You could say Christians are pretty... cross about the ice cream chain Sweet Jesus.
It was only a matter of time, really. Back in October, we reported that the Canadian soft serve shop would open its first U.S. location at the Mall of America in Bloomington. "Sweet Jesus, indeed!" we proclaimed, stoked on the promise of utterly ridiculous desserts and drinks topped with cotton candy and brownie crumbles and burnt marshmallows.
Then, the comments like this started rolling in:
Armed with the knowledge that Sweet Jesus was actually selling evil and not, in fact, ice cream, we awaited the inevitable backlash that would follow the company's expansion into a handful of American markets.
Said backlash kicked off earlier this month, with a pair of petitions -- one on CitizenGO, one on Change.org -- calling for SJ's owners to change their name and lose the "blasphemous" imagery (upside-down crosses, etc.).
From the Change.org petition: "God forbid the name of the prophet Muhammad was used in this manner or the name of Allah against Muslims. So why is it that the name of Jesus Christ can be openly mocked in our so-called fair, equal, and democratic society?”
Is "God forbid" not taking the Lord's name in vain, by the way? Where are we drawing the line, here?
Adds an outraged March 27 update on the CitizenGo petition: "They are calling our Lord a flavour of ice cream."
(Which, I mean, as a friend pointed out: "Jesus turned himself into a food.")
As of Thursday morning, more than 11,000 people had signed the CitizenGO petition, while the Change.org one was just shy of its goal of 2,500. Sweet Jesus responded earlier this week to say the name's sticking around: "Our own organization is made up of amazing people that represent a wide range of cultural and religious beliefs."
To clarify, these pearl-clutching protesters want everyone to know that this isn't about free speech -- it's about saving the good people at Sweet Jesus from the flames of hell. That CitizenGO update continues:
Now, despite our outrage, we do need to make one thing absolutely clear. We are not calling for the institution of new blasphemy laws in Canada! We are not demanding that the government close them down. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are Christian principles. If they want to go on insulting Christians and mocking God, that is their prerogative. However, we are concerned for their souls, and we want to make them aware of the offence they have caused. And we will not sit quietly by as our God is publicly mocked and ridiculed. We will stand for Christ.
That's cool. Go ahead! That's your right.
We'll be over here, sitting for soft serve with Satan.
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