Small, edible chocolate busts of Charles Darwin, H.L. Mencken, and Christopher Hitchens were recently on offer at a downtown Manhattan gourmet store, and several atheists voiced loud objections, demanding that the “intolerable insults” to their godlessness be removed from the store’s assortment.
Yeah, not really. I made that up. It didn’t happen.
But you can easily guess what did. Via the New York Times:
Is it O.K. to eat a chocolate statuette of your favorite holy figure? The matter arose recently at Bond Street Chocolate, a bite-size East Village boutique that traffics in intricately detailed [and gold-dusted] figurines of Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh.
Last week, an organization called Universal Society of Hinduism issued a demand: “Upset Hindus urge withdrawal of Lord Ganesh-shaped edible chocolate,” read the society’s Feb. 1 news release. … In the release, the society’s president, Rajan Zed, wrote that Ganesh, the remover of obstacles, was “highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshiped in temples or home shrines and not to be eaten casually.” The chocolate statues, he wrote, were an insult to Hindus.
Some people of other faiths are affronted, too.
The store’s Divine Collection also includes a 4-inch-high Virgin of Guadalupe, which sells for $18. The Rev. Santiago Rubio, pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Chelsea, was not pleased to hear this. “We consider statues and images as sacred objects that help connect with the divine or the supernatural,” Mr. Rubio said. “So to transform them into merchandise, candy to eat, I don’t think it’s the best way to go. It’s just business for these people.”
(In case anyone was wondering, Ms. Stern [the chocolatier] does not make figures of the Prophet Muhammad.)
And no more is said on that subject. I wonder why Ms. Stern has excluded Muhammad from her collection.
Luckily, not everyone is upset by little figurines made of cocoa beans, milk, and sugar. Said Uma Mysorekar, president of the Queens-based Hindu Temple Society of North America,
“We Hindus look at the universe as eternal and god almighty as one. So we would not say that the lord resides only in that little piece of chocolate. It’s more like when they eat it, the lord comes back to us — he is within us.”
For a day or two, perhaps. Then the delectable brown deity becomes a detestable brown ex-deity.
I’d call that a fitting end.
(Image via Shutterstock)