Publisher of Directory Limited to ‘born Again’ Christian Advertisers Agrees to End Biased Practice

The publisher of California Christian Yellow Pages telephone directories, which limited advertisers to “born again” Christians, has signed a court-approved agreement to cease the discriminatory practice, it was disclosed by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.

The agreement was reached in settlement of a discrimination suit brought by ADL on behalf of two Jewish businessmen whose advertisements were refused by the Orange County edition of Christian Yellow Pages.

Maxwell Greenberg, ADL’s national chairman, said that Richard Fandrich of San Bruno, Calif., president of Christian Yellow Pages, Inc., (CYP) agreed to stop requiring advertisers to pledge their faith in Jesus Christ and also agreed to pay $1,500 damages to the two businessmen.

Greenberg announced settlement of the four-year-old case at a session of ADL’s National Executive Committee meeting here at the Fairmont Hotel, which ends today. The agreement was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last Thursday.

BASIS FOR SUIT

The businessmen, George Aronek and David Pines, owners of Grecian Art Tiles in Los Angeles, sued CYP on grounds that its advertising policy violated several state laws, most notably the Unruh Civil Rights Act. That law declared that “business establishments of any kind whatsoever shall not discriminate against, boycott or blacklist, refuse to buy from, sell to, or trade with any person in this state because of race, creed, religion, color … of such person.”

In announcing the CYP pledge to drop its discriminatory policy, Greenberg said, “We are gratified that the practice of classifying businesses on the basis of such irrelevant criteria as the religious belief of the principals will no longer operate with respect to the Christian Yellow Pages, Inc.”

The Christian Yellow Pages was founded in 1971 by Gordon Jaroch of Portland, Ore., who three years later turned it over to W. R. Thomson of Modesto, Calif. Fandrich, who was listed as the West Coast regional director of CYP when the ADL suit was instituted, has since incorporated Christian Yellow Pages as a separate entity. While ADL’s suit against Christian Yellow Pages, now Christian Yellow Pages, Inc., has been settled, a discrimination suit against Thomson and his organization, Family of Faith Foundation, is still pending.

The settlement with Christian Yellow Pages, Inc., includes its assets, all of its editions in California and in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Idaho. Thomson, through the Family of Faith Foundation, publishes other Christian Yellow Pages in various parts of the country.

WON SIMILAR SUIT EARLIER

Earlier this year, ADL won a similar suit filed against the Christian Business Directory, headquartered in San Diego. That settlement prevented the defendant publication from requiring prospective advertisers to identify their religious faith as a condition of advertising. The Christian Business Directory is now defunct.

According to the court-approved agreement, Christian Yellow Pages, Inc., is barred from requiring an oral or written declaration by advertisers of their religious belief, affiliation or theology and from printing a “Concept” foreword which urges readers to buy from Christians.

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