In a world of so much ridiculous news, for instance when the leader of the Labour Party thinks it’s a good idea after a fight with his own MPs to make a video in which he makes light of the incident, a piece of visual entertainment in which he also says that Labour MPs shouldn’t go on and on about internal party battles, all while making a video in which he as a Labour MP talks about nothing but internal Labour Party battles, you’d think nothing would be ridiculous enough to stand out. But every once in a while, something breaks through.
A company which manufactures a product they call the “Real Easter Egg” was looking for some publicity – and the right of centre press was very happy to oblige. For you see, it turns out a lot of manufacturers of chocolate eggs don’t bother to put the word “Easter” on their merchandise, and the “real” Easter egg happily fills this gap in the market. Clearly, the reason Cadbury’s has removed the name of the holiday from its packaging is because “Christianity is under attack”. Better yet, a further reason that the word “Easter” is absent from chocolate egg packaging? You guessed it, the Islamification of Great Britain.
This is all so painfully idiotic, it’s hard to know where to begin attacking this whole thing, but here goes. For a start, the word “Easter” has been missing from a lot of chocolate egg packing materials for a really long time in this country, going back until at least the 1970s. If I had to guess why this is, it’s obviously been done for commercial reasons (since this is what determines what is on any product packaging) and the underlying reason why this is so would have nothing whatsoever to do with Islam or “attacking Christianity”. It’s because Britain isn’t really a Christian country and has not been for a very long time – it is a secular one.
Don’t believe me? Any poll taken in the recent past will tell you this precisely. A big one done in 2015 revealed that 53% of Britons consider themselves atheist. For those of you who find maths tricky, that’s over half. Only 30% considered themselves religious. Not Christian – that 30% includes the Muslims as well. That means at best around a quarter of the people living in the UK consider themselves Christian. That doesn’t sound like a particularly Christian country to me.
Three further points to bring up here on all this. One: ironically enough, the group of people most likely – if they were forced to have an opinion on whether or not taking the word “Easter” off of Easter related products was good or bad – who would overwhelmingly think it was bad, would actually be Muslims. Christian traditions are respected in Islam, and if there’s any religion that isn’t keen on the secularisation of society and particularly religious events, it is Islam. The idea that secularising Easter would be done for the sake of Muslims demonstrates a profound ignorance of Islam in the extreme. Two, could someone please tell me what the Right’s view on Christianity actually is these days? Seriously, one minute they’re talking about how the overbearing church should butt out of national life, the next second they’re bemoaning Christianity under attack. The last time I recall Christianity actually being under attack in this country was when the Archbishop of Canterbury had a go at austerity a few years back and every right-wing paper in the land told Welby to shut his God-fearing gob pronto.
Three, what the hell is traditionally Christian about fake eggs made out of chocolate in the first place? I don’t recall them being mentioned in the Bible anywhere. Were they pudding at the Last Supper, and that only made it into some text that didn’t make the ecumenical cut? Seriously, if I was going to attack Christianity, I think I could find a better target then subtly removing words from chocolate. If I was going to attack Christianity, I’d probably tell Justin Welby to shut up about austerity again – but don’t tell the Daily Mail that.
How many people were real Christians even 100 years ago ? More people may have gone to Church but that was because it was the respectable thing to do in some circles. Christians have always been a small minority because it takes a very brave and determined person to live a Christian life but without such people civilised life would soon unravel as it is in some places. “Easter eggs ” and the secular Christmas have little or nothing to do with Christiabity which has to be lived every day. All those people who want the Church to modify its stance to reflect the rather muddled views of secular society are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. It would be as though early Christians agreed to worship statues or the Roman Emperor and sponsored gladiators in the Coliseum. Thank God they did not or we would still have that now along with unwanted babies being thrown in litter bins or lavatorries so infertile women had to go there to find a baby to take home.
Matt (Bristol) says
Nick, can you clarify who is making the daft claim about islamification? Is it the Real Chocolate company or the Daily Mail?
I think we can read the Real chocolate company as an attempt to Christianise Easter eggs – which have as you rightly say, never been the most Christian part of the attendant Easter nonsense, and are a late invention – as a handy tool in contesting the secularisation of the holiday as a whole, whilst making some money from the enterprise for freetrade projects.
However, it is worth noting that the cholocate industry used to be heavily Christian (well, at least Quaker) and at the same time heavily pro-social-justice, in a parternaliistic sort of way, so there is something chocolate-related one coud legitimately claim to have a cause to re-Christianise, if one wanted to.
Obviously, if they think there’s a market for it, they can put their product out there and try to sell it in legal any way they want – but, dead right, it would be good if the DM didn’t try to hijack their bandwagon for the secularist (I think the phrase is really erastian, ie the church as the servant of the political state or culture), right-wing, anti-justice agenda.