Monday, July 2, 2012

Author's beliefs

Should publishers promote, sell, and/or publish books by authors who have views contrary to the Bible? Should they check authors out better before they do so?

I have reason for asking. Back when I was working in a Christian bookstore, there was a diet that was popular, The Weigh Down Diet. The lady who came up with it also wrote a book, Rise Above, published by Thomas Nelson. After it was on the shelf for some amount of time, it came out that she didn't believe in the Trinity or practing the Biblical Sabbath (well, not many seem to believe the latter!) There was a lot of hoopla and controversy. Nelson canceled her upcoming book, and may have quit carrying the current one at the time.

Fast forward to 2012. Last week, actually. I had received a book review opportunity from Kregel Publishing for The Book of Books by Trevor Dennis. It is basically novelization of parts of the Bible. It is not a thorough work of every chapter and verse. I went to post my review and could not find an author photo on Kregel's website, so I googled him. One of the results that came up was "Trevor Dennis says that lesbians and gays are the Bible's greatest lovers." I doubted it was the same man, but clicked on it, read the article and bio of the writer, and it was the same man.

In the article, he defends homosexuality, saying "The Bible also celebrates same-sex relationships, despite what those persuaded by a few verses in Leviticus and the epistles might believe",  and that we have bigger challenges to worry about than "loving homosexual couples". (read it here, I am not making this up). He also insists that Jonathan and David had a sexual relationship, and seems to infer that Ruth and Naomi also did.

I was disgusted. This isn't simply holding views different than me, this is misconstruing the Bible on a big issue. I emailed my contact at Kregel and told her about it, linking to the article, and asked to be excused, offering to mail the book back. She replied that I was excused and no need to mail the book back. I wasn't really happy with the response as it didn't sound like it would be pursued any further, so I emailed customer service telling them the same thing. I got no reply from them, but did hear from my contact for the book review program again. She didn't seem happy that I emailed customer service and said they don't publish the book. (The imprint is Lion, which Kregel at least markets and sells) - and also said she has no authority to do anything about it. I told her I didn't mean to offend, but she gave no indication that she was going to forward my email and this is a big deal.

By the way, I doubt it is a coincidence, but the author skips Sodom and Gomorrah and the story of David and Jonathan in his book. There could be good reason that he did.

So should publishers be held accountable for author's anti-Biblical views? Should they check them out better, and when things like this surface, what should they do about it? Should they drop the book and author, or keep on promoting it?


Auntea said...

I answer yes. If the publisher is one that promotes "Christian" books, I believe it is very important that they be held accountable. Even with the technology available to us, it is hard to know everyone, and their doctrinal beliefs. I know there are some debatable areas, but what you have discussed in this post is not one of them. Thanks for letting us know.