Thursday, March 29, 2012

Woolies Facing Wrath Over Hot Cross Buns

March 29, 2012.

Cape Town - Woolworths is facing criticism from a few Christians for putting a Halaal certification mark on its hot cross buns, but a bishop has labelled it "nothing more than a storm in a baking pan".

What! No Kosher hot cross buns?
The Cape Times reported on Thursday that people had written e-mails and used social networking sites to voice disapproval of the use of a Muslim mark on a food that had special significance for Christians.

One Christian wrote on Woolworths Facebook wall: “Ja, its sad to hear the woolies we supported all these years turned their backs on Christians.

“Really disappointed. Lucky we received that email, man its spreading like a wild fire. Proud to say a few people I know are boycotting W, including me [sic].”

Another wrote: “I hate woolworths... How can you do that to the Christians, I hope that God will have mercy on you. And dnt be surprised if your shops run bankrupt.. I will pray to my living God and you will see what he is capable of! [sic]”

SA Catholic Bishops' Conference spokesperson Chris Townsend said people were overreacting and needed to be more understanding.

"Hot cross buns are only a symbol, and not a central tenet of Christianity. There are a lot more weighty issues to deal with in SA than a few 'hot cross Christians'," he was quoted as saying.

The food chain apologised for the upset and said it would release separate buns in future - non-Halaal certified hot cross buns and Halaal certified spiced buns.

Comment: Oh my head is about to burst something fierce.  Are these idiots serious?
Are hot cross buns now part of the war against terror too?  Quick - save the hot cross buns from the Muslim terrorists before they turn it into Tali-buns!

Geez hey.

So should we assume that the same zealous bunch of Christians won't eat a nice curry at their favorite Indian/Malay restaurant if the meat used is halal?

Would saying grace help overcome the terrorist reach of halal certification in such a case?

And would it be wrong for me to eat fish on a Friday because I am a Muslim?

I wonder what would Jesus do with halal hot cross buns?

Our collective descent into idiocy is well on its way, would you not say?

The next idiot to join the halal hot cross bun fray will be a pants above the ankle limp-handsake Tabligh zealot who will insist that a hot cross bun cannot be halal in any circumstance because a Muslim cannot consume a cross.

Trust me on this one.

Oh hell and then there will be a Bible thumper who will claim that Muslims are secretly converting Christians to Islam with halal hot cross buns. 

Trust me on this one too.

If it ain't happened yet it is just a matter of time.  And there Darwin was thinking that over time the human species would evolve into greater intelligence until nary an idiot could be found.

He was wrong.  The gene pool is permanently f*cked by religious zealots with or without halal hot cross buns.

I need new drug(s) - aspirins just ain't cutting it anymore.



Pstonie said...

Darwin (and Mike Judge) missed a trick, I would say. Diversification of species in evolution happens by separation.

If people want to get worked up over buns, that's their business and that of their police state. I'm glad woolworthington's is getting it, though.

Ridwan said...

Thanks for your comment Pstonie.

I don't think we would have been any more smarter here in the delusional rainbow if separation (apartheid) continued.

In fact one is almost compelled to see the fallout over a halal certification on hot cross buns (which is not in essence a Christian symbol and not nearly universally accepted as such even now)as a result of separation.

I think Darwin's premise was that the smarter among our species would have figured out how to evolve beyond such nonsense - the survival of the fittest no doubt.

That said I agree with you that folks should have the right to voice their disagreement in this matter - at the very least it makes for funny stories.

Woolworths could of course care less about the stupidity at play here - they merely caved in and took the middle road by pandering to excesses of the challenged among us.

In fact, their decision to withhold halal certification on some hot cross buns looks a lot like their decision to continue stocking unprofitable Christian magazines after a call for a boycott by some Christians.

Well there is one distinct difference and that is that you cannot buy Muslim/Jewish/Atheist/Hindu magazines at Woolies.

But happily for Woolies none of the non-Christians have to date seen this omission as an attack on their beliefs - which says a lot for living in harmony with difference (diversity).



Pstonie said...

Apartheid was enforced, whereas this separation is clearly happening by free will. No one is getting oppressed, the worst that will happen to any one cluster of people is being left to their own devices. All through our history it seems one group of people have migrated while another stayed behind, and I suspect that pattern will continue.

As for woolworthington's, I feel what they represent is far worse than this incident alone, but they have chosen to make the incident available for demonstration. So if you know about their buns, you have to make a choice whether to continue to subsidize their operation or not (if you did), and so one group is separated. There's another separation entirely in which one group simply chooses not to know about such things.

Out of all these separations, I suspect at least two groups will cluster, in which one stays under the authoritarian method of doing things (coca cola™, obama™, etc), and the other goes on to attempt to construct something new.

Ridwan said...

I think the notion of group coherence is somewhat more complex and related to changing interests that cut across constructed boundaries; individual and group identities are never static and almost never homogeneous in any context.

Even the fall of apartheid left a significant section of whites in the cold as the white elite cut a new deal.

I have no problem with like minded folks wanting to share commonalities.

I do however worry about constructed differences that are presupposed on a history of domination and inequality.

I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of Christians do not see the halal certification as an issue.

The same is true for Muslims who would choose to eat a hot cross bun.

Both groups are derived from Abrahamic roots and have a lot more in common than some of those calling foul would want to know.

But I suspect that the complaints that have been raised are one part based on religious conviction and two parts based on a global time where Islamophobia is the current.

How then would Christians in South Africa be group conscious when a significant part of their reaction in this case is drawn from the currents of Islamophobia.

Still, it is significant to note that those who object are not even a sizable minority and some leading Christian leaders have been quick to call this whole affair nonsense.

But this issue is also a storm in a teacup.

I bet there are Christians and Muslims and Hindus and Atheists who have never heard of a hot cross bun - I know in the US it does not exist and it is not even remotely reflective of Christianity.

I think in South Africa we need to talk directly to one another and not via small issues like hot cross buns.

I think the fact that a Muslim or anyone else can enjoy a hot cross but with Christian friends (and family in a lot of cases) speaks greatly to the generosity and inclusiveness of Christianity.

Now if there was a law that forced Christians to certify the wafers used in church as a symbol of Christ then that would be oppressive.

In this case the reaction is just bigoted and simplistic in its misunderstanding.

But I think you are right that there are a whole lot of folks who will not even pay too much mind to this episode.

Maybe moving on is as you suggest a way of "attempting to construct something new" and hopefully not divisive.

I'm down with that - living in harmony and respect, that is.


Fas said...

people - esp in Cape Town...whether they Christian or Muslim should go and look up who their ancestors are...becoz 99% of them WILL find that they are not a "pure blood" Muslim or Christian infact they will find that they are made up of ancestors from all over the world. Chill already!

Ridwan said...

Thanks for your comment Fas.

I think you are right for asking folks to be more thoughtful about our complexity.

This hot cross buns saga may however been overplayed in the media, no?

Very few folks in my daily interactions even knew it was an issue - and almost no-one even thought it a reasonable concern.

Thanks again for looking in.


Z said...

I am missing something. What is wrong with a halal sticker on a hot cross bun if it in fact is halal? What if I want to have hot cross buns in mixed company, wouldn´t it be convenient to know they were halal?

Ridwan said...

It is great to hear from you Z. It has been a while has it not, and I trust you are well.

I am stumped on the halal sticker and the mini storm that was stoked inside the SA media.

In the end most folks I came across thought it an absolute non-issue.

A few very narrow minded folks followed their bigotry and well we had a storm in a teacup.

Peace to you,