Sunday, April 16, 2017

War on Easter?

In the time-honored Augoeides tradition of bringing you the most ridiculous news items featuring offended Christians over-reacting to the most trivial possible slights, for Easter Sunday I present this story from the New York Times. British candy maker Cadbury, the manufacturer of the creme eggs popular during the Easter season, decided to remove the word "Easter" from the name of an annual egg hunt that the company sponsors. And British Poor Oppressed Christians, naturally, completely freaked out.

The “storm in an egg cup,” as the network ITV put it, began after the confectionary giant Cadbury decided to omit the word “Easter” from the title of an annual egg hunt it sponsors, calling the event “Cadbury’s Great British Egg Hunt.”

The event, which has been around for a decade and has been known as the Easter Egg Trail, is co-sponsored with the National Trust, a conservation charity. It sends hundreds of thousands of children hunting for Easter eggs on historic properties across the country on Easter weekend.

The decision was considered such an affront to traditionalists that none less than the archbishop of York and Prime Minister Theresa May intervened to express dismay. The archbishop, John Sentamu, lamented that omitting an explicit Easter reference was akin to “spitting on the grave” of John Cadbury, a Quaker who founded the company, which initially sold cocoa and drinking chocolate, in Birmingham in 1824.

“If people visited Birmingham today in the Cadbury World they will discover how Cadbury’s Christian faith influenced his industrial output,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “He built houses for all his workers, he built a church, he made provision for schools. It is obvious that for him Jesus and justice were two sides of the one coin.”

Now I do understand that the whole "Easter is really Pagan!" thing that gets thrown around on Facebook during this time of year is basically bullshit. At the same time, the truth is that rabbits and eggs and all that are European folk traditions that have been associated with Easter for a long time, but which have little to do with the Christian religion itself. For example, many Pagans and Neo-Pagans also color eggs, hold egg hunts, and the like in the spring, so it is accurate to suggest that Christians do not have a monopoly on those activities.

But the Poor Oppressed can't have that. They need their monopoly in order to feel special, so any hint of losing it turns them into whiny babies - and, apparently, this goes on in Britain as well as in the United States. In the United Kingdom, people explicitly don't have constitutionally protected freedom of religion like they do in the United States, so it is even more telling that Cadbury made this decision entirely on its own. It's logical, really, that if you want your event to appeal to the most people, limiting it to members of one religion is kind of silly.

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