TORONTO - The name of a Canadian-based ice cream chain has upset some people in the Christian community.
John-Henry Westen, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Life Site News, is behind one of two petitions pushing to boycott an ice cream chain, Sweet Jesus. The chain plans to open a location at Mall of America this summer.
Online photos show that some locations of the store use an upside-down cross for the "t" in "sweet." Cups holding the sweet treats also bear the inverted crucifix. There are also images showing what some believe are vampire teeth and symbolism of blood.
Some Christians live by the 10 commandments. Westen is doing his part to enforce the third one. Westen and others want the company to change its name.
“Absolutely. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,” he said. “It is so sad. Here we are, and many Christians don’t see a problem with this, especially this week. Holy Week where Christians are celebrating the resurrection of Christ next Sunday. Take seriously the third commandment and not to use the name of our lord in vain.”
On its website, the company says "Our name was created from the popular phrase that people use as an expression of enjoyment, surprise or disbelief. Our aim is not to offer commentary on anyone's religion or belief systems, our own organization is made up of amazing people that represent a wide range of cultural and religious beliefs."
“It is a shame, especially for me as a Canadian. It is a real shame that this comes from Canada,” Westen said. “This crest use of bashing Christians as a way to make money. It is disgusting. (Canadians) We make a big deal about being respectful of other people. The Prime Minister should stand up and tell them this is just blasphemous to use this name.”
The comments online were mixed. Crisis expert Roshini Rajkumar said everyone won’t agree with every product.
“I happen to be a Catholic myself. I am not seeing offense in it but I have a high tolerance for things,” she said. “I also know to get attention in this very saturated market place, which ice cream is, you often need to raise some eyebrows or do something a little differently. My sense is that is what sweet Jesus ice cream was trying to do. If you don't like Sweet Jesus, there are so many other brands out there you can go to.”