News Corp. owns HarperCollins, whose Christian division, Zondervan, has published some 30 million copies of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life and is the country’s biggest publisher of bibles — including the New International Version of the Bible, which has sold 300 million copies.
Will Braun, a contributor to Geez magazine (“holy mischief in an age of fast faith”) asks:
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 Forbes pegged at $6.3 billion last year.
This conflict has caused him some anguish:
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.
The debate has gone all the way to USA Today.