In this blog we comment on news items that we believe are significant. One such bit of news surfaced recently. It was reported that Collins Bartholomew, a subsidiary of HarperCollins has published an Atlas for distribution in schools in the Middle East. In this Atlas, the publisher has shown the borders of Jordan and Syria extending through the nation of Israel and the name of “Israel” has been omitted; however, the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank that are within the borders of Israel, are clearly delineated and labeled.

The omission was reported by the international Catholic news weekly, The Tablet. According to The Tablet, Collins Bartholomew claimed “that including Israel in the Middle East Atlas would have been ‘unacceptable’ to its customers in the Gulf and that their amendment incorporated ‘local preferences’.

In response to the revelation, HarperCollins stated on their UK FaceBook page: “HarperCollins regrets the omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas. This product has now been removed from sale in all territories and all remaining stock will be pulped. HarperCollins sincerely apologises for this omission and for any offence caused.”

The incident raises an interesting question. Can Christians trust secular publishers of Christian content? HarperCollins also publishes Bibles through another subsidiary. If HarperCollins can omit the name of Israel from an Atlas to appease a powerful group of their customers, can they also subtly change specific Bible verses to appease other large and/or powerful interest groups? Since HarperCollins didn’t notify the government of Israel that they had wiped them from the map, will secular publishers announce to Christians they are changing the meaning of the Bible or other Christian publications? Every Christian should be circumspect about what they read and who has written it.

Be Blessed in the New Year, Diane and David Munson