A pastor from Simi Valley, Calif., was shopping at Costco last Friday to buy a present for his wife when he discovered that the Bible had been placed in the fiction section.
“All the Bibles were labeled as fiction,” Pastor Caleb Kaltenbach told Fox News’ Todd Starnes. “It seemed bizarre to me.”
The lead pastor at Discovery Church, a Christ-based, non-denominational church in southern California, Kaltenbach thought there must have been a mishap so he looked through the shelf for other Bibles. However, every copy had a label that read, “$14.99 Fiction.”
The pastor went in search for a Costco employee to ask for help, but he could not find anyone to answer his question regarding the labels. So, Pastor Kaltenbach took a photo of the Bible and tweeted it.
“People are pretty shocked and upset,” he told Fox News. “We are supposed to be living in an era of tolerance, but what Costco did doesn’t seem too tolerant.”
Pastor Kaltenbach says that the Koran would have never been labeled as fiction.
“If they don’t believe in the Bible, that’s fine – but at least label it as ‘religion’ as some bookstores do, or ‘inspiration’,” the pastor said.
Fox News reached out to the Costco headquarters in Issaquah, Wash., but the company claimed the labeling of the Bible as fiction was “human error at a warehouse.”
Seeing the Bible labeled as a work of fiction crossed the line for Pastor Kaltenbach.
“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.”
Other pastors spoke out, including Robert Jeffress who says: “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. Christians need to call out organizations like Costco whose actions undermine Christianity – regardless of whether those actions are accidental or intentional.”
Steven Smith, Vice President for Student Services and Communications and Professor of Communication at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, says labeling the Bible as fiction “identifies the thinking of the labeler more than the content of the book.”