A Christian bookselling house has been accused of a “disgusting” and “hateful” attack on a book by a popular evangelical preacher who is now facing a church tax case in the US.
The Gospel of Jesus by the Rev. David Barton was released in the UK last month, but a US publisher has demanded that the book be taken down from Amazon and eBay.
The controversial preacher has claimed that bookseller Barnes & Noble is trying to force him to pay more than $1 million (£943,000) in a tax bill after his book became the subject of a public backlash in 2016.
Barnes & Noble told the US Federal Trade Commission it would not remove the book from the online store if the publisher was also pursuing the tax case.
However, the publisher’s CEO, Kevin Green, said on Sunday that the company was “deeply disappointed” by Barnes & Nob’s claims.
The bookseller’s decision to sue Barnes & Norris was the latest example of the bookseller industry’s aggressive tactics against booksellers and publishers, who have been accused in recent years of engaging in “marketing” of controversial books in order to gain business.
It comes after the bookselling business in America was rocked by an anti-gay book that sparked a national boycott of Barnes & Nobel.
The controversy sparked by the book was sparked after a review of the title, titled A Book That Will Make You Proud, published by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which said it was “racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, anti-Christian, anti–feminist, anti-” and “disrespectful of the Holocaust”.
The book also accused Mr Barton of being “anti-gay” and called on readers to boycott the publisher.
Mr Barton has denied the accusations.
The lawsuit against Barnes &Nob was launched by the Christian group FreedomWorks and was led by the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Southern Baptist Convention.
In the book, Mr Barton says he wrote the book because “the world is a mess, and the world is full of problems that must be solved.”
In the first section, he writes about how “the United States was founded on the premise of freedom, equality and justice for all, but its history has proven that our system of government has systematically sought to oppress, marginalize, control and discriminate against the people it was created to serve”.
He wrote: “We have a long way to go.
But we are going to get there, I promise you that.”
He also wrote that he has worked to build “a more perfect union, where all men are created equal, and all women are treated with dignity and respect”.
Mr Barton wrote the following passage in the book: “The problem is that the church is too often the one that gets the lion’s share of the blame.
But the church does not control what happens in the churches.
It is a tool of the state and the state is the church.
That’s why the church tax issue is so important.”
The lawsuit was led and funded by the Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian legal group that is also known for its anti-LGBTR stances.
In its complaint, FreedomWorks said Barnes & Norton, which is the largest publisher of Christian books in the United States, has an “abysmal track record of enforcing its contracts”.
“The book’s publisher has used its position to demand a significant sum of money from the publisher for an agreement that is in fact in the best interest of the publisher and of the Christian community,” the complaint said.
Barners & Nob told the FTC that it has “no plans to remove the title” from Amazon.
Barnett & Noble said the allegations were “false and defamatory”.
“Barnes is deeply disappointed that Barnes & Norborrow would seek to punish this author for a book that he wrote with passion, with integrity, and with the best of intentions,” it said in a statement.
“The publisher is deeply committed to ensuring that books from its authors are available to all readers.”
It said that “every book published by Barnes is carefully reviewed and carefully edited before it leaves the publisher, to ensure it reflects the author’s vision of God’s Kingdom.”
It added that the Bible “has always been a sacred text to us, and we continue to work diligently to preserve its integrity”.
Barnes’ spokesman told The Associated Press that the publisher “respects the First Amendment”.
He said: “Barnes has always respected the First and Second Amendments.”
“We welcome all voices in our business, including the voices of those who may not agree with our policies.”