When I first decided to be a graphic designer in high school I told myself that I would never work for a client that is selling a message or product that goes against my ethics. My first job was at a small printshop and all the local business I worked with were fine. My next and current job is for a university which made my inner struggle much easier because how could you not support education. My freelance company does a broad range of work from clients selling horror movies, to a organically made soap, to a convent.
We have done a lot of work for churches lately and it always makes me feel weird. I feel like I'm not being upfront with these clients. Like I'm a wolf in sheep's clothing. I don't hide it but I certainly don't shove it in their faces.
I really don't feel comfortable supporting religious institutions because I truly feel the world needs to feel the harsh reality of a world without a master plan because it's up to us to start a plan for the here and now...there is no hereafter. It's this delusion that has caused so much pain and suffering in the world and I just designed it a logo and gave it a website to spread it's false hope...it's really causing me problems in a state as red as I live in. There are so many job opportunities if you are a christian designer.
So for now I'm keeping my mouth shut so I can afford to keep my belly full...even though it's filled with a lot of unnecessary guilt and spoils my appetite to work ever again.
I left some wording out of that last sentence which should read "What's important, of course, are illegal acts, not mental states. I HOPE the government never gets around to prosecuting people for their thoughts.
The missing words are italicized.
Sure, as long as we recognize the other edge of the sword in that people cannot be excused for their thoughts either.
Reasons, however, are relevant.
I would never turn down the business unless I could directly see that that institution was doing harm...like westboro.
I'm also a graphic designer, and I know the feeling.
I would do it and get paid. Look at it this way, they are paying for your heathen lifestyle.
The only difference between your story and mine is that I only had one church as a client and they refused to pay me after the work was done.
Did they reject the work or just go deadbeat on you? Technically, I would think you own the work until you're paid for it and if they had used the work without paying for the rights there might be a copyright infringement issue there.
I'd personally be pretty sick to my stomach developing a brand for any time-wasting misinformation-spouting society-controlling organization. Consider working twice as hard to find other clients. I hope you do.
Most of these clients I get are good people. But I'm not branding one person. I'm branding a collected view which is slightly misshapened by how fundamental each person's viewpoint is.
I understand this same problem exists when I work for any corporation. The people I work with may be good people, they may have a great product, but there is always a chance they help fund hate. This problem always exists with every client.
But I'm fundamentally against religion. I can see how it may help those deal with the world but at what costs? I don't want to add fuel to their fire. I want to disarm them. But I would never turn their work away unless I saw a direct link to doing harm. And my policy of doing no harm in life and living a non-confrontational life has being giving me ulcers as of late. I hate misleading them but if I put that I'm an atheist on my site, I would definitely lose work and I can't afford to do that.
I hope one day you'll be in a position to take your pick. Good luck :)