Rupert Murdoch: Bible Mogul

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<em>This post by Will Braun originally appeared at </em>
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<a title=”Geez magazine” href=”http://www.geezmagazine.org/blogs/entry/rupert-murdochs-big-bible-business/” target=”_blank”>Geez </a>
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<a title=”Geez magazine” href=”http://www.geezmagazine.org/blogs/entry/rupert-murdochs-big-bible-business/” target=”_blank”>magazine</a>. Image: </em>
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<span style=”LINE-HEIGHT: 17px; FONT-FAMILY: “Times New Roman”, Times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 14px”>The Bible Industry. <em>From</em> Geez <em>magazine, Fall 2009. </em>
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<em>Credit: Darryl Brown and Aiden Enns.</em>
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<span style=”LINE-HEIGHT: 22px; FONT-FAMILY: “Times New Roman”, Times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 16px”>Most people know now that Rupert Murdoch presides over the <a title=”News Corp” href=”http://www.newscorp.com/” target=”_blank”>News Corp</a> media empire, and that he is fighting for his reputation after being forced to sink his scandal-laiden British newspaper <a title=”News of the World” href=”http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/” target=”_blank”>
<em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>News of the World</em>
</a>, the most widely read English tabloid in the world. But few people know that Murdoch also owns Zondervan, the world’s largest <a title=”publisher of Bibles” href=”http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Company/Facts/About.htm?QueryStringSite=Zondervan” target=”_blank”>publisher of Bibles</a>. For 23 years, the News Corp family has included the leading seller of the best-selling book in history.</span>
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<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>I know many Christians see the Bible’s publishing stature as validation of their chosen faith, but a savvy entrepreneur could simply see it as a business opportunity. Or perhaps the 80-year-old Murdoch, like any shrewd businessman, wanted diverse investments – a diversity that in his case ranged from a cleavage-saturated tabloid that ran headlines like, “F1 Boss Has Sick Nazi Orgy With 5 Hookers” to a publisher that offers <a title=”Little Lamb’s Storybook Bible” href=”http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310725510&QueryStringSite=Zondervan” target=”_blank”>
<em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Little Lamb’s Storybook Bible</em>
</a>.</p>
<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Zondervan, which is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, also sells <a title=”Precious Princess Bible” href=”http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310719298&QueryStringSite=Zondervan” target=”_blank”>
<em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Precious Princess Bible</em>
</a>, <a title=”Camo Bible” href=”http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductImages.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310822967&OI=true&QueryStringSite=Zondervan” target=”_blank”>
<em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Camo Bible</em>
</a> (imagine “Holy Bible” on a camouflage cover), <a title=”Soul Surfer Bible” href=”http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310725350&QueryStringSite=Zondervan” target=”_blank”>
<em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Soul Surfer Bible</em>
</a>, <a title=”Holy Bible: Stock Car Racing” href=”http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310948636&QueryStringSite=Zondervan” target=”_blank”>
<em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Holy Bible: Stock Car Racing</em>
</a> and 500 other styles of the holy book. The company owns exclusive North American print rights to the popular New International Version of the Bible which it says has sold over 300 million copies worldwide. Zondervan also publishes books by leading Christian authors like Rick Warren (over 30 million copies of his <em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Purpose Driven Life</em> have been sold), Tim LaHaye, Eugene Peterson, Brian McLaren and <a title=”Shane Claiborne” href=”http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Authors/Author.htm?ContributorID=ClaiborneS&QueryStringSite=Zondervan” target=”_blank”>Shane Claiborne</a>.</p>
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<strong style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Biblical profiteering</strong>
<br />For those us of who care about the Christian scriptures, what are we to make of this mix of billionaire media tycoonery, allegations of phone hacking and bribery, and the Holy Word of God? What are we to make of the fact that every time we buy a Zondervan product we contribute to Murdoch’s mogul-dom, which includes a personal fortune that <em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Forbes</em> pegged at <a title=”$6.3 billion” href=”http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/10/billionaires-2010_Rupert-Murdoch_639W.html” target=”_blank”>$6.3 billion</a> last year.</p>
<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>I asked Shane Claiborne. His books, <a title=”Jesus for President” href=”http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310278429&QueryStringSite=Zondervan” target=”_blank”>
<em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Jesus for President</em>
</a> (co-written with Chris Haw) and <a title=”The Irresistible Revolution” href=”http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310266303&QueryStringSite=Zondervan” target=”_blank”>
<em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>The Irresistible Revolution</em>
</a>, are number 3 and 4 on Zondervan’s list of its <a title=”top sellers” href=”http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/Book/Index.htm?QueryStringSite=Zondervan” target=”_blank”>top sellers</a>. He has long been aware of the Zondervan-Murdoch connection and has considered it carefully.</p>
<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>I admire Claiborne, partly because he cares about ethics – he makes his own clothes and off-sets his air travel – and partly because he lives out his faith in what he calls the “abandoned corners of empire.” His particular corner is the impoverished Kensington neighbourhood of Philadelphia where he lives as part of <a title=”The Simple Way” href=”http://www.thesimpleway.org/” target=”_blank”>The Simple Way</a> community. Given his relation to “empire,” I wanted to know why he chose a News Corp company as his publisher?</p>
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<strong style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>The Zondervan advantage</strong>
<br />”I want to have the broadest readership possible,” Claiborne says by phone, “I don’t want to be someone who just speaks to the choir.” He says smaller publishers have their advantages but the books he has written for them cost “two or three times” more than what they would if Zondervan published them.</p>
<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Claiborne, who has preached his message via <a title=”Esquire” href=”http://www.esquire.com/features/best-and-brightest-2009/shane-claiborne-1209″ target=”_blank”>
<em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Esquire</em>
</a>, Fox News (also owned by News Corp), Al Jazeera and many others, says the key is to “protect the integrity of the message.” If he is convinced the medium won’t change the message, he will work with organizations despite not “[agreeing] with all of their approaches or decisions.”</p>
<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>But even if the message is protected, his work helps enrich a rather well-maintained corner of empire. He feels “conflicted” about this. “I don’t think that the world exists in 100 percent pure and 100 percent impure options,” he says.</p>
<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>
<strong style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>To judge, or not to judge</strong>
<br />The ongoing News Corp scandal concerns him. “The current issues . . . in England raise all kinds of ethical questions,” he tells me, “and I would hope that a company whose mission is explicitly Christian, as Zondervan’s is, would take the opportunity to bear witness and to speak into the culture which is so terribly fallen.”</p>
<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Claiborne is not sure if he will write for Zondervan again. He doesn’t rule it out.</p>
<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>There’s good and bad in each of us, he says, “we are called to work on the log in our own eye, and I’m sure as heck trying to work on the compromises that I make so that those are minimal when it comes to integrity.”</p>
<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Point taken. This is not about demonizing Rupert Murdoch or Zondervan. No rendition of the Bible would condone that. Nonetheless, I’m not ready to say, like former Zondervan <span class=”caps” style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>CEO</span> Maureen Girkin did in a 2008 <a title=”Christianity Today&nbsp;article” href=”http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/april/29.42.html?start=2″ target=”_blank”>
<em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Christianity Today</em> article</a>, that “News Corp is a wonderful media giant.”</p>
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<strong style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Preferential option for the lucrative</strong>
<br />The allegations that sank <em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>News of the World</em>, and have now spread to other News Corp papers in the U.K., demonstrate something about News Corp. They do <em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>not</em> demonstrate that ethical integrity trumps the drive for profit at News Corp. News Corp is an aggressive business; it’s motive is to accumulate and concentrate massive amounts of wealth. Presumably it acquired Zondervan because it saw profit potential.</p>
<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>But is the Bible a business opportunity? Does it belong in the News Corp fold? Can we not read about “the least of these” without paying our dues to the greatest?</p>
<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Or perhaps Murdoch is just an entrepreneur who enables the distribution of important materials (after all, he was awarded a <a title=”papal knighthood by Pope John Paul II” href=”http://www.independent.co.uk/news/catholic-anger-at-murdochs-papal-knighthood-1145252.html” target=”_blank”>papal knighthood by Pope John Paul II</a> in 1998). Perhaps the world is just too gray to worry about the ethics of Bible publishing. Perhaps writers like Claiborne are subverting or redeeming something in need of redemption. Perhaps I overstate the link between <em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>News of the World</em> and Zondervan. It’s just that I believe there should be absolutely no link at all. Bald greed has no place in Bible publishing.</p>
<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>
<strong style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Does God need News Corp?</strong>
<br />We do not need to accept this arrangement. Christianity does not need to be about the best and biggest deal, and we can trust that the Good News does not require the help of an unscrupulous empire. Part of me would love to see some readers, writers and retailers engage in some respectful, humble, Gandhian non-participation with respect to the big Bible business. But it seems unbecoming to advocate a boycott of a company that publishes the books of a respected friend. It seems unbecoming to boycott the Bible in any way at all. Alas, I too feel conflicted.</p>
<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>
<em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Geez</em> magazine editor Aiden Enns – who once cut the Zondervan label out of the spine of his Bible in protest – suggests a self-imposed tax or tithe on Zondervan purchases. If you buy a $20 Claiborne book, give an additional $2 to a good cause (maybe the <a title=”Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility” href=”http://www.iccr.org/” target=”_blank”>Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility</a>). Call it the “ethical compromise tax,” or the “sin tax” as Enns puts it. You could also look into whether your denomination has any News Corp investments. The <a title=”Church of England” href=”http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/09/us-newscorp-hacking-disinvestment-idUSTRE7682DW20110709″ target=”_blank”>Church of England</a> is now publicly threatening to pull its $6 million share in News Corp.</p>
<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>As for non-participation, all I know for sure is that I don’t want a penny of my money going to fuel the News Corp empire, regardless of the path it takes from my wallet to Murdoch’s. Fortunately for me, the last time I crossed paths with Shane Claiborne he gave me a copy of the most recent Zondervan publication he collaborated on, <a title=”Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals” href=”http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310326199&QueryStringSite=Zondervan” target=”_blank”>
<em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals</em>
</a>. I offered him warm thanks – it’s a great book – then said with a smirk, “this way none of my money needs to go to Zondervan.”</p>
<p style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px 0px 1.5em; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>
<em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Will Braun is a former editor with</em> Geez <em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>magazine, where this post originally appeared</em>
<span style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>. </span>
<em style=”PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; BORDER-RIGHT-WIDTH: 0px; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; MARGIN: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; OUTLINE-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM-WIDTH: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 16px; VERTICAL-ALIGN: baseline; BORDER-LEFT-WIDTH: 0px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial”>Will Braun can be reached at wbraun [ at ] inbox [ dot ] com.</em>
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<strong>Source: <a title=”Geez” href=”http://www.geezmagazine.org/blogs/entry/rupert-murdochs-big-bible-business/” target=”_blank”>Geez</a>
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<em>Image courtesy of Darryl Brown, Aiden Enn, and Geez.</em>
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