As scandal rocks Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, the Murdoch-owned Zondervan Publishing House was forced to issue a statement.
Zondervan, the world’s largest Bible publisher, has not been implicated in any way in the unfolding sordid tales of telephone hacking, payments to law enforcement, and a too-cozy relationship with elected officials, but the company still wanted to reassure the public that while sales of its New International Version of the Bible may enrich Murdoch, he doesn’t interfere with the publisher’s routine operations.
Spokesperson Tara Towers said:
This does not present an ethical dilemma for Zondervan as we will continue to operate with autonomy as we always have. We are fortunate to have strong and positive relationships with our authors.
Many of the company’s authors were unavailable to comment on this “strong and positive relationship.” Messages left with St. Paul, Qoheleth and Deutero-Isaiah were not returned.
For a good overview of Zondervan’s history with Murdoch, see Will Braun’s “Rupert Murdoch: Bible mogul,” which includes a thoughtful response from one of the publisher’s still-living authors, Shane Claiborne.
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Sophia, the Wisdom of God is described at the creation of the world as “rejoicing in the inhabited world and delighting in the human race.”
I want the day to come when Christians are described not as judgmental but as those who, like the Wisdom of God, rejoice in the world and delight in humanity.
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Richard Land has traveled more than any Southern Baptist executive in history.
Richard Land’s wife’s household staff has been increased by tenfold. She has tenfold more people working for her than any other SBC executive’s wife in history.
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s administrative budget is higher than it’s been under any other leader.
Note: If you follow the link, you’ll see that none of the above is actually true of Richard Land. You’ll also see that none of the above is actually true of President Barack Obama, but that this did not stop Richard Land from saying all of the above things about Obama. The fact that these are all brazen, intentional lies — the bearing of false witness — did not stop Richard Land from repeating them. This is not an encouraging indication of what passes for “ethics” at the highest levels of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
* * * * * * * * *Ta-Nehisi Coates responds to a lovely reflection from Michael Irvin (and, no, I didn’t ever expect to be writing the phrase “a lovely reflection from Michael Irvin”). Here’s Coates’ reaction:
You can’t hate black people without hating a significant swath of this country’s history and culture. Likewise a disapproval of gays — and gay men, in particular — is, on some level, a disapproval of all things feminine, and thus a disapproval of some essential part of all ourselves.
This is something of a recurring theme for Coates. See for example, this earlier post discussing Drew Gilpin Faust’s Mothers of Invention, a history of women in slaveholding families during the Civil War, in which Coates writes:
How does any human being in the 19th century come to endorse mass slaughter for the cause of raising a republic built on slavery? To answer such a question … you have to remove the cloak of the partisan, and assume the garb of the thespian. Instead of prosecuting the Confederate perspective, you have to interrogate it, and ultimately assume it. In no small measure, to understand them, you must become them. For me to seriously consider the words of the slave-holder, which is to say the mind of the slave-holder, for me to see them as human beings, as full and as complicated as anyone else I know, a strange transcendence is requested. I am losing my earned, righteous skin. I know that beef is our birthright, that all our grievance is just. But for want of seeing more, I am compelled to let it go.
“The garb of the thespian.” Thespian empathy.
Ah. Yes. That’s it. That’s how it works. Incarnation.
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Susan Brooks Thislethwaite: “How conservatives have taken the scary out of the ‘Apocalypse’”
Since religious conservatives have taken all the scary out of the end of the world for the true believers, and the political conservatives are refusing to face their responsibilities for the country’s economic health in the real world, “Apocalypse” just isn’t as scary any more.
That is, unless you are paying attention to the fact that there are deep truths in scripture about the judgment on economies that, like Imperial Rome, oppress the poor and disregard justice. Then you can hear the scriptural truth in the mighty images of the Book of Revelation.
And then you should be scared. Very scared.