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February 3rd, 2013:

Raising the bar of pointless offence taking

Our Muslim friends rightly get a lot of flak from some sections of the blogosphere for offence taking.  They aren’t alone of course; the ranks of the professionally offended seem to swell daily.  And I can’t honestly say nothing offends me.  Running up a huge, un-payable national debt is offensive, demanding national insurance at gunpoint and maintaining the delusion of future pensions in twenty years is offensive (we’ve seen the demographics), killing people by star chamber declaration with drone strikes, that offends along of course with taking rucksacks full of home made explosives into populated areas and self-detonating.  All these things should and probably do offend you.

Trivia on the other hand, shouldn’t.  Specifically, you really don’t need to get too upset about the name of a packet of crisps.  But taking a tactic from the playbook of the ummat al-Islamiyah, the Reverend Nick Donnelly from the Diocese of Lancaster was very offended by a sandwich chain.

No, you haven’t gone to the Daily Mash site by mistake, he really was.

Pret a Manger launched spicy tomato crisps based on the non-alcoholic version of a Bloody Mary cocktail and they called them ‘Virgin Mary’ crisps.  This prompted complaints, including from Catholic groups, that it was an offensive reference to Jesus’s mother.

Astonishingly, Pret folded and withdrew the crisps more or less immediately saying

“It didn’t take many complaints, It’s the strength of feeling that’s behind them that’s important.  For the sake of a particular flavour of crisps, we don’t want anyone offended”

Father Donnelly said “One of the things we need to go away and think about is what this incident tells us about how we defend our faith in the future.  “We’ve been passive for too long in the face of mockery of our faith and discrimination against us as Catholics.”

Well I certainly agree he needs to spend a bit of time reflecting, and I am not sure what discrimination he thinks he has been subject to, but if he is seeking to avoid mockery, I might suggest a bit of a tactical re-think.