A CLERGYMAN has criticised advertising by the Newcastle-based bakery Greggs which replaced Jesus with a sausage roll in a nativity scene.
The Team Vicar of Christ the King, Newcastle, the Revd Mark Edwards, has described it as “disrespectful”.
The image, which shows a sausage roll in a manger surrounded by figures of the magi, appears in advertising for a Greggs Advent calendar.
“I would have thought Greggs was better than that,” Mr Edwards said, ”, speaking to the Newcastle Chronicle on Tuesday. “If they tried that with any other faith you can imagine the outcry there would be, and rightly so.
“It goes beyond just commercialism; it’s showing a total disregard and disrespect towards one of the greatest stories ever told, and I think people of all faiths will be offended by this.”
Online criticism has included complaints that replacing a Jewish child with a pork sausage is particularly offensive. An online poll run by The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday attracted more than 3000 votes in a matter of hours, two-thirds of which declared the image offensive.
Mr Edwards has complained in an email to the CEO of Greggs. He said: “I hope every other Christian will speak out, and I don’t think it will be just Christians speaking out.” He suggested that people “vote with their feet”.
A spokeswoman for Greggs said on Wednesday: “We’re really sorry to have caused any offence. This was never our intention.” The image, however, was “out there”, she said, and there was thus no intention to withdraw it.
In 2015, a Mulberry advertisement was criticised for replacing the infant Jesus with a handbag. By contrast, an advertisement produced by Christian agencies in the same year was banned from cinemas for breaking its code banning religious advertising.