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A major chain found something out the hard way. They got national publicity for hitting the third rail. In a country that is 78.4% Christian, that is a dangerous mistake. Chick-fil-a can make a social mistake if it has some doctrinal backing in Christianity (implied or otherwise). The converse is not true.

Is the bible fiction? Is it literal? Did Moses really part the sea? Some people really think that the stories in the Bible are just that, fictional stories. However, some really worship the Bible as the word of God. When in doubt, if one is selling Bibles, neutrality must reign, lest you incur the wrath of the offended.

Costco labeled the Bible as fictional in a Simi Valley store. A pastor saw it.

Caleb Kaltenbach, pastor of Discovery Church, came across the Bibles while shopping for a gift and tweeted the picture on Friday with the comment: "Costco has Bibles for sale under the genre of FICTION Hmmmm..."

That didn't sit well with members of his congregation.

“I was completely offended. It’s wrong, and I believe that the Bible is real,” Shellie Dungan told KTLA-TV.

Did the pastor go to Costco to get a response? Apparently he went directly to social media. He likely knew that he could rile up a significant portion of the Christian base to get notoriety. And he did.

Follow me below the fold to see what happened next.

For all the brouhaha, Kaltenbach said the discussions the label has sparked have been good for the faith community.

"It’s caused a lot of controversy, it’s caused a lot of conversation, which I think conversation is good," he told KCBS-TV.

I find it ironic that the pastor would go after a company like Costco. Costco treats its employees in a humane fashion by paying them a living wage and ensuring they have good benefits. Walmart stiffs its employees and pays them substandard wages while simulating support for family values. If the pastor wanted to do a Christian-like thing one would think he would be shaming Walmart into "doing unto others as they want done unto their shareholders."

Costco says the mislabeling was a mistake by its distributor that they should have caught. Sadly, anyone who analyses this event should come to the conclusion that this pastor did an ‘un-Christian-like’ thing. He forgot about compassion.

Had the pastor gone directly to a Costco manager, he would have found out it was a simple mistake. By publicizing it as he did, he allowed the emotions to be unleashed on Costco. He likely hurt the bottom line of the company. That will affect many of its employees. Worse, he may have irreparably left a bad mark on the store’s manager that will follow that manager for life; So much for forgiveness.

Originally posted to ProgressiveLiberal on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 01:01 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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