This Image Is Offensive And Should Be Banned… Apparently

Jesus was a sausage roll? I’m not sure, I’ve not studied the bible in depth but I shall take it from the backlash today that Jesus was and is not a sausage roll. He was a man (probably). The UK bakers ‘Greggs’ decided today to replace the little baby Jesus, in the traditional nativity scene, with a (pork) sausage roll – in order to sell more baked goods at their stores.

To Greggs’ surprise though, Christians and other right-wing groups have been OUTRAGED! that their saviour, their symbol of hope and their one and only son of God has been so callously replaced with a sausage roll. All in the name of commercialisation; those shallow capitalists at the church are chasing the dollar over respect and decency as always. Ah, sorry I meant to say ‘at Greggs’ in that last sentence, although ‘at the church’ fits rather snuggly too.

But listen, Greggs. You can’t just go making lighted heart pictures with zero malice in 2017. Christians will be after you!

I mean, look, here we have Simon Richards, CEO of the Freedom Association, exclaiming on twitter ‘They would never dare insult other religions!’ – I’m going to take it they decided to use the word ‘freedom’ loosely when naming their organisation, or maybe sending veiled threats to silence others is a form of freedom, who knows? Another user on Twitter continued to say ‘no other religion would stand for that nonsense’ as if it were some kind of rally cry to be more extreme, and more intolerant. Like they’re looking up at ISIS and saying ‘yeah! Look at them, they take no shit from anybody!’.

Don’t get me wrong I understand the implication that Jesus was a Jew and Jewish people don’t eat pork – I get that, but also don’t forget that all of these things are all entirely made up from nothing and that anyone can, in reality, eat whatever they want, and wear whatever they want without fearing a reprisal from an invisible super being. Still, having said that, it is insensitive to not consider other people when trying to make a light-hearted advertisement – they should have put a beef melt on there instead, or maybe a Cornish pasty.

While I do agree there is no need to purposely annoy anyone in the world, I also happen to think Christianity has got more faces than a clock shop. Not to mention their pot is blacker than any kettle I have ever seen. Especially when Christian Incorporated Ltd* is one of the richest organisations on Earth, and has never paid a penny in tax, which is actually 17 million pounds less than Greggs paid last year alone. Whether that 17 million pound is enough to stifle the obesity epidemic Greggs is helping to create remains to be seen, however.

But wait, they would never dare insult other religions, would they? Well, some men and women at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris may disagree with you there Richard. They were so committed to making jokes about religion at Charlie Hebdo that a lot of people died – still you have to respect Islam, because they didn’t stand for any nonsense did they! Then there was the Dutch cartoonist who was also killed for a similar thing. Yeah! No nonsense religion!

The issue here isn’t with religion necessarily, it is with offence and the reaction to offence. Now, I am all for defending issues which need defending when they need defending. But being offended is not a pre-requisite to being instantly correct. ‘Oh, I’m offended I must be right’. Wrong. We should strive to reduce offence where possible of course, there’s no need to be needlessly offensive, but Greggs wasn’t. They were just trying to sell sausage rolls to poor people. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean you have to like the picture at all, you can even hate it, you can even be offended by it, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to stop it existing.

I can’t chastise Greggs for putting a sausage roll in the nativity scene anyway, even if I wanted to. As according to the book ‘the Bible’ no one has a clue even how many shepherds were there, there wasn’t even a mention of a manger, nor a stable, or even an inn. In fact, who is to say there wasn’t a sausage roll at the birth of Jesus anyway? Sausage rolls were mentioned as much as stables and given Christianity’s views towards burden of proof, they will have to go a long way to prove to me it didn’t happen. Who knows maybe Greggs’ portrayal is accurate. Either way, add to the fact the nativity story was largely stolen from the Greek God Horus you begin to wonder who should be apologising to who.

This religious outrage is more damaging than a sausage roll from Greggs will ever be though… well, let’s not go that far, but religion’s refusal to allow denigration of its symbols is just intolerance wrapped up in a pity-me bunny outfit. You can’t go around assuming your symbols are as important to everyone else as they are to you. Therefore you have no right to grumble when a person who sees no value in a cross, or a man called Mohammed, then chooses to poke fun at it. You should defend the right to ridicule and joke, without it you’re left with absolute power, and a quick history lesson; it doesn’t end well.

If you want me to give you real examples of some things we can be both offended by and be correct in our position then you’re reading the right article because here it comes.

How about we get offended that religious groups, without any foundation in reality and with zero factual basis whatsoever have such a powerful role in society? How about we get offended these unelected organisations can run schools, and influence Government policy without the need to justify their actions? How about we all get offended when religions use this guise of free speech to shame gay people or threaten brainwashed children? How about we get offended when religions are clearly structured to extract as much money as possible through fear and coercion without any reprisals whatsoever?

These, and I mean these, religions, all of them, are not pillars of morality, voices of reason and champions of tolerance. They are the yardstick by which we can look back and see how far we have come. These organisations have only changed because they have been shaped and softened by modern society’s intolerance to intolerance. They no longer preach their books word for word because society will not accept the immorality they emit. I believe in tolerance and that is why just because I am offended by the things they believe doesn’t mean they’re not allowed to think them. However I will always fight for women’s rights and gay rights, I’ll always fight against slavery, against domestic abuse, and clearly, I will always fight for the right to party for companies to replace Jesus with sausages wrapped in pastry. It seems religion would prefer to just protest the latter.

Paul Green

*Not a real company.

 

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50 Comments

  1. elisabethel

    Oh dear, we are all rushing to some dark place in a hand basket if we can get overwrought over a hot dog and a few clay figurines. I suppose the idea was to worship the sausage roll; I like the sound of it. Sausage roll. You know, I’m American, and anything that comes out British sounds all fancy to me. But being vegetarian, that thing looks kind of disgusting to me. So go ahead, Greggs, do your darndest. It’s a funny photo, and I’m not biting.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. elbycloud

    Is Greggs a bakery? If so, why wouldn’t they use an almond croissant or pain au chocolat?
    Mille-feuilles are also very nice. Clearly they needed some French people or Americans in on this ad campaign. We know all about sweets. And Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. BelleUnruh

    Your post reminded me of a story in the Bible of a man called Gideon. God told him to tear down the idol that was on his father’s land. Gideon did it and the townspeople wanted to kill him. Gideon’s father told them if that idol was offended, he should be able to punish Gideon himself. The people agreed.

    I’m with you, I think we all should have the right to believe what we want and not get all upset if others don’t agree with us, or make fun of us. Jesus said that a long time ago.

    Liked by 1 person

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