In what Zondervan Publishing House was calling "the largest distribution of Bibles to date," the maker of Cheerios and other breakfast cereals is including the New International Version of the Bible on several CD-ROMs attached to the cereal boxes. Now the cereal-maker is apologizing. "While inclusion of the Bible may be seen as added value by some," says a statement, "it is the company's policy not to advance any particular set of religious beliefs. Inclusion of this material does not conform to our policy, and we apologize for this lapse." The statement goes on to say that the Bible was placed on the CD "without our knowledge or consent." But Gregory Swann, the founder of the Christian software company that helped create the CDs, calls that "a flat-out lie." Meanwhile, the American Jewish Committee's James Rudin is calling the CDs offensive. "I eat General Mills products myself, and I don't think it's right for any American to pick up a box of cereal in the morning and feel excluded. This is one particular version of the Bible they're offering—and America is multi-religious, multi-ethnic. When Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists and millions of other Americans pick up this box of cereal and look at this Bible—they are excluded." It's not General Mills' first conflict with evangelicals—after years of criticism by prolife activists for the company's contributions to Planned Parenthood, the company was praised when the contributions stopped.
Next week, an estimated 10,000 evangelists will meet in Amsterdam to discuss how to evangelize the world. A Memphis convention last week had only 200 evangelists, but the focus was much narrower: these evangelists ...1
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