Murdoch Connection ‘Does Not Present an Ethical Dilemma’ For World’s Largest Bible Publisher

Zondervan issues statement giving its viewpoint about being part of the scandal-laden News Corp

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (ANS) — As Rupert Murdoch presides over the News Corp media empire and is a desperate fight for his reputation after being forced to close his scandal-laden British newspaper News of the World, the most widely read English tabloid in the world, it has now been revealed that Murdoch also owns Zondervan, the world’s largest publisher of Bibles.

Actually, Zondervan, is owned by Harper Collins Publishers, which is owned by News Corp., which in turn is owned by the world’s biggest media tycoon, Rupert Murdoch

In its mission statement, Zondervan identifies itself as a Christian company committed to glorifying Jesus Christ and promoting biblical principles through its publications.

“For 23 years, the News Corp family has included the leading seller of the best-selling book in history,” said Will Braun, a well-known Christian blogger.

In a hard-hitting piece carried in in the Canadian-based Geez Magazine (www.geezmagazine.org),  Braun wrote, “I know many Christians see the Bible’s publishing stature as validation of their chosen faith, but a savvy entrepreneur could simply see it as a business opportunity.

“Or perhaps the 80-year-old Murdoch, like any shrewd businessman, wanted diverse investments – a diversity that in his case ranged from a cleavage-saturated tabloid that ran headlines like, ‘F1 Boss Has Sick Nazi Orgy With 5 Hookers’ to a publisher that offers Little Lamb’s Storybook Bible.”


Braun also discusses Bible profiteering, asking, “What are we to make of the fact that every time we buy a Zondervan product we contribute to Murdoch’s mogul-dom, which includes a personal fortune that Forbes pegged at $6.3 billion last year”?

He added, “The company owns exclusive North American print rights to the popular New International Version of the Bible which it says has sold over 300 million copies worldwide. Zondervan also publishes books by leading Christian authors like Rick Warren (over 30 million copies of his ‘Purpose Driven Life’ have been sold), Tim LaHaye, Eugene Peterson, Brian McLaren and Shane Claiborne.”

Now Zondervan has hit back at this criticism with a statement by Tara Powers, a spokeswoman, who 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. They know who Zondervan is and how we operate and we have not heard of serious concerns from authors. While we are obviously aware of the matter at hand, it does not distract or detract from our work at hand and we will continue to pursue our mission and operate as we have for the past 80 years.”

Zondervan was founded in 1931 as a bookselling company in the Grand Rapids suburb of Grandville, Michigan by brothers Pat and Bernie Zondervan. It has grown into the world’s biggest Bible publisher and in 2001 Zondervan assumed all publishing responsibilities for Marshall Pickering, the HarperCollins UK evangelical imprint, as well as portions of Fount, its largely Anglican publishing list. These products are now under the Zondervan brand and sold by the Zondervan sales force worldwide.

Note: In 1980, Dan Wooding, along with Ray Barnett, wrote “Uganda Holocaust” for Zondervan. It was also published in numerous languages and the German version was on sale in the bookstore of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland.

– Murdoch Connection ‘Does Not Present an Ethical Dilemma’ For the World’s Largest Bible Publisher, Dan Wooding, ASSIST News Service, July 18, 2011 — © ASSIST News Service. Published in Religion News Blog by permission.

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This post was last updated: Jul. 20, 2011