Editorial

Come on, a washable Bible?

Rupert Murdoch has a net worth of $4 billion and is the 132nd-richest person in the world, according to the 2009 Forbes 400. He owns News Corp Inc., which owns HarperCollins publishers, which owns Zondervan, which claims to be the “world’s leading Bible publisher.” They have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide.

I can think of at least four reasons why yet another re-packaging of the Bible is so overdoing it:

1. Political economy. Instead of looking at the product itself, look at who produced it and ask how this manner of production is enslaving or liberating a people (yes, that’s simplistic, but you know what I mean). When we ask who owns the new washable “Beginner’s Bible,” we find one of the mightiest media titans in the world, Rupert Murdoch and his company NewsCorp Inc. His empire includes Twentieth Century Fox, Fox News, and other commercial entertainment enterprises. Support for this conglomeration of corporations is support for a major player in the capital “E” Empire.

Rupert Murdoch has a net worth of $4 billion and is the 132nd-richest person in the world, according to the 2009 Forbes 400. He owns News Corp Inc., which owns HarperCollins publishers, which owns Zondervan, which claims to be the “world’s leading Bible publisher.” They have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide (see zondervan.com).

2. Separation. As long as we are content to run out and buy things that we could normally do without or make ourselves, we remain separated from the material goods around us. This has a creepy way of distancing us from the earth and the flow of life in our children, pets, flowers and trees. Guy Debord, in The Society of the Spectacle, said “Separation is the alpha and omega of the spectacle.” I’m inclined to see this product and others like it as the epitome of separation.

3. Stupefaction. Yeesh, the sheer amount of stuff out there is enough to bamboozle our eyes. Stupefaction is a term that describes the unlimited, seemingly new options of essentially the same thing and how they have the effect of stunning us into submission. We need to wean ourselves off the gravy train of “new and improved.” Believe it or not, I now own a social justice Bible. Yep, somebody gave me a copy of the scriptures with all the cool passages already highlighted by some person hired by a company exec. I find this incentive not to think, just shop. I want out from under it all.

4. Blasphemy. Huh? I know, the word is outdated. Don’t you need absolutes before you can have blasphemy? And absolutes are in short supply these days. But heck, when profiteers reap heaps from the piety of others, that’s gotta be against my religion.

Aiden Enns is co-editor of Geez, published by Geez Press Inc. This just in! For a free washable Bible story, readers can go to geezmagazine.org, download a Bible story image and trace it with permanent ink onto transparencies. Now kids can colour with water-based paints or felt pens.

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Issue 15, Fall 2009

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