Giant warehouse chain Costco has apologized for labeling Bibles under the fiction genre in at least one Southern California store — a designation that went viral on social media and triggered outrage among the faithful.
Discovery Church pastor Caleb Kaltenbach noticed the label in a Simi Valley Costco where he was shopping for a gift — and tweeted the picture with the comment:
Church member Shellie Dungan fumed, "I was completely offended."
"It's wrong, and I believe that the Bible is real," Dungan said.
Another Costco in the Los Angeles area labeled the Holy Book under "gift books," The Associated Press reported
Kaltenbach's alarming discovery last Friday jettisoned him onto local and national television broadcasts, including Fox News, which called its segment "50 Shades of Fiction?"
— prompting the giant retailer to send out a mea culpa
to customers and the broadcaster.
"We deeply regret the mislabeling of the Bible and meant no offense to anyone," the company wrote in an email to customers, Fox News reported. "The buyer has let us know that this was an error and the books are being pulled off the shelves to be re-marked."
In a separate statement to Fox News, Costco blamed a distributor who'd mislabeled a "small percentage" of Bibles before shipping them.
"However, we take responsibility and should have caught the mistake. We are correcting this with them for future distribution," Costco said in the statement. "All mislabeled Bibles were also immediately relabeled. We greatly apologize for the error."
Kaltenback said the flap was good for the faithful, The Los Angeles Times reported.
"It's caused a lot of controversy, it's caused a lot of conversation, which I think conversation is good," he told a local CBS-TV station – and conceded to Fox News: "We do need to be vocal about our faith."
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