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'It hurts me deeply if Jesus' name is abused': bishop speaks out after advertising controversies

Mon 22 Jan 2018
By Alex Williams

The Bishop of Peterborough has said he is "deeply" hurt when the name of Christ is "abused", following a recent spate of allegations that retailers have insulted Christianity.

Rt Rev Donald Allister spoke out after Ocado became the fifth major UK business in five months to be accused of links to offensive advertisements or packaging.

Billy Franks company

 

Some shoppers reacted angrily after it emerged the online grocer had been stocking a range of beef jerky which includes the flavours 'Christ on a bike' and 'Holy Mother of God'.

 

Bishop Donald (pictured below) declined to comment specifically on the case but told Premier: "It hurts me deeply as a Christian if the name of the Lord Jesus is abused or taken in vain or Christian symbols such as the cross.

"We can't mock something that's deeply, deeply important and is God's great gift to us."

Diocese of Peterborough

 

Ocado 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."

Fortnum & Mason

Last week, the luxury retailer Fortnum & Mason was accused by campaign group Christian Concern of trying to "retell" the Biblical account creation on a biscuit tin by portraying two men - Adam and Steve - in the Garden of Eden.

Bishop Donald went on to say: "Whether it's the name of Christ or any other religious figures, we should be very careful and we should find ways of making it clear to companies abusing those names that we they're doing isn't acceptable."

Greggs

 

Before Christmas, 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.

Domino's pizza company said sorry last month for any "unintentional offence caused" when it run a Christmas special offer campaign entitled the 'Saviour deal'.

Domino's/Solihull BID/Twitter

 

Bishop Donald added: "It's absolutely right that we should talk about the rights of minorities being respected and the rights of people not to have their cherished beliefs trashed for the sake of commerce"

Lidl/Wikimedia Commons

 

In September, Lidl apologises and said its food packaging which included the picture of a church with its crosses digitally removed would be changed "as soon as possible".

Click here to listen to Bishop Donald Allister:

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