2019-02-20

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May caused quite a stir when she claimed that the confectionary company, Cadbury, is airbrushing the faith-based Easter holiday from its brand. From that initial stone thrown in the media’s pond, ripples have spread far and wide, resulting in headlines such as “'Easter' Deleted from Candy Maker's Easter Egg Hunt,” and “Cadbury Drops the Word 'Easter' From Many of Their Products.”

But things aren’t quite as they seem. All of this is pure manufactured outrage.

The First Stone

Easter is the most important holiday of Christianity, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day following the crucifixion. This is a day of reverent victory as the world’s faithful remember Christ’s victory over death and sin—this event is seen as proof that those who trust in God and accept Christ as their savior will be raised from the dead, as well. It is a beloved holiday of hope and redemption.

So it’s no wonder that many reacted with anger and outrage when the Daily Star, a UK newspaper, revealed this scandal with an article entitled “PC Chocolate Makers Ban ‘Easter’ From Eggs to Stop Offending Other Religions.”

The article is complete with quotes from various religious leaders, saying things like “It’s deeply disappointing and shameful that some of the biggest companies in the country are censoring the centuries’ old tradition.” It is of note that these are the words of religious campaigner and rival chocolatier, David Marshall.

From there, the story spread until it reached the eyes of Theresa May, whose commentary on ITV News took this issue from a regional spat to a worldwide scandal.

"Easter's very important. It's important to me, it's a very important festival for the Christian faith for millions across the world,” she said.

Everyone from the average Joe to the Prime Minister of the UK are fuming about the “Cadbury Easter Ban”. But there’s one problem.

There’s no such thing.

Reality Check

Cadbury’s response to the situation was simple and direct. A spokeswoman for the company told the Sun Online that “There is no policy or any effort to remove or phase out the word Easter from our marketing or packaging and to suggest otherwise is wholly untrue.”

At this point, we have a problem. Cadbury is claiming one truth, and the media is claiming another.

Who is right? Let’s take a look at the evidence.

First, a survey of Cadbury’s web site shows a page dedicated to Easter gifts, as well as another page that shows viewers the locations of various Easter Egg hunts. Cadbury also makes mention of Easter in its social media accounts. Easter is, quite literally, everywhere.

In addition to this, although the word “Easter” doesn’t feature as prominently on some of their products, the word is extremely visible on others.

Perhaps most revealing of all, a Cadbury spokesman had this to say to the Independent: “Most of our Easter eggs don’t say Easter or egg on the front as we don’t feel the need to tell people this — it is very obvious through the packaging that it is an Easter egg.”

What many are identifying as an “Easter Ban” is simply the normal change and shift of package art. This isn’t an issue of religion. It’s an issue of copywriting elegance. It’s a creative decision, and nothing more.

The only sin Cadbury is guilty of, apparently, is encouraging gluttony with those delicious eggs.

Ahem—Easter eggs.

Outrage Culture

So, if confirming the inauthenticity of this “Easter Ban” is as simple as visiting Cadbury’s web site, how did this story grow so huge so quickly?

Simple: we live in a culture of outrage. We’re ready, muscles tense, sword in hand, for the next assault against our values. At the lightest perceived insult, we spring, roaring like a Spartan at war. In this case, it's religion vs. the secular world. Or so some think.

In reality, this has nothing to do with religion. If it did, no one would care! The faithful would move on, glad that their holiday is no longer being used to sell chocolate eggs.

Think about it. Would it have actually been important if Cadbury had intentionally omitted Easter references in its packaging and advertisements? Would it have harmed anyone? Would Christ’s sacrifice have been lessened?

No—if anything, the de-commercialization of a faith-based holiday might make that holiday more faithful to its roots. We're not even going to get into the fact that the word "Easter" has no Christian origins, has nothing to do with Jesus Christ, and is derived, in fact, from Paganism.

But it's not about the faith. The truth is that we’ve become a culture that is obsessed with winning. We should, instead, be obsessed with communicating.

The problem, though, is that we desperately want everyone to embrace our own values—and if they don’t we feel they should be forced or shamed into embracing them. That doesn’t work. It doesn’t change minds. And what’s more, it’s unkind.

And adding fuel to this bonfire is the fact that the media capitalizes on this outrage, feeding the public headlines that seem to confirm their fears, with stories that feed their outrage. This generates clicks, and clicks, of course, generate cash.

In the end, a little bit of detective work could have saved a lot of wasted editorial effort, airtime, and blood pressure spikes. Cadbury’s “Easter Ban” is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

Seek Truth

No matter what your politics, religion, or worldview, endeavor to seek the truth. When you come across sensationalist headlines that up your heart rate and have you seeing red, take a moment to slow down. Breathe. Allow yourself to achieve calmness.

And then start seeking the truth.

The fact is that fake news—to use a buzzword—isn’t just a waste of time. It’s actively harmful. People form their views of the world based on what they believe to be true, and when they believe falsehoods, their view of the world is distorted.

And most of the time, that distortion takes the form of division. We misunderstand something about a people or organization, and suddenly, we’re lashing out. We want to hurt them. We want to force them to change.

Don’t give in to that. The world is a much better place when we take the time to actively seek the truth rather than confirming our own biases, and when we respectfully dialogue rather than trying to vengefully attack.

And as for Cadbury, leave the outrage behind and them get on with making their chocolate in peace. Goodness knows we could all use something sweet this year.

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