This Giant Retailer Filed Bibles As Fiction

Oops. Costco, the members-only wholesale chain, has found itself in a tiff with a lot of Christians after it emerged that Costco filed the Holy Bible in the fiction section in its Simi Valley, Cali. location. A local pastor found it and alerted the press, and the ensuing outrage prompted the retail chain to apologize quickly and "greatly" for the error. "Costco’s distributor mislabeled a small percentage of the Bibles, however we take responsibility and should have caught the mistake," a company statement declared. "We are correcting this with them for future distribution. In addition, we are immediately relabeling all mislabeled Bibles."

The chain also was quick to add that it wasn't otherwise hostile to religion — its CEO, after all, is Catholic. (Still, with that newfangled liberal Pope, who knows what Catholics believe anymore.)

The whole incident raises an important question: in stores that lack a robust enough collection of books to warrant a religion section, how should the Bible be categorized? Insulting though it may be to call it fiction, wouldn't it be equally unfair to unabashedly call it non-fiction? Just as calling Jesus a figment of the imagination offends some believers, so would calling the Book of Job fact offend those who do not believe. (An informal Huffington Post survey has slightly over half of respondents wanting to label the Bible fiction.)

Maybe the Bible, like Jonah Lehrer books, belongs in that ambiguous area between fact and fiction. Or, better yet, stick it with a custom label: "Religion."