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Nov 21 2013

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Starnes Exclusive: Costco Labels Bible as ‘Fiction’ – UPDATE: Costco Apologizes for Calling Bible ‘Fiction’

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Caleb Kaltenbach

Fox Nation By Todd Starnes

What do the Bible, “The Hunger Games” and “Fifty Shades of Grey” have in common? All three are works of fiction, according to the booksellers at Costco.

Pastor Caleb Kaltenbach made that shocking discovery last Friday as he was shopping for a present for his wife at a Costco in Simi Valley, Calif.

“All the Bibles were labeled as fiction,” the pastor told me. “It seemed bizarre to me.”

Kaltenbach is the lead pastor at Discovery Church, a non-denominational Christian congregation in southern California.

He thought there must be some sort of mistake so he scoured the shelf for other Bibles. Every copy was plastered with a sticker that read, “$14.99 Fiction.”

The pastor knew something must be amiss so he set off in search of a Costco employee hoping for an answer. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find anyone willing to answer his question (which is not all that surprising if you’ve shopped at Costco).

Since no one in the store was willing to offer assistance, the good shepherd of Discovery Church snapped a photograph of the Bible and tweeted it to his flock.

“People are pretty shocked and upset,” he told me. “We are supposed to be living in an era of tolerance, but what Costco did doesn’t seem too tolerant.”

I doubt they would label the Koran as fiction, Pastor Kaltenbach said. Heaven help us if they did.

“If they don’t believe in the Bible, that’s fine – but at least label it as ‘religion’ as some bookstores do, or ‘inspiration’,” he said.

So does the warehouse store that sells laundry detergent by the gallon have a problem with the Word of God?

I called Costco headquarters in Issaquah, Wash. hoping to get answers. The nice lady who answered the phone told me she was aware of the issue and chalked it up to a “human error at a warehouse.”

“It’s all fixed,” she said.

But actually, it’s not fixed – because there’s a boatload of Bibles in the Simi Valley store still marked as fiction.

At that point, the nice lady on the phone became not-so-nice and promptly informed me that Costco doesn’t talk to the press.

“Nothing to report,” she said curtly.

With all due respect, perhaps they should leave the reporting to the professionals and we’ll leave the bulk purchases of toilet paper to Costco.

Pastor Kaltenbach said he’s not one to speak out on such slights, but seeing the Good Book labeled as fiction was bit too much to take.

“On the one hand Christians should not yell out ‘persecution’,” he said. “We aren’t living in Iraq or Iran. But on the other hand, I believe that we do need to stand up for our faith and we need to be vocal about our concerns.”
That’s a message that resonates with pastor and author Robert Jeffress.

“Let’s hope Costco’s explanation is true and not the result of having been caught attempting to marginalize the very foundation of Christian beliefs, the Bible,” Pastor Jeffress told me. “Christians need to call out organizations like Costco whose actions undermine Christianity – regardless of whether those actions are accidental or intentional.”

Steven Smith, of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the fiction label identifies the thinking of the labeler more than the content of the book.

SOUND OFF: Costco headquarters contact info

999 Lake Dr Ste 200 Issaquah, WA 98027

PHONE:(425) 313-8100

UPDATE: Costco apologizes for calling Bible ‘fiction’

By Todd Starnes

Costco has apparently had a “Come-to-Jesus” epiphany.

The national warehouse chain has apologized for labeling Bibles in a Simi Valley, Calif. store as fiction, calling it an error that they are working quickly to correct.

“We deeply regret the mislabeling of the Bible and meant no offense to anyone,” the company wrote in an email received by several customers. “The buyer has let us know that this was an error and the books are being pulled off the shelves to be re-marked.”

Cue the angelic choirs.

We received a statement from Costco, too, it reads: ” Costco’s distributor mislabeled a small percentage of the Bibles, however we take responsibility and should have caught the mistake. We are correcting this with them for future distribution. In addition, we are immediately relabeling all mislabeled Bibles. We greatly apologize for this error.”

Here’s how all this started. I received a phone call from Caleb Kaltenbach, the pastor of Discovery Church in Simi Valley, Calif. He was shopping at Costco last Friday when he discovered all the Bibles were labeled as fiction.

He knew something must be amiss so he set off in search of a Costco employee hoping for an answer. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find anyone willing to answer his question.

Since no one in the store was willing to offer assistance, the pastor snapped a photograph of the Bible and tweeted it to his flock.

Pastor Kaltenbach said he’s not one to speak out on such slights, but seeing the Good Book labeled as fiction was bit too much to take.

“On the one hand Christians should not yell out ‘persecution’,” he said. “We aren’t living in Iraq or Iran. But on the other hand, I believe that we do need to stand up for our faith and we need to be vocal about our concerns.”

That’s a message that resonates with pastor and author Robert Jeffress.

“Christians need to call out organizations like Costco whose actions undermine Christianity – regardless of whether those actions are accidental or intentional,” Jeffress told me.

There you have it, good readers. Costco has seen the error of its way and repented. As the Good Book says, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Go, therefore, and buy your 30 gallons of laundry detergent in peace.

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