There are a lot of creative nativity scenes out there. You often see intricate, artistic figures of Mary, Jesus, and Joseph, plus a menagerie of animals and angels hanging out in a manger all over churches and under trees this time of year. Rarely is food involved in such religious displays. But nobody told Greggs that. The largest bakery chain in the UK is in hot water for including a half-bitten sausage pastry in place of Jesus in a promotional image for its new Advent calendar.
While I’m sure there are plenty of people who consider a fatty snack to be their savior, perhaps religious iconography wasn’t the right context to convey that message? But then again, the flaky pastry crust does swaddle that meat just like a snug baby, so I get what they were going for. Guess you can’t win them all. In the words of Homer Simpson, “Mmm, sacrilicious!”
Other astute viewers have made this clever observation: Jesus was Jewish and pork isn’t kosher, an ironic twist if there ever was one. But such erroneous technicalities were the least of most folks’ worries.
Several religious groups such as The Freedom Association have already urged a protest against the bakery, calling the image “sick” and “anti-Christian.” Outrage has also been stoked on social media, which prompted an apology from the company. A Greggs spokesperson said in a statement, “We’re really sorry to have caused any offense, this was never our intention.” Which begs the question, what was their intention? Humor? Absurdism? Publicity? (Yes, me writing this sentence is proof the correct answer is publicity!) But any way you slice it, a meat pastry Son of God is a hard sell even if you’re a fan of the most post-modern, Warholian promo art.
And just like Jesus, it’s not long for this world.
Header image courtesy of Greggs.