Toronto-based Sweet Jesus Ice Cream, which is expanding into the United States, is facing backlash and boycotts from Christians over itss name. Detractors are calling the the frozen dessert purveyor’s moniker “blasphemous” and an example of “hate speech,” reports CBC News.
An Citizengo.org petition directed at the owners of Sweet Jesus has drummed up 10,341 signatures as of this posting, with a goal of 20,000.
“Choosing the name of our Lord for a brand of soft-serve ice cream is totally offensive and revolting,” says the petition’s creator. “Even if this were some innocent faux-pas, it would still be unacceptable! However, this is anything but a mere mistake. Both in their promotional materials and menu selection, it is plain to see that [founders Andrew] Richmond and [Amin] Todai have every intention of mocking Christ and Christianity.
“If anything could qualify as ‘hate speech,’ this is it!”
A separate petition on Change.org has nearly reached its target of 1,500 signatures. “God forbid the name of the prophet Muhammad was used in this manner or the name of Allah against Muslims,” this petition reads. “So why is it that the name of Jesus Christ can be openly mocked in our so-called fair, equal, and democratic society?”
Sweet Jesus, founded in 2015 by Richmond and Todai, has 20 locations, mostly in the Toronto area. The only American outpost, currently, is inside the Baltimore–Washington International Airport. However, more storefronts in the United States are reportedly on the way. A disclaimer on the company’s website explains the name “was created from the popular phrase that people use as an expression of enjoyment, surprise or disbelief,” and that Sweet Jesus does not intend to “offer commentary on anyone’s religion or belief systems.” In a statement provided to CBC News, Richmond and Todai say they have taken the petitions into consideration, but they note: “After a lot of thought, we have decided that we will not make a change.”
• Sweet Jesus Ice Cream Shops Face Boycott, as Christians Call Its Branding ‘Hate Speech’ [CBC News]
• Toronto-Based Ice Cream Parlours Serve Up Blasphemy [Citizengo.ord]
• Change the Name of Sweet Jesus Ice Cream. Remove Offensive Antichrist Imagery Immediately. [Change.org]
• Sweet Jesus Ice Cream [Official]
• All Scandals [E]