A “controversial” article in a Christian magazine is possibly the reason Woolworths wanted to stop selling religious magazines.
After a week of public outcry, religious magazines are on the shelves once again. But now the world is curious to know why they were being tossed out in the first place. Among scores of other pastors, Pastor Errol Naidoo said: “I have reliable information that someone high up in Woolworths took offence to an article in one of the Christian magazines and then threw out all Christian literature.”
Those in the know say the official was specifically upset over two articles that appeared in Joy!, which were on the subject of “Judaizers”.
Judaizers are Christians who incorporate Jewish customs into their faith – observing the Sabbath on Saturday, for example.
In the articles, written by missionary Dr Peter Hammond of the Front Line Ministries, the behaviour of Judaizers is condemned as unChristian. The first article is illustrated by Jewish symbols – such as the Star of David and a yarmulke, a skullcap worn by Jewish men.
Hammond could not be reached for comment, but Front Line Ministries’ coordinator for Christian Action in Africa, Taryn Hodgson, said they were aware of the rumours.
Editor of Joy! Erin Georgiou said it’s nonsense that the articles played a role in Woolworths’ decision. “It’s just rumours.”
Acting head of Woolworths, Simon Susman, was abroad and could not be reached for comment. Woolworths’ media office referred City Press’s questions to a press release that it had issued earlier.
In the press release, sales figures are given as the reason for the decision.
However, Woolworths quickly changed its official statement. Later in its correspondence with the Christian media, it claimed it had for a long time had a policy of not stocking “religious or political” magazines and that it was merely reimplementing the policy.
Pastor Naidoo said that this was why people suspected that Woolworths was not telling the truth about the magazines incident.