World church leader complains about printer

AP, Mar. 4, 2003

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) – A print shop owner refused to print a document for Thomas Kroenke, Wyoming leader of the World Church of the Creator.

The white supremacist group moved its headquarters to Riverton late last year. The group’s world leader, Matt Hale, was arrested in Chicago on Jan. 8 for allegedly trying to have a federal judge killed.

Dennis Heckart of The Print Shop refused to make copies of literature for Kroenke on Wednesday.

”I don’t believe that as a small businessman I am required to serve anybody who is threatening and makes my employees feel fearful,” Heckart said. ”Or if, for example, by doing printing for this organization it would jeopardize many of my other business relationships, I don’t think I’m required to do that by law.”

Kroenke said in a news release Thursday that it was ”another example of religious bigotry by a local merchant.”

Heckart said Kroenke requested a price quote to print multiple copies of 50 pages of double-sided white supremacy literature.

According to Kroenke, a woman at the print shop quoted him a price after examining the original, but after she found out who Kroenke was, she told Heckart about the customer. He said Heckart refused to take the order.

Kroenke said he told Heckart that refusing to provide service on the basis of religious discrimination could violate the Civil Rights Act and be grounds for legal action.

”Mr. Heckart smiled and said, ‘go for it,”’ Kroenke said. ”This is typical of the religious intolerance found in this little town in the middle of Wyoming.”

Heckart said Friday: ”In retrospect, I would have chosen different words, but my message would have been the same.”

Tim Thorson, executive director of the Riverton Chamber of Commerce, said he is proud of Heckart’s stance toward Kroenke.

”Discriminating on the basis of religious faith is wrong, but telling a member of a terrorist organization to leave your business makes all the sense in the world,” he said.

The Print Shop is a member of the local chamber. Heckart said he scanned Kroenke’s document and determined that it appeared to be espousing the doctrines of Kroenke’s group.

”The thought that went through my mind was, ‘enough is enough.’ We’ve got to take a stand in this community,” he said.

”I have policies in the shop about things I won’t print. I won’t print pornography. I don’t print things that are crude and insulting to political figures, and anything else that is generally indecent.

”I’m not going to do anything to support or promote anything that’s racist, or hatred or violence. There isn’t any law in the country that requires me to do that kind of printing.”

Kroenke said Riverton’s stand against the white supremacist group means nothing to him and he has no plans to leave the community.

”These little inconveniences only strengthen my resolve to remain in Riverton and expose its hateful ways to the world,” he said.

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