The Deadly Viper site is down and Zondervan, the publishers, issued the following letter:
November 19, 2009
Zondervan Statement Regarding Concerns Voiced About "Deadly Viper: Character Assassins"
From Moe Girkins, President and CEO
Hello and thanks for your patience.
On behalf of Zondervan, I apologize for publishing Deadly Viper: Character Assassins. It is our mission to offer products that glorify Jesus Christ. This book’s characterizations and visual representations are offensive to many people despite its otherwise solid message.
There is no need for debate on this subject. We are pulling the book and the curriculum in their current forms from stores permanently.
We have taken the criticism and advice we have received to heart. In order to avoid similar episodes in the future, last week I named Stan Gundry as our Editor-in-Chief of all Zondervan products. He will be responsible for making the necessary changes at Zondervan to prevent editorial mistakes like this going forward. We already have begun a dialogue with Christian colleagues in the Asian-American community to deepen our cultural awareness and sensitivity.
Zondervan is committed to publishing Christian content and resources that uplift God and see humanity in its proper perspective in relation to God. We take seriously our call to provide resources that encourage spiritual growth. And, we know there is more to learn by always listening to our critics as well as our advocates.
It would be unfair to take these actions without expressing our love and support for the authors of this book, Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite. Both gentlemen are gifted writers and passionate about their ministry. We do believe their message is valuable and plan to work with the authors to come up with a better presentation of that message. We will jointly ensure we do our due diligence on the appropriateness of the creative side. This will include reaching out to a broad spectrum of cultural experts.
Finally, I want to personally thank Professor Rah, Ken Fong, Eugene Cho and Kathy Khang for their input and prayers during this discussion. We appreciate everyone’s concern and effort and look forward to working together for God’s kingdom.
Wow … thanks to Zondervan and the authors for their humility and graciousness as well as their apology, and also to Soong-Chan Rah, Eugene Cho, Ken Fong and Kathy Khang for their advocacy and eloquence in representation. Way to go, Church! (Although, reading some of the comments on those blogs, I’m struck by how much more work needs to happen within the Church …)
Check out more coverage–actually, a lot of it’s the same–on the aforementioned’s blogs, as well as on Angry Asian Man.