Five U.K. Retailers Accused of Insulting Christianity in Five Months

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: January 22, 2018

Five major U.K. retailers were accused of using advertising or packaging offensive to Christians in as many months. Ocado, an online supermarket, Fortnum & Mason, a luxury goods retailer, the bakery chain Gregg's, Domino's pizza, and Lidl all faced criticism for insulting Christians or Christianity.

Ocado, the world's largest dedicated online grocers, was accused of stocking a packet of beef jerky which uses "blasphemous" and "gratuitously offensive language" about Jesus. The company was was urged by Christian campaigners to "think again" about whether to stock packs of 'Christ on a Bike' spicy dried meat.

Ciarán Kelly, deputy director at the Christian Institute, said: "Ocado says it has over half a million active customers, and I'm sure many of them would see this product as pretty despicable. Jesus Christ is the very heart of the Christian faith - He is the Son of God and the only perfect human being to have ever lived. Using his name in such a blasphemous, throw-away fashion is hurtful and saddening."

Responding to a number of complaints made on Twitter, Ocado said it had noted concern about the beef jerky but had no plans to stop stocking it. The retailer said: "As an online retailer, we stock products from a variety of brands, and we will continue to sell these products for those who wish to purchase them. We appreciate your comments regarding this jerky and have passed these on to the relevant Buying team."

Separate controversies affected other British retailers in recent months, namely, LidlDomino'sGreggs and Fortnum & Mason.

Earlier in January 2018, Fortnum & Mason unveiled an 'Adam and Steve Circular Biscuit Box' which featured two men holding an apple and standing by the Serpent. Two alternative designs for the tins, which contained gingerbread biscuits, feature two women - named Eve and Niamh - and Adam and Eve.

The products were described by Fortnum & Mason as "baked to perfection to make a most memorable and, indeed, delicious gift for your loved one this Valentine's Day." The sweet treat range appears to take inspiration from the Christian slogan "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve".

Before Christmas 2017, the bakery chain Greggs apologised after the infant Jesus was replaced with a half-eaten sausage roll in a Nativity scene featured in its Christmas-themed calendar.

Also in December 2017, Domino's pizza company apologized for any "unintentional offense caused" when it ran a Christmas special offer campaign entitled the 'Saviour deal.'

Finally, in September 2017, Lidl apologized for its food packaging which included the picture of a church with its crosses digitally removed, saying it would be changed "as soon as possible."

Sources: PremierPremierThe Northern Echo