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Pastor finds Bibles labeled as fiction in Costco store

Costco apologized this week for labeling Bibles at its Simi Valley store as "fiction" after a local pastor brought the apparent snafu to light on Twitter.

Caleb Kaltenbach, pastor of Discovery Church, came across the Bibles while shopping for a gift and tweeted the picture Friday with the comment: "Costco has Bibles for sale under the genre of FICTION Hmmmm...".

That didn't sit well with members of his congregation.

“I was completely offended. It’s wrong, and I believe that the Bible is real,” Shellie Dungan told KTLA-TV.

Costco initially remained mum after word of the fiction label spread quickly on social media, angering Christians, some of whom threatened to boycott the big box store.

But on Tuesday, when Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck hosted Kaltenbach on her show, the company released a statement, blaming a distributor for mislabeling a "small percentage" of Bibles before sending them to the store.

"However, we take responsibility and should have caught the mistake. We are correcting this with them for future distribution," Costco said.

All mislabeled Bibles were immediately relabeled.

"We greatly apologize for the error," the store said in its statement.

For all the brouhaha, Kaltenbach said the discussions the label has sparked have been good for the faith community.

"It’s caused a lot of controversy, it’s caused a lot of conversation, which I think conversation is good," he told KCBS-TV.

When Hasselbeck asked the pastor if he believed Costco's account, Kaltenbach replied he thought it "probably was a mistake, I have no idea."

But, he added, the issue highlighted the fact that "we do need to be vocal about our faith.”

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jason.wells@latimes.com

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