A homosexual man has filed a $70 million lawsuit against Bible publishers Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, alleging that their version of the Bible that refers to homosexuality as a sin violates his constitutional rights and has caused him emotional distress.
Bradley LaShawn Fowler, an ex-con turned author, filed the federal suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on Monday, the same day a judge refused to appoint him a lawyer for his suit against Thomas Nelson, The Grand Rapids Press reported.
"The Court has some very genuine concerns about the nature and efficacy of these claims," the judge wrote.
Fowler, who is representing himself in both cases, claims that Zondervan manipulated Scripture by using the term "homosexuals" in 1 Corinthians 6:9 of their 1982 and 1987 revised edition Bibles. He also contends that the reference to homosexuality were deleted by the publisher in later versions without informing the public.
He alleges that since the older Kings James Version containing the term "homosexuals" is used by his family pastor, he has been outcast by his family.
The 39-year-old is suing the Grand Rapids publisher for compensation of 20 years of "emotional duress and mental instability," he told WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.
In a hand-written suit, Fowler lists all sorts of charges against Zondervan including malicious negligence, strict liability, malice, libel, and violating his civil rights. He filed a suit in June against Tennessee-based publisher Thomas Nelson on similar grounds. He's seeking $60 million from Zondervan and $10 million from Thomas Nelson Publishing.
Zondervan issued a statement to The Christian Post that said they do not discuss ongoing litigation. The company's spokesperson Tara Powers, however, pointed out that they only publish Bibles, not translate them.
"Since Zondervan does not translate the Bible or own the copyright for any of the translations we publish, we are not in a position to comment on the merits of how a word should or should not be translated," said Powers.
"We rely on the scholarly judgment of the highly respected and credible translation committees behind each translation and never alter the text of the translations we are licensed to publish. We only publish credible translations produced by credible biblical scholars," she noted.
According to Fowler, Zondervan has 20 days to respond to the claims listed.