British stores 'ashamed' to sell religious cards... but obscene ones litter the High Street
I couldn't find any Christian cards in the Australian supermarket that I go to either. But I got some from a nearby small Indian shop where the owner reads the Bhagavad Gita!
Supermarkets have become ‘ashamed’ of selling Christmas cards with religious themes, Christian leaders said yesterday. They claimed a creeping ‘multicultural indoctrination’ had led to an aversion to Christianity, and that shops were worried about stocking cards that might offend other faiths.
The rebuke to Britain’s big four supermarkets – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – came as a snapshot poll by the Daily Mail revealed the tiny number of religious cards on sale.
Christmas cards emblazoned with obscenities are on sale across Britain’s High Streets. One card showing a quintessential 50s family inside a wreath reads ‘Merry Christmas W*****’, while another depicts a pair of carol singers with the words ‘Merry F****** Christmas.’ A third says: ‘Merry Christmas You F****** F*****.’
In total, dozens of the explicit cards are on sale in branches of Scribbler. Each costs around £2.50.
Mike Judge, of the Christian Institute, said: ‘You don’t have to be a prude to see this is inappropriate at what is, after all, a special time for families.’
Christian Concern’s Andrea Williams added: ‘Christmas is a time when we remember the birth of Jesus, a message of hope and peace for all people. It is a great shame if Scribbler use it to promote obscenities.’
In the branch of the store in London’s Kensington High Street, the filth-ridden cards are part of a large display containing other family-orientated festive greetings.
One shows Santa saying: ‘Shh! Nobody knows I’m gay’ while another shows him with a cigarette in hand and the words: ‘F*** off! I’m smoking.’
A third shows a cheery-looking Father Christmas with the phrase ‘YOU ain’t getting s***!’
But Scribbler’s managing director John Procter described the cards as having a ‘schoolboy’ sense of humour. ‘It’s our company policy not to use expletives or such words in a gratuitous way. If we think it makes a joke then we will use one,’ he said. ‘We do group all of these rather rude cards together and keep them at eye level so children can’t see them.
‘I understand why some people might find them offensive. But they really are our best sellers and in reality we get very few complaints.’
Of 6,576 cards sold individually, just 36 – 0.5 per cent – featured scenes such as Jesus in a manger or angels.
Multi-packs fared little better, with only 5 per cent of 1,337 on sale at the stores visited containing at least one card that reflected the season’s Christian message.
One store, a Tesco in Manchester, didn’t have a single religious card on sale. Many others had just one or two.
The worst offender overall was Asda, which had just four Christian cards out of 2,638 sold individually across all the stores visited – 0.15 per cent. It also had the lowest proportion among multi-packs, with 13 out of 427, or 3 per cent.
Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, said: ‘I can’t believe this is being led by consumer demand. 'I believe there is anti-Christian prejudice in the buying departments involved.
‘There’s too much of this multicultural indoctrination and too much of an idea that if they put out Christian cards they will alienate or discriminate against or offend other faiths.
‘There’s a kind of militant atheism and nasty secularism at work in this country which is completely opposed to Christianity.’
Dr Don Horrocks, of the Evangelical Alliance, said supermarkets were ‘helping to kill off the Christian theme at Christmas’.
‘There appears to be an aversion in society to Christianity being public,’ he said. ‘Supermarkets appear to be ashamed to put cards on shelves because there is a perception it is dodgy.
'Half a per cent of cards with religious themes when 70 per cent of people describe themselves as Christian shows this is totally out of kilter with the country.’
The Bishop of Colchester, the Right Reverend Christopher Morgan, said Christmas church services were among the most popular of the year. He added: ‘It is disappointing that so few of our Christmas cards now portray symbols and scenes at the heart of the Christmas story.’
The comments follow the Pope’s criticism of ‘aggressive secularism’ in Britain during his visit last year.
And last week Prime Minister David Cameron called on the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, to speak up for Christianity.
The Mail visited stores owned by the four biggest supermarket chains in seven areas – Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Colchester and Witham, London, Manchester and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
An Asda spokesman said: ‘We sell a variety of cards that meet the demand of our customers.’
Tesco said: ‘Our religious Christmas card range has increased for the second year running.’
Sainsbury’s also said that what appeared on shelves was based on customer demand, adding: ‘It is wrong to suggest we are ignoring religious themes at Christmas.’
And Morrisons said its range of religious cards included a multi-pack aimed at children that included the Nativity scene.