Christian Publisher Booted From NRB For Publishing Pro-Gay Book

When we wrote a post last week highlighting the anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-Islam activism of David and Jason Benham, it felt like the entire Religious Right movement began screaming that we were jackbooted Nazi fascist thugs who were out to silence and destroy anyone with whom we disagreed after HGTV announced that it was not going to move forward with the Benham brothers' reality show.

The basic gist of the storm of criticism was that liberals and gay activists have no tolerance for those with whom they disagree and will stop at nothing to silence those who hold opposing views.

At the same time that this was going on, another controversy was unfolding as various Religious Right activists were in the middle of an effort, started by Matt Barber, to pressure a Christian publishing house to back away from a book entitled "God and the Gay Christian:The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships" by Matthew Vines.

Vines' book, which seeks to refute the anti-gay narrative promoted by the Religious Right, was published by an imprint of the Christian publishing company WaterBrook Multnomah and that was totally unacceptable to anti-gay activists who have relentlessly attacked the publisher over the last few weeks.

WaterBrook Multnomah has, so far, refused to recall Vines' book and, as a result, the company has been forced to resign from the National Religious Broadcasters:

A leading Christian book publisher has resigned its membership in the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) after a dispute over God and the Gay Christian, a new book published by an affiliated imprint.

In a letter to board members, NRB president and CEO Jerry Johnson said that employees of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, the evangelical division of Penguin Random House, worked on the book. The book, which argues that same-gender sex is not sinful, was published by Convergent Books, a 16-month-old Penguin Random House line that describes itself as "publishing books for progressive and mainline Christians who demand an open, inclusive, and culturally engaged exploration of faith."

"Unfortunately, while the Multnomah Publishing Group is separate from Convergent, as a legal and business entity, the staff of the Multnomah and Convergent operations are substantially the same," Johnson wrote. "Most notably, Steven W. Cobb serves as the chief publishing executive for both groups. … Other Christian workers do so as well. … This issue comes down to NRB members producing unbiblical material, regardless of the label under which they do it."

Cobb also oversees Image, Penguin Random House's Roman Catholic imprint that falls under the Crown Publishing Group division with WaterBrook Multnomah and Convergent. The Christian divisions are located in the same Colorado Springs offices. Crown and Penguin Random House are based in New York City.

"I asked them to reconsider and end the practice of having Christian workers from their publishing house work on Convergent projects," Johnson wrote. "They declined to do so at this time and asked how we would respond. I told them that if they wanted to remain NRB associate members, I would have to refer the matter to our Ethics Committee for review, or they could agree to resign their membership. They agreed to resign immediately."

Just something to keep in mind the next time the Religious Right screams that liberals have no tolerance for people that hold differing views and will stop at nothing to punish and silence them.

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