Faith titles to be sold again

2010-10-21 00:00

AFTER being the subject of nationwide criticism, Woolworths has reversed its decision to take five Christian magazine titles off its shelves.

Earlier this week Christian groups and individuals went into a spin, expressing their displeasure on Facebook and Twitter when the retailer announced Joy, Vision, Lig, Finesse and Lééf would no longer be on sale in stores.

Said an angry Facebook user, “It’s deplorable and disgusting that Woolworths would continue to market and use Christian celebrations like Christmas to make money and get customers, but would ban Christian magazines from its shelves.”

However, Julian Novak, Woolworths head of perishables, told The Witness the retailer’s intention was not to cause offence.

“We review all our products whether they are baked beans, bananas or magazines.

“We found the faith-based magazines were not selling. We certainly did not mean to offend anyone.”

Novak reiterated that the decision was made purely from a business perspective, and added that the customers’ grievances had been taken into account.

“The titles will be relisted, and we will review the entire category early next year,” he said.

He explained the review, scheduled tentatively for the end of January 2011, will take into account sales and customer feedback.

Novak insisted that the decision was by no means an attack on Christianity,

Many Christian groups took exception to the titles’ removal from Woolworths’ shelves.

Groups such as the Apostolic Faith Mission of SA and Solidarity Helping Hand have called for Christians to boycott the retailer

Theologian Gavin Johnston said, however, that the company probably meant no offence.

“My understanding is that this is merely a business decision of the Woolworths chain and has no bearing on religious discrimination,” he said.

Johnston added that the Christian community faces challenges larger than the removal of magazine titles.

“Believers are suffering and dying for the name of their Lord across our world — surely that brings a perspective that boycotting a supermarket over magazines is a little inconsequential?” he asked.

Johnston maintained the role of the Christian community is to “let their light shine before others”.

“That’s the bigger priority than protests and boycotts over magazines,” he added.

 

 

 

 

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