The owners of a Christian bookstore in the Knoxville area of Tennessee received a rude surprise. Lois McGinnis and her family own the Cedar Springs Christian Store.
Recently they decided to close the second location of their store and they decided to place an ad in their local newspaper – the Knoxville News Sentinel – which is owned by Gannett, the same company that owns USA Today and several other local newspapers such as the Tennessean in Nashville.
The advertisement read: “Store closing sale – Cedar Springs Christian Store – Clinton Highway location – All merchandise, fixtures, slat walls must go. Sale through August 13, phone 865.947.XXX.” Mrs. McGinnis placed the ad on July 26, 2016, and it was scheduled to run on July 28, 2016. When Mrs. McGinnis went to look for the ad in the paper on July 28 – it was nowhere to be found. Naturally, Mrs. Ginnis picked up the phone and called the Sentinel to find out what in the world had happened. The classified ad department delivered a SHOCKING message –
“She said our ad did not run because it contained an offensive word,” she told me. “I asked what that offensive word was and she said the offensive word was ‘Christian.’”
She said the News Sentinel did not notify her in advance the ad was considered “offensive”, that they would not be running it, nor did they call to say they were refunding her money.
“We had no way of knowing they considered the word ‘Christian’ offensive until we tried to place this ad,” she told me. As Christians, this was a slap in the face to us,” she stated. Then, Mrs. McGinnis did as many of us do and took to social media with a Facebook post. It was simply titled, “Do you find the word ‘Christian’ offensive?”
Now Tennessee is the Bible Belt and let’s just say that Gannett and the News Sentinel had no earthly clue what sort of hornet’s nest they had stirred up. The good, God-fearing, church-going folks in East Tennessee LIT UP the telephones and it wasn’t too long afterwards that the Knoxville News Sentinel addressed the issue.
They started with an apology of sorts “for any misunderstanding about the News Sentinel stance on Christianity.” Then went on to state, “We had a system failure, which resulted in a classified ad for Cedar Springs getting hung up in our front end system,” in an online statement. “We corrected the technology issue in our system and the ad is now running for an extended period at no extra charge,” And then stated for the record that their newspaper has no quarrel with Jesus.
“The News Sentinel does not have a bias against Christianity or any other religion,” publisher Patrick Birmingham wrote in response to online critics.
Ummm what sort of front end problem was this exactly?? Many in the community are taking the so-called apology with skepticism and are frankly not being placated by what appears to be empty words.
“Considering how liberal this paper is…I take the apology with a grain of salt,” one reader wrote on Facebook.
Another wrote, “Don’t be offended Cedar Springs Christian Stores… Nobody has read the Knoxville News Sentinel in over a decade anyway. Spend your advertising dollars elsewhere.”
“I cannot believe they are doing this now. I am so glad I do not subscribe to them or give them my business. To not sell an ad because the store’s name has the word Christian in it is absolutely wrong. I guess if the store was called Cedar Springs Muslim store it would be published. I hate to tell them, but the majority of the people who live here proclaim to be Christian,” another irate reader added.
It sounds like the good people in the Knoxville area know how Capitalism works and are choosing to vote with their dollars giving the Knoxville News Sentinal a “back end problem” as well as a front end problem.
H/T – Fox News – Todd Starnes
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