Storm in a schooner
On Friday March 10, my inbox received the Synod Weekly Insights enews, headlined by the UCA’s final statement to the Royal Commission and a brief story on the Bible Society in Australia’s 200th anniversary headed “Good news isn’t hard to find”. Then, 24 hours later I did a double take when I read in The Sydney Morning Herald “Liberal MPs in marriage equality debate sponsored by Coopers beer”. The Bible Society!
What? I read both with amazement and initial “How could they?” The Herald’s report went on: “Liberal MPs Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie have appeared in a debate sponsored by Coopers Brewery. Titled “Keeping it Light”, the video is part of a joint campaign between the Adelaide brewer and Bible Society Australia ‘to reach even more Australians with God’s word’.”
Beyond the media reports is the Bible Society’s own web page for the campaign – “Keeping it light”, where the landing page boldly announces that as part of its partnership, the Bible Society Australia has accepted a bicentenary tribute from Coopers Brewery. The Adelaide-based brewer produced 10,000 cases of limited edition Premium Light beer that feature a happy birthday message to Bible Society from Coopers, and Bible verses on the carton packaging.
To say this “partnership” is interesting is to say the least. Given The Uniting Church and, for that matter the Christian church, is such a broad church, the whole exercise could be seen by some as the 200-year-old organisation selling its soul to the demon drink.
There will be critics within our fellowship and, equally, there will be cynics in the secular world who will make light (pun intended) of the whole idea. Oh, and as for a suggested verse on the carton, let’s hope the ad agency does waste time looking for the source of the often misquoted “bible verse” – “The Lord moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform”. We know William Cowper wrote the words of the hymn!
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook
Editor’s Note: Since we recieved this letter the partnership between Coopers and The Bible Society has ceased.