Following the lead of a European supermarket chain, the global food and beverage giant Nestle eliminated a cross from an image of an iconic church on its packaging for a Greek yogurt product.
The packaging features the picturesque Anastasis Greek Orthodox church on the Greek island of Santorini, reported the European Post.
But the white cross on the building’s blue dome is missing.
Previously, the German discount supermarket chain Lidl – which has 10,000 stores across Europe and expanded to the U.S. this year – Photoshopped the cross from a photograph of the Anastatis church on packaging for its Eridanous brand of Greek products because it wishes to “maintain neutrality in all religions,” reported the Belgian arm of European TV and radio station RTL.
A spokesman for Lidl told RTL the chain is “avoiding the use of religious symbols because we do not wish to exclude any religious beliefs.”
“We are a company that respects diversity, and this is what explains the design of this packaging,” the spokesman said.
RTL said that after it reported the story, it received another statement from Lidl.
“Our intention has never been to shock,” said the supermarket’s spokesman. “We avoid the use of religious symbols on our packaging to maintain neutrality in all religions. If it has been perceived differently, we apologize to those who may have been shocked.”
Customers voiced displeasure on the Lidl U.K. page, the London Independent reported. Some pointed out that the chain offers Islamic Halal meat products that feature mosques with minarets.
Daisy Matthews wrote: “Why are you erasing the reality from a photo? If there were products from Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, or Muslim countries with their symbols depicted on there, I wouldn’t have a problem buying them.”
Daniel Novak said: “I am very disappointed with the company because it is trying to please a certain category of people. Why do you hide from history? We all have to learn from history, and editing it with Photoshop will cause other mistakes.”
Olive oil, pistachios, feta cheese and other products are sold at Lidl under the Eridanous brand.
Islamic expert Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, commented that Europe is “voluntarily divesting itself of its own culture and identity, so as not to appear ‘Islamophobic’ before the Muslim newcomers.”
“But of course, there will be no vacuum. Europe will have a new culture and identity, one that derives from a belief system that has led to the removal of crosses for centuries. And it’s coming sooner than anyone thinks,” he said
The European Post pointed out other recent instances of censoring Christianity in public life in Europe, which coincide with a wave of Muslim migration.
In England, the Charnwood Borough Council banned a trader at a city market from selling Knights Templar coffee mugs because they might upset Muslims.
Schools in the United Kingdom have stopped using the terms B.C., for Before Christ, and A.D. for Anno Domini, in religious education lessons for fear of offending non-Christians.
The former archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, lamented the decision: “I have never met a Muslim or Jewish leader who is offended by the Gregorian calendar.”
The French state-owned transport network RATP and its advertising agency Metrobus ordered a ban on posters advertising a June concert by French music group Les Pretres, or “The Priests,” Le Monde reported. The posters said the proceeds would go toward the cause of Christians who are being persecuted in countries such as Iraq and Syria.
The head of RATP, according to The Local France, explained the public service must maintain neutrality “in the context of an armed conflict abroad.”
The Italian news service ANSA reported a class in an elementary school in Italy was barred from visiting the sacred art exhibition “Bellezza Divina” at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence because some paintings could offend non-Catholic families.
And Italian anchorwoman Marina Nalesso of public channel TG1 was hit with a storm of criticism after she wore a crucifix on air.
WND reported in August parents of students at a Catholic school in the San Francisco Bay area protested the board’s decision to remove and relocate more than 160 statues of Jesus, Mary and historic church figures from the campus in an effort to make the school more “inclusive.”