-service copy shops are our friends.

  14. Gail F says:

    Everyone needs to calm down. The manager cited the company policy — that doesn’t mean she cited it correctly. The part she cited was about materials that persecute people — saying these materials persecute pro-abortion people. That is clearly absurd. However, she is within her rights to refuse to copy things for whatever reason she wants to, as long as it’s not for someone in a protected class. You could argue, as they are, that it’s a violation of religious freedom. But as the manager offered to let her use the self-service copier, I don’t see that this is a valid argument. I’m not a lawyer, but I think this is legal. Stupid, but legal. And bad publicity for the whole chain.

  15. rodin says:

    Office Depot is off my shopping list.

  16. Franklinwasright says:

    I just called my local Office Depot and asked to speak to a manager. I was very polite, and explained that they would no longer recieve my business because of their policy of labeling pro-life prayers as hate speech. She didn’t know what I was talking about. I explained the situation very matter of factly and said that they would not recieve my business until the policy was changed. I also said that I knew she was not involved in the situation, but I was hoping they could pass my views along to the corporate offices.

    The manager was very polite and seemed genuinely interested in the situation.

    Everyone should contact their local Office Depot and Office Max (they are owned by the same company). The corporate office obviously doesn’t care, but the store managers need to be educated from the point of view of the customer before we are all simply labeled as “haters” and dismissed.

  17. visigrad says:

    And the difference between this and baking wedding cakes for a ‘gay marriage’ is ?

  18. I actually think Office Depot has the right to refuse that business. If I owned a print shop, I would not want to reproduce Klan literature, for example. And my own view is that protecting big corporations is the price we pay for protecting the small ones.

    But as someone noted above, this raises a question of a double-standard, in relation to the vigorous campaign to ruin any business owner who refuses to involve himself in so-called same-sex “marriages.”

    In any case, nothing keeps us from deciding Office Depot won’t get our business. I predict a back-down on this.

  19. To be crystal-clear, I’m not comparing Father Pavone’s good work with the Klan. My point ought to be obvious: the price you pay for avoiding printing hateful stuff is to have the right to refuse business. How else do you do it?

  20. Gerard Plourde says:

    Oddly, the issue of copyright may actually support Office Depot.

    If my analysis is correct, Office Depot is not liable for copyright infringement for people who self-copy. Every machine has a warning about the potential for copyright enfringement and therefore the self-copier assumes the risk. However, if a member of the Office Depot staff accepts copyricghted material for illegal duplication liability falls squarely on the company.

    What occurred in this case was the customer was apparently advised of the issue of making unauthorized mass copies of copyrighted material (which is not protected by the “fair-use” doctrine) and invited to do self-copying. The sheer volume of the work made this an undesirable solution. There may indeed be an unspoken ulterior motive regarding the content but asking Office Depot to engage in illegal mass copying in violation of the copyright laws would trump that.

  21. Gregg the Obscure says:

    This isn’t surprising. Last time I was at an Office Demon store (about three years ago IIRC), the staff was soliciting contributions to a pro-homosexual campaign. I left without contributing to it or buying anything at all.

  22. Franklinwasright says:

    Fr. Martin Fox-

    I agree with you in principle. But the left uses censorship as a weapon because they can not win arguments. If we let them define our pro-life views as hate speech, my fear is that the censorship will continue to spread throughout the public sphere. We need to pushback against the characterization of this pamphlet as hate speech more than anything else.

  23. Cincinnati Priest says:

    Called the corporate office number (GO-DEPOT) posted above to register my complaint.

    A very polite man named Brian promised to forward the complaint to their customer service folks.

    Unless they reverse this decision and apologize, I will not shop at Office Depot in the future.

  24. Franklinwasright says:
    I agree with you in principle. But the left uses censorship as a weapon because they can not win arguments. If we let them define our pro-life views as hate speech, my fear is that the censorship will continue to spread throughout the public sphere. We need to pushback against the characterization of this pamphlet as hate speech more than anything else.

    I agree entirely.

  25. Cue up the Twilight Zone music. This is persecution of pro-abortion people??

    Taking (forget selling) the organs from tiny human beings who were never allowed to use them–after you (and/or the people you support) were the very ones who prevented these tiny humans from using THEIR OWN organs…is NOT persecution, but Christians praying to a God you don’t believe in, so that it is stopped, IS?!!

    We have officially entered the New Dark Ages.

  26. mibethda says:

    WND is reporting that Office Depot has backed down, and is now offering to copy the material. They claim that, on more careful review, they have determined that it did not violate their standards.

  27. I agree that Office Depot should have the right not to print something; we can’t draw a distinction between big and small businesses. But I also have the right not to patronize a business if it offends me and my beliefs, and I have already put Staples on my boycott list for funding Planned Parenthood. If Office Depot wants my business, it will have to give me and my beliefs a lot more respect than this. I’ll write on tree leaves if I have to.

  28. The Masked Chicken says:

    As far as the company being liable for printing copyrighted material, that is, actually, correct, and you can thank both Kinkos and your friendly college professor for that. Basic Books v. Kinkos Copies, in 1991, was the landmark decision that put fear into the hearts of copy companies in the U. S. If the college professors hadn’t asked Kinkos to copy whole textbooks, instead of the 10% allowed for by most common interpretations of Fair Use, none of this would have happened.

    I once had this problem, but I wrote to the publisher and got a copyright release letter. Legally, I can copy the whole book and if Kinkos refuses, I can demand an explanation. They require, of course, that I provide the documentation, but that is to be expected. In this case, the lady could have faxed Fr. Pavone and gotten a release.

    As for persecution, in order for that to be proven in Court, they would have to prove that God has no right to either grant prayer or persecute whom He wishes. The prayer is not a call for we pro-lifers to persecute Planned Parenthood, which might, actually, be illegal, but, rather an imploration that God would to so. So, essentially, they would be prosecuting God as the aggressor. Good luck with that.

    The Chicken

  29. robtbrown says:

    The Masked Chicken says:

    If the college professors hadn’t asked Kinkos to copy whole textbooks . . .

    There’s theft, robbery, and worse than both, the price of college textbooks.

  30. robtbrown says:

    The irony is that it’s likely that Office Depot adopted this policy to stay out of controversy.

  31. The Masked Chicken says:

    I was working off memory regarding the facts of the case, Basic a books v. Kinkos. I just went back and reviewed the decision. Kinkos was assembling course packets by copying portions of various textbook for professors and assembling them, together. It appears that they did not copy 100%, but rather, between 5 – 30% of the texts (the court decision spells out how much of each text, specifically, in each of, if I recall, five different course packets). Still, 30% without copyright release is way over the top of Fair Use.

    After finishing graduate school, for a short time I worked as a temporary secretary at a Lutheran Seminary and I was asked to copy a whole book for a class by a professor and I refused. As far as I could tell, the book was not out of copyright, or, at least I was not morally certain of it. The person simply got someone else to do the copying and was mad at me. Some professors don’t know or care about copyright laws and unless you are in a highly vulnerable area, like music, they are not likely to be taught about them in any courses.

    The Chicken

  32. Jack Regan says:

    How do these people not get prosecuted under the same law that slaps down bakers who refuse to make cakes for same sex “weddings”?

  33. TheDude05 says:

    I think that companies and small businesses should be able to refuse service on any grounds their conscience dictates, even if it means truly unfair discrimination. The market will sort them out in the end and they will either relent or go out of business. Whenever I use this argument I usually get the response of wanting to go back to the Jim Crow era. The problem there is that government law dictated the discrimination not the individual owner or company. This is the opposite where now government law requires you to serve everybody, either form you lose the right to your conscience and your property. Now all of that being said, I believe that this lady and the Thomas Moore Society should go ahead and file a complaint with the human rights board in the county. The only way to show these people the absurdity of these laws is to beat them over the head with it. Then maybe we can go back to common sense business. The nice thing about allowing businesses to serve whom they please is that it allows humans to rise above tribe mentality and be more accepting, still to ask some one to betray their conscience, even if poorly formed, is to ask them to betray their person and that should be unacceptable from any point of view.

  34. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Following up on mibethda’s comment, Breitbart has this:

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/09/11/office-depot-apologizes-for-discrimination-against-pro-life-prayer/

    Follow the link in paragraph 7 for more links with documents and more details.

    Note how the copyright issue is resolved before the Assistant General Council pursues his defense.

    There seem to be some interesting differences of understanding within Home Depot’s higher eschelons!

  35. Arele says:

    Update: Office Depot has backed down and is offering an apology and to make the copies:

    In an apology statement to Maria Goldstein, reported by the Chicago Tribune, Office Depot chairman and CEO Roland Smith said, “We sincerely apologize to Ms. Goldstein for her experience and our initial reaction was not at all related to her religious beliefs. We invite her to return to Office Depot if she still wishes to print the flier.”

    Looks like their lawyers talked some sense into them after all.

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/09/11/office-depot-apologizes-for-discrimination-against-pro-life-prayer/

  36. The Cobbler says:

    “The flier contained material that advocates the persecution of people who support abortion rights.”
    “The prayer is not a call for we pro-lifers to persecute Planned Parenthood, which might, actually, be illegal, but, rather an imploration that God would to so.”
    So… Office Depot exec implies that God both exists and intervenes in the affairs of this world?