"Then he [Jesus] said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23
First, there was the Easter bunny, then Easter eggs and Easter baskets…and now, a chocolate covered marshmallow cross. Like many, I have been guilty of purchasing an Easter egg or two in my lifetime; but I draw the line when it comes to condoning this latest insult to one of Christianity’s most sacred symbols---the Cross. What was once sacred has been profaned. As if that weren't enough, this sacrilegious little candy confection is being sold at Wal-Mart, a company founded by Sam Walton on the principles of faith and family.
Candy manufacturer Russell Stover, who first came up with the idea of a candy cross, didn't seem to think of it as an insult to the faith. In fact, Stover has said that the marshmallow cross was specifically designed to appeal to the Christian market. The success of Stover's candy cross prompted Whitman's and other candy confectioners to join him in casting other Christian icons in chocolate. Among the choices are praying hands and ΙΧΘΥΣ, a christian fish symbol, both available in solid milk chocolate. Apparently, there are not enough irate Christians out there, who see anything wrong with taking a bite out of a milky cross and letting it melt in their mouths. What’s next, I wonder? So far, Stover and Whitman have stopped short of molding a chocolate Jesus on the cross; but what's to stop a rival candy maker from beating them to the punch? If all this seems outrageous, it’s because it is.
A sacred symbol of Christianity
One would expect Christians to be up in arms over this blatant mockery of the Cross, the most recognizable symbol of the faith. Sadly, the response to this outrage from the Christian community and its leaders has been far too tepid. Where is the outcry---store boycotts, protest marches, and pulpit denunciations of those who demean and mock Easter, the holiest day on the Christian calendar? By contrast, I have yet to see candy replicas of the Qur’an or the Torah, or Muhammad or a mezuzah? No self respecting devout Jew or Muslim would stand still for it. Muslims, especially, are passionate defenders of their faith and its symbols. Should a candy cross be any less of an insult to all Christians? Some may choose to sugar coat the issue; others may say it’s no big deal; but I say, “What would Jesus do?” As for me, I stand by the original bloody, wooden Cross of Calvary upon which Jesus was sacrificed for the sins of the world. A marshmallow cross may taste good, but it has none of the power of the original. It's this power that makes Christ’s resurrection on Easter morning that much sweeter.