Ice cream company Sweet Jesus in Toronto acknowledges that its name may “not please” some, but assures that their intention is “not to disrespect” anyone.
An online petition accuses the chain, which has several branches in the Toronto area and Ottawa, Edmonton and Baltimore in the United States, to be blasphemous.
“Choosing the name of our Lord for a brand of soft-serve ice cream is totally offensive and revolting,” reads one petition on CitizenGo.org, an activist group that describes itself as being in favour of “life, family, and liberty.”
“This is anything but a mere mistake,” the petition, signed by almost 10,000 people, reads. “Both in their promotional materials and menu selection, it is plain to see that Richmond and Todai have every intention of mocking Christ and Christianity. If anything could qualify as hate speech, this is it.”
The co-founder of Sweet Jesus, Andrew Richmond, says that the name of the company simply refers to the popular expression (sweet Jesus) describing the “reaction” of “joy, surprise and disbelief” that often customers by tasting its products.
Sweet Jesus has added a disclaimer on their website about their name; “our name was created from the popular phrase that people use as an expression of enjoyment, surprise or disbelief. Our aim is not to offer commentary on anyone’s religion or belief systems, our own organization is made up of amazing people that represent a wide range of cultural and religious beliefs.”