Its this time of year, Gentle Readers. Tis the season to be jolly and ho ho ho etc. But as usual, there’s always people out there determined to piss on your seasonal bonfire. And what has the God Squad chewing on their rosary beads?
That a major chain of cheap, tasty snacks demonstrated a (God forbid!) a sense of humour by putting a sausage roll in the manger in one of its ads – and prompted the kind of, close-minded, idiotic, humourless reaction that gives the hymn pushers a bad name.
It’s an outrage; utter blasphemy you say! How could something so sacred be corrupted into something so disrespectful and evilly parodied? Blasphemous. Offensive.
Get a frigging life you losers.
This is the almighty creator of the universe appearing on Earth mewling and wailing in a trough in a shed shared with some farm animals. Glory, splendour, majesty? Yeah, right.
Yet despite being reminded of this nonsense every year, some Christians still find something supposedly irreverent to get irate about each time Christmas comes around. If it’s not spurious stories about wintervals and prayers, it’s tales of the desecration of the festival by commercial interests.
And this ignoble tradition shows no sign of dying out, for this year we have the sausage roll in place of Jesus in order to flog some greasy bakery products. He’s not the Messiah – he’s some flaccid pastry filled with processed meat
The Evangelical Alliance has accused Greggs, the company behind said image, of “manufacturing a scandal”. But this is the sort of scandal that exists only if people want to be scandalised. And all too predictably, they do. It’s as if Christians can’t get through any Christmas without making themselves look ridiculous (or rather, even more ridiculous than usual). Well, don’t come bitching to me, because there are a few things you need to realise.
The first is that the image is funny. Personally, I laughed my ass off. So, face facts: the idea of Jesus being replaced by a sausage roll is funny. It’s funny because sausage rolls possess inherent comic value, but also because it’s absurd.
The second is that anyone who claims to take Jesus seriously should really be finding literally hundreds of other things to get outraged about instead. There’s child poverty; there’s the rise in food bank use; there’s environmental degradation; there’s the surge in hate crime; there’s profound inequality; there’s warmongering; there’s slavery.
And I would have thought that such a divinely loving entity would be more exercised about the plight of poor people than by the depiction of him in a representation of a scene that fails even to merit a mention in two of the gospels.
At the heart of Christianity is a critique of religion itself. It tells us that God is not who, what or where any of us ever believed God to be. This radicalism under layer after layer of cloying sentimentality and deadening pomposity, has existed for far too long to the point that it’s taken a sausage roll to remind us of its significance. And for that, if not for the steak bakes, thanks be to Greggs.
Look out for this years festive edition of Playboy. Mary Magdalene’s the centrefold. Well, according to you enlightened worshippers version of events, she’s simply staying in character, right?
Ever heard of forgiveness? Nah, didn’t think so…