That exactly mirrored my experience when, last week, through Amazon Marketplace, I bought a “new” used copy of Salman Rushdie‘s The Satanic Verses (the first one had gotten lost in a translatlantic move more than two decades ago). When my book arrived, I found a “million-dollar” bill inside, with the text on the reverse stating that the “million-dollar question” was if I’d go to heaven, or whether God saw me as a “lying, thieving, blasphemous adulterer at heart.” (Ah, He knows me so well.)
It’s interesting that these extracurricular texts were inserted into books that believers often paint as blasphemous — although, for all I know, the tracts are also stuffed into The Joy of Cooking. That’s what my seller told me when I politely inquired:
We put pamphlets, DVD’s and coins in all of our book purchases. We mean no offense in putting gospel tracts in our orders. A portion of our sales goes into churches all over the world. We are a Christian-run business that promotes spreading the gospel to everyone we can. Whether our customers choose to read it, trash it, or share it is totally up to them.
It seems to me that the only reason sellers get away with this nonsense is because their religion happens to be in the majority. If the owner of a bookstore stuffed his wares with pamphlets about atheism or Islam, he’d lose a lot of business; I don’t think Christan customers would tolerate it.
Why should we?