The Yorkshire-based Greggs bakery has issued an apology for replacing an image of the baby Jesus in its advent calendar with a sausage roll.
The publicity stunt by the UK’s largest bakery chain drew waves of complaints for what many saw to be a mockery of the Christian faith. Simon Richards, for instance, CEO of the Freedom Association, called for a public protest.
In a tweet, Richards called for a boycott against Greggs’ “sick anti-Christian Advent Calendar.”
“What cowards these people are: we all know that they would never dare insult other religions! They should donate every penny of their profits to @salvationarmyuk,” he said.
Please boycott @GreggsOfficial to protest against its sick anti-Christian Advent Calendar. What cowards these people are: we all know that they would never dare insult other religions! They should donate every penny of their profits to @salvationarmyuk https://t.co/tAV7CRP7WM
— Simon Richards (@simplysimontfa) November 15, 2017
Richards has called the Greggs move a part of the “secularist war on Christianity,” urging people to buy their Christmas presents from companies that show respect for the sensibilities of Christian believers.
The Rev. Mark Edwards of St. Matthew’s Church in Dinnington and St. Cuthbert’s Church in Brunswick expressed similar indignation at the stunt.
“It goes beyond just commercialism,” Edwards said. “It’s showing a total disregard and disrespect towards one of the greatest stories ever told, and I think people of all faiths will be offended by this.”
In response to these and other complaints, a Greggs spokesman told The Northern Echo: “We’re really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention.”
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 14, 2017
The offending photo appears behind one of the calendar’s doors, and shows nativity figures kneeling in homage to a sausage roll in a manger.
The Greggs advent calendar, a Christian tradition meant to mark the days before the coming of Jesus at Christmas, contains a tear-off coupon behind each door that can be exchanged for a different treat every day in December.
“Novelty advent calendars have been around for years, so we thought it was time to take the concept up a notch,” a Greggs spokesman said. “Fans won’t be disappointed by what’s behind the doors – there’s a delicious Greggs gift to enjoy every day of the December advent season, from sausage rolls to Christmas sandwiches and of course our infamous Festive Bake.”
“It’s the perfect Christmas gift for every Greggs fan,” he said.
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