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August 11, 2021

Image courtesy Bang the Elephant

A BREWING company in Nottingham, England stands accused of “trivialising the immensely venerated Hindu goddess Kali” by using her image on beer cans.

In a message posted on Facebook this week, Nigel Patton and Michael Shipman, of Bang the Elephant, said

Kali Yuga has been part of our core range of beers for three years now and there has been no comment or hint of offence to the Hindu Community previously, but obviously this is something that we do not take lightly, and we would like to go on record as saying that we wholeheartedly apologise for any offence we have caused.

However:

Kali Yuga will continue to be part of our core range, but we are more than happy to work with Mr Zed and the people of the Universal Society of Hinduism in terms of discussing possible alternatives or alterations to future artwork for the beer that would be deemed more ‘appropriate.’

Image via YouTube

The “Zed” referred to is the ever-vigilant US based Rajan Zed, above, President of Universal Society of Hinduism.

According to Nottinghamshire Live, Zed asked that  company apologise for their use of the image on its East India Porter beer named Kali Yuga – a 5.9% beverage.

Zed said said:

Breweries should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege and ridiculing entire communities. It was deeply trivialising of the immensely venerated Hindu goddess Kali to be portrayed on a beer label.

Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.2b adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously.

Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivialising it hurt the followers.

This is the second beer company that’s incurred Zed’s wrath this year. Norwegian company Holmentoppen Bryggerhus apologised and withdrew a  beer label displaying an image of elephant god Lord Ganesh.

Images via YouTube and Lancashire Farm Dairies

Last August we reported that he forced Lancashire Farm Dairies to abandon yoga lesson in a pasture full of cows.

In 2017, Zed had a major run-in with Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) over an amusing commercial for lamb that featured Jesus and mythological deities including Lord Ganesh.

The controversy escalated politically when the Indian government complained about it. In a statement, the Indian High Commission said the MLA advert was “offensive” and:

Hurt the religious sentiments of the Indian community. The consulate general of India in Sydney has taken up the matter directly with MLA and urged them to withdraw the advertisement. A number of community associations have also registered their protest with (the) government of Australia and MLA.

However the Advertising Standards Bureau in Australia dismissed complaints filed by Hindu groups against the commercial, which can be seen here.

Ganesh, as portrayed in the lamb commercial. Image via YouTube

The advertising watchdog rejected the claims made by Hindu groups, saying it was “inclusive” and did not provide:

Any one character with less favourable or unfair treatment by virtue of being in the group.

As fury mounted, the ASB’s decision reversed, and the commercial was banned. The ASB’s independent review found a “substantial flaw” in the original decision to permit the ad. Specifically, by failing to consider the views expressed by complainants that the ad:

Ridiculed a revered feature of a prominent deity of the Hindu faith for no apparent purpose.

Based on these findings, the ASB Board determined that the ad did in fact breach section 2.1 of the Advertiser Code of Ethics which states:

Advertising or marketing communications shall not portray people or depict material in a way which discriminates against or vilifies a person or section of the community on account of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual preference, religion, disability, mental illness or political belief.

MLA acknowledged the reversed decision but said it “respectfully disagrees” with it, noting the ad:

Was was conceived and intended to promote religious inclusiveness in a light hearted and humorous manner.

It added:

It was never the intention of MLA to discriminate against or vilify any religious group.

Please report any typos/errors to barry@freethinker.co.uk

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August 21, 2020

Images via YouTube and Lancashire Farm Dairies

FOREVER on the lookout for things he regards as harmful to Hinduism, Nevada-based Rajan Zed went on the offensive when he discovered that a farm in the UK had launched yoga lessons in a field full of cows.

Lancashire Farm Dairies (LFD) had announced plans to hold regular classes among its herd and even produced a promotional video.

But it quickly cancelled the lessons when Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, spearheaded a protest by Hindus, saying that the cow, which is sacred and had long been respected in Hinduism, should not be used as prop for human entertainment.

Zed also pointed out that this idea seemed to be diluting the profound, sacred and ancient discipline of yoga.

LFD has now apologised for offending the religion.

In an email to the Zed,  Jack Morrison, Brand Manager at LFD, said:

We can only apologise if the recent fitness activity has caused offence, as you can imagine this wasn’t our intent … there will not be further events.

Zed said he was grateful to the company for backing down, but suggested  that that companies like LFD should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products, organising events or launching advertising campaigns.

We last reported on Zed’s antics in July when he targeted a Belgian beer company.

Image via YouTube

In 2017, Zed had a major run-in with Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) over an amusing commercial for lamb that featured Jesus and mythological deities including Lord Ganesha, above.

The controversy escalated politically when the Indian government complained about it. In a statement, the Indian High Commission said the MLA advert was “offensive” and:

Hurt the religious sentiments of the Indian community. The consulate general of India in Sydney has taken up the matter directly with MLA and urged them to withdraw the advertisement. A number of community associations have also registered their protest with (the) government of Australia and MLA.

Zed said linking Lord Ganesha with meat was:

Very disrespectful and highly inappropriate …  Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled.

• Please report any typos/errors to barry@freethinker.co.uk

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July 15, 2020

WHEN representatives of various faith groups – normally at loggerheads with each other and sometimes murderously so – unite against a common enemy, you just know some innocent party will start getting bullied.

Image via YouTube

This week it was Belgium-based brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV that got to feel the collective wrath of  Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religions because it sells a brand called Brahma – and has been doing since 1888!

Beers sold under the Brahma name include a lager, a double malt, a wheat beer and a chocolate stout, all named after a smart English geezer called Joseph Bramah, who invented the draft pump valve.

But the unnamed and ooh-so-touchy “interfaith coalition” is convinced that the name belongs exclusively to Lord Brahma, Hinduism’s four-headed god of creation, and wants the brewer to find a new name for the product.

Images via YouTube

Head of the coalition is notorious Hindu rabble-rouser Rajan Zed, pictured above with the mythological Brama, who bleated:

It is the right time to fix an old wrong – the trivializing of the faith of our Hindu brothers and sisters for about 132 years.

Zed insisted that Lord Brahma is a highly revered figure who should be worshipped in temples or home shrines and:

Not misused as a ‘toasting tool’.

He said the coalition also objects to what it calls “raunchy” marketing of the brand by using the image of a scantily clad woman to promote the beers.

Scantily clad? But, but … Hinduism is awash with bare-breasted women.

Oh, Mr Zed, the company does a lot worse than that! Hop over to YouTube and you can see how it amusingly uses voodoo to promote the brand.

;

Zed added:

Anheuser-Busch InBev should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege and ridiculing entire communities.

The coalition called on the company:

To prove that it cares about communities by renaming its Brahma beer.

But Lucas Rossi, Head of Cmmunications for Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Latin America subsidiary, appears not be be intimidated.

After explaining that the spelling was changed from Bramah to Brahma to make the name work better in the Portuguese language, and that the Brahma brand s “very important to the culture” of Brazil which has a tiny minority of Hindus.

Zed is unimpressed, and insists the name offends regardless of its origins. He huffed:

The stated history behind the name does not reduce the pain of the Hindu devotees when they see their creator god on alcohol cans.

Zed, based in Nevada and is the President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, has campaigned against what he considers the misuse of Eastern religious imagery for commercial purposes for several years.

In 2019, he extracted an apology from a Virginia brewery that produced a beer named for another Hindu deity. The brouhaha erupted after Zed said that associating Lord Hanuman with alcohol was disrespectful.

On July 1 it was reported that the same interfaith coalition launched a separate campaign aimed at pressuring Foundation Room and House of Blues nightclubs in Boston and other cities to stop using sacred Buddhist and Hindu imagery as decor. The upscale watering holes are managed by Beverly Hills, California-based Live Nation Entertainment, which apologised and said it was removing some statues from the clubs.

At the time Zed said:

Symbols of faith shouldn’t be mishandled. Hindu deities are meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines – not to be thrown around loosely in a nightclub for dramatic effect.

Cowardly capitulations to petulant, infantile purveyors of silly superstitions just encourages more of the same sort of annoying snowflakery. They should be dismissed with two words: No prizes for guessing what they are.

Hat tip: Robert Stovold

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March 18, 2020

YOGA and meditation in schools were prohibited in Alabama 1993 after the Alabama State Board of Education decided they were too skewed towards eastern religions.

Image via YouTube

But the state is now considering lifting that ban. And if they do so, according to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler Jr, above, lawmakers considering legalising yoga will expose children to ‘transcendentalists’ and other undesirables bent on creating:

A spiritual practice and spirituality that would serve as a clear alternative to biblical Christianity.

He added:

Christians ought to agree that if we have an understanding of yoga and its historical context and in its religious origins, then at the very least we have to understand that there really is no such thing as Christian yoga. If it’s Christian, it’s not yoga. If it’s yoga, it’s not Christian.

Has the posturing ninny not considered the fact that not all school kids are Christians?

Image via Facebook

The man who wants to have the ban lifted is State Representative Jeremy Gray, above, who introduced House Bill 235:

A simple bill limited to stretching, breathing, meditation.

If the word “yoga” is the problem, Gray said this week:

You can call it mindfulness, or mindfulness movement, or whatever you want to call it, but as long as yoga is banned, you can’t use it in any kind of form.

The House education policy committee approved the bill last year, but it failed to gain approval of lawmakers before the end of the session.

Committee member Rep Barbara Drummond told members after the bill was introduced last year she started doing yoga.

If you’re in this statehouse mentally, it really helps you.

Image via YouTube

But Dr Joe Godfrey, above, spoke in opposition. Godfrey is Executive Director of ALCAP (Alabama Citizens’ Action Program), which lobbies for evangelical Christian interests in the Legislature, such as opposing gambling and medical marijuana. After saying his own daughter laughed at him for expressing concern, Godfrey told committee members that yoga is a religious practice.

You can’t separate the exercises from the religious meditation aspect of it. This is Hinduism, straight up. What you’re doing is blatantly teaching a religious exercise that would violate the Establishment Clause.

In 2018 Godfrey explained why same-sex marriage is so vehemently opposed in Alabama:

It’s because there is more stupidity biblical literacy in Alabama than most other places. The Bible clearly teaches us that marriage is between one man and women for life. Everyone teaches that, people grow up believing that. No one is willing to change the Bible around here. Society and culture needs to adjust to fit in with what the Bible teaches, not vice versa.

For the record Alabama has one of the worst performing public school systems in the country. Only 26.1% of fourth graders and 17.2% of eighth graders in the state are proficient in math. In a 2018 US Today list of 50 best and worst performing states, Alabama was ranked 43.

But Rep Danny Garrett said he’d spoken with members of churches in his community about yoga after it came through committee last year and said he didn’t see a problem with lifting the ban and pointed to things that happen in school that are associated with religion.

There are a lot of other things we do – Christmas trees, Easter bunnies.

Rep Will Dismukes agreed with Garrett, saying many of today’s celebrated holidays were originally:

Some type of pagan holiday that we adopted to make our own. I know churches that do yoga. We talk about prayer and meditation a lot. I think you can pray to God and do yoga, or you can think about whatever you want to.

The bill would allow local school boards to approve yoga classes under certain conditions, among them making the class an elective rather than a requirement. It reads in part:

All instruction in yoga shall be limited exclusively to poses, exercises, and stretching techniques. Chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas, and namaste greetings shall be expressly prohibited.

Currently, the State Board of Education Administrative Code bans the practice of yoga as part of a broader prohibition on:

The use of hypnosis and dissociative mental states. School personnel shall be prohibited from using any techniques that involve the induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, meditation or yoga.

The Code defines yoga as:

A Hindu philosophy and method of religious training in which eastern meditation and contemplation are joined with physical exercises, allegedly to facilitate the development of body-­mind­-spirit.

Last year Hindu spiritual leader, Rajan Zed, above, demanded an explanation for Alabama’s yoga ban.

According to Zed, yoga is allowed in the state’s higher learning institutions and education officials should “seriously and urgently” consider expanding the same liberty to the state’s other schools.

If yoga was rewarding for the students of Alabama public universities, why was Alabama keeping it away from its K-12 public school students?

November 12, 2019

WHILE the toxic fall-out over the Catholic Church’s hugely divisive ‘pagan’ Amazon Synod rages on and on (see here and here), the Church of England has become enmeshed in a more parochial spat over yoga, Hinduism and Buddhism.

Rev Dilkes: Yoga is ‘not compatible with Christian beliefs’.

It all began when the reverend Nigel Dilkes of St Mary’s Church in Bilton, Barnstable, refused to hire the church hall to local yoga teacher, Atsuko Kato.

Dilkes said the classes were “not compatible with Christian beliefs” and urged people to practice similar activities such as Pilates instead.

Image via YouTube

News of the ban quickly reached the ears of  a ‘distinguished religious statesman’ – Arizona-based Rajan Zed, President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, left.

He immediately called on the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the UK’s embattled clown of a Prime Minister, Boris “Bojo” Johnson, to intervene.

He also said that Dilkes should “show some maturity” and revisit the isssue. He said by not allowing the classes to take place Dilkes was depriving the area communities of the “valuable opportunities the multi-beneficial yoga” provides.

Now its reported that an Anglican Church leader has intervened. Archdeacon Mark Butchers of Barnstaple, who oversees churches in North Devon, explained the Church’s official stance on yoga. He said that C of E that parishes aim to be as welcoming as possible to a wide variety of community groups. However, each parish is allowed to create its own policies for renting a church hall.

Many parishes are entirely open to hosting yoga exercise classes, emphasising the health benefits for both individuals and communities which yoga offers.

Some parishes feel that because yoga has its spiritual roots in Hinduism and Buddhism, it does not fit with Christian spirituality which is rooted in the love of God revealed in Jesus; and so they do not allow traditional yoga classes, but would welcome other health and fitness groups such as Pilates.

Image via YouTube

Butchers, above, also said that there are a range of views on the topic with the Church, but they all desire to serve communities:

With joy according to the values and beliefs of our Christian faith.

Rev Deborah Parsons, Interfaith Advisor for the Diocese of Exeter added:

We’re invited to be curious, to listen to difference and to re-imagine how to be Love’s Presence in every community.

Through respectful listening we can come to a deeper understanding of each other. Jesus the Christ modelled this by his engagement with and love for the outsider. He crossed borders and boundaries and questioned taboos. He spread an aroma of love.

January 31, 2019

DESPITE having been accused of disrespecting Hinduism by featuring a goddess on a range fashion garments, London fashion designer Sera Ulger, 30, has refused to withdraw the design.

Image via YouTube

Ulger, above, who runs a fashion company in the city, insisted that taking her range out of production “is not going to happen”.

But:

I do want to sincerely apologise to the Hindu community for offending them without meaning to. I had no intention to hurt anyone during my design process.

My brand is about girl power, woman power. It’s about attitude with a lot of emotion to the print. So using the goddess went hand in hand.

She added:

Not everyone loves it but that’s okay with the creative industry, you either love it or hate it. It would cost me thousands of pounds to take it out of production, something I can’t afford. I’m not a massive brand and I want to be able to express myself without someone telling me I can’t.

The person demanding the withdrawal of the design, above, which features prominently on Ulger’s website, is US-based Hindu cleric Rajan Zed.

He’s criticised its “highly inappropriate” depiction of the Durga, the protective mother goddess in Hinduism.

Zed, who gave the first official Hindu prayer at the United States Senate in 2007 – and in doing so offended a bunch of Christian loons –  said of the collection:

Goddess Durga is highly revered in Hinduism and meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines, and not to adorn one’s buttocks and crotch.

The inappropriate usage of Hindu deities for commercial or other agenda is not OK as it hurts devotees.

Earlier this month a brewery in Cheshire scrapped labels on its bottles featuring the sacred “Om” symbol after Mr Zed objected to them as “highly trivialising”.

He also forced an apology from a Yorkshire brewer for naming a beer after the god Ganesh.

Meanwhile, following our report that Muslims were griping about the sale of “Allah” toilet paper by the UK group Marks and Spencer, comes news that Nike Inc is facing pressure to recall one of its leading brands of sneakers after a customer launched an online petition alleging the design on its sole resembles the Arabic word for “Allah.”

The petition, which his garnered more than 19,000 signatures, said it was “appalling” to allow the name of god on Nike Air Max 270 shoes:

Which will surely be trampled, kicked and become soiled with mud or even filth.

A customer, Saiqa Noreen, asked Nike to recall:

This blasphemous and offensive shoe and all products with the design logo resembling the word Allah from worldwide sales immediately.

Nike said in a statement the logo was a stylised representation of the Air Max trademark.

Any other perceived meaning or representation is unintentional. Nike respects all religions and we take concerns of this nature seriously.

December 7, 2018

Muslims in Indonesia no longer have to create banners and take to the streets to protest against perceived insults to Islam, thanks to a new blasphemy-busting Google app.

But Smart Pakem – launched last month by the Indonesian government to enable busybodies to report “misguided” beliefs – has proved a source of concern to free speech and human rights activists, including Britain’s National Secular Society.

The NSS reported yesterday that it has written to Rajan Anandan, VP of Google in south-east Asia, to ask the company to reconsider its decision to stock the app.

Evans said the app would help Indonesia’s government to crack down on freedom of expression and persecute religious minorities.

He said stocking the app made it “very likely” that more people in Indonesia would be prosecuted and convicted under the country’s blasphemy law.

Indonesia officially recognises six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Its blasphemy law makes it illegal to promote any other religion or belief system. Supporting atheism is effectively banned.

The punishment for infringing these laws is up to five years in prison.

According to Human Rights Watch, 125 people were convicted of blasphemy in Indonesia between 2004 and 2014. Twenty-three have been convicted since 2014.

Image via YouTube

Following a 2017 prosecution that made international headlines, Jakarta’s Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, above, was sentenced to two years in jail for blasphemy, a harsher-than-expected ruling critics feared would embolden hardline Islamist forces to challenge secularism in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

Evans added that stocking the app was “incongruous with Google’s mission statement” and:

Runs directly contrary to the democratic ideals which Google says it stands for.

Google says it exists:

To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Evans also said stocking the app would:

Normalise restrictions on freedom of expression in Indonesia and elsewhere.

The NSS campaigns for the repeal of blasphemy laws and is committed to challenging infringements on freedom of and from religion around the world.

Explaining his decision to write the letter, Evans said:

Indonesia’s blasphemy law is a morally unjustifiable tool of repression which should be repealed as soon as possible. While this law exists anyone who believes in free expression should make it as difficult as possible for the Indonesian government to enforce the law.

Google has greatly benefited from the freedom to share information globally. We ask it and other multinational companies to consider whether they can in good conscience profit from the repression caused by governments’ crackdowns on free speech.

October 30, 2018

While Muslims are complaining that the four prayer rooms allotted to them at the university are inadequate, Hindus are griping that they don’t have one at all.

Spearheading a demand for a “permanent and dedicated” prayer room at the Anglican institution, Rajan Zed,above, President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, said that such a space would be a step a positive direction given the of presence of a substantial number of Hindu students at Columbia.

It was, he said, important to meet the spiritual needs of these students and that some other universities and colleges in USA now offered Hindu prayer rooms.

Zed suggested that the Hindu Prayer Room preferably should have an altar containing murtis (statues) of popular Hindu deities like Shiva, Vishnu, Rama, Krishna, Durga, Venkateshwara, Ganesha, Murugan, Saraswati, Hanuman, Lakshmi, Kali, etc. It should also contain, among other things, a ghanta (big metallic bell hanging from the ceiling) and a  dholak (a two-headed hand-drum).

So what’s with the Muslim prayer rooms?

Currently, there are four available to Muslim students: a room in the basement of Earl Hall; a room in the 600 West 113th Street residence hall, also known as Nussbaum; a room in Milbank Hall at Barnard; and an open hallway that doubles as a yoga meditation space on the fourth floor of the Milstein Center.

But these, according to this Columbia Spectator report, do not adequately meet the current needs of Muslim students. Some aspects of the prayer spaces have discouraged them from being used for prayer and have made students feel humiliated due to the lack of respect shown to holy spaces.

Lack of respect. Well, yeah. One room  – the prayer space in Milbank  – is shared with the office and storage space for Barnard Bartending and contains two shopping carts filled with alcoholic beverages, along with bartending paraphernalia.

In Islam, consumption of alcohol is forbidden. According to Zawareen Zakaria, the location of the bartending offices and stockroom within the Muslim prayer space was “extremely offensive” to many students, who  said that  if they had been made aware that the prayer space was so close to such a large quantity of alcohol, they wouldn’t have felt comfortable praying there at all.

There’s also a problem with the most recently added prayer space located on the fourth floor of the Milstein Center, which was opened in September. The space, located behind the staircase, has two new Islamic magic carpets as well as new yoga mats.

According to one student, the fact that the Milstein space is also set aside as a space to practice yoga speaks to a lack of support for Muslim students on campus.

Yoga isn’t praying, and praying isn’t yoga. Yoga is an exercise; you sweat. There are very different uses for both of these mats. To put them in the same space ties back into how you can’t have a Muslim prayer space connected to a bartending office with wine bottles.

When creating the space, you need to think about what you’re equating. Bartending and prayer, yoga and prayer. Although the intention was not to equate them, you’re making a statement.

July 26, 2018

The job of being President of the Universal Society of Hinduism (USofH) entails – among other important things – admonishing companies for messing with Hindu deities.
And US-based Rajan Zed, above, who heads the USofH, is a nothing if not a world champion admonisher.
Earlier this year he had a right go at Amazon for selling stockings bearing the image of Lord Ganesha – and within two days they were withdrawn from sale.

Zed – a “Hindu statesman” – graciously thanked Amazon for “understanding the concerns of  the Hindu community” which felt the image of Lord Ganesha on such a product was “highly insensitive”.
But he then put the boot in by demanding a formal apology from Amazon President Jeffrey P Bezos, saying that this was not the first time the company had offered products that Hindu devotees found “offensive”.
Zed suggested that Amazon and other companies should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or launching advertising campaigns.
Elsewhere, Zed was quoted as saying that Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivialising it hurt the followers.
Well, Zed’s back in the news, this time over a “highly inappropriate” beer being produced in Italy.
The company – Pontino Brewery (Birrificio Pontino) – is upsetting Hindus by marketing a “Sons of Shiva” brew with Lord Ganesha on the label.
Zed said in a statement that Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha were highly revered in Hinduism and were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile greed.
Moreover, linking a Hindu deity with an alcoholic beverage was “very disrespectful”.
In Hinduism, Lord Shiva, along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, are “the great triad of Hindu deities”. Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.
After being alerted to this report, I wondered whether there were any beer labels out there that would have Christians trumpeting their disapproval – and found these two:

First brewed in 2011, the Sweet Baby Jesus* is bronze award-winning chocolate peanut butter porter. It is jet black in colour with, according to the brewer’s blurb:

A tan, rocky head, full body, and creamy, luxurious mouthfeel. Its lightly sweet, malty flavor is accented by rich flavors of chocolate, coffee, and peanut butter, balanced by a subtle hop character and a moderate 6.2% ABV. Sweet Baby Jesus finishes smooth, dry, and roasty with lingering notes of chocolate and peanut butter so savory, you will exclaim its name!

While playing the porcelain tuba?
According to this site:

There is a village of ‘F*cking’ in Austria. And ‘Helles’ is actually a beer style, referring to a light Austrian or southern German lager. But this is a pilsner. Made in Germany. Spelled ‘Hell’. ‘Nuf said.

* Not to be confused with the Sweet Baby Jesus butt plug.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn

July 10, 2009

FAST food chain Burger King has outraged Hindus worldwide with an advertisement depicting Lakshmi, the Indian goddess of wealth, about to tuck into a “Texican Whopper”.
The company withdrew the advertisement from its stores in Spain after Hindus complained at the denigration of their religion.burger_1440211c
According to the Telegraph, the advertised product is an affront to Hindu sensitivities in its own right – it includes an all-beef patty, a beef chilli-con-carne slice, egg-based Cajun mayonnaise, all forbidden by strict Hindus.

Some devotees would even be offended by the inclusion of onions which they believe inflame passions.

The goddess and the burger were accompanied by a slogan claiming La merienda es sagrada – the snack is sacred.
Burger King quickly issued this apology:

We are apologising because it wasn’t our intent to offend anyone. Burger King Corporation values and respects all of its guests as well as the communities we serve. This in-store advertisement was running to support only local promotion for three restaurants in Spain and was not intended to offend anyone.
Out of respect for the Hindu community, the limited-time advertisement has been removed from the restaurants.

Earlier this year, Burger King offended Mexican officials with another advertisement for the ‘Texican Whopper’ which depicted a dwarf dressed as a wrestler draped in the Mexican flag.
According to this report, the American Hindu leader Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA), thanked the Burger King management for removing the ad, but added that it should not have been created in the first place. He suggested that Burger King should form an internal team of senior executives who should clear all the publicity material before it went public and this team should be well trained.

If Burger King wanted its executives to learn about world religions, I am willing to help.




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