“No one wants to provoke Jews or Muslims, but it’s totally OK to provoke Christians.” Imagine the outcry if this were an Islamic symbol on these jeans — demonstrations, riots, international furor, possibly even deaths. Moral equivalency alert from AP, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Cheap Monday jeans are a hot commodity among young Swedes thanks to their trendy tight fit and low price, even if a few buyers are turned off by the logo: a skull with a cross turned upside down on its forehead.
Logo designer Bjorn Atldax says he’s not just trying for an antiestablishment vibe.
“It is an active statement against Christianity,” Atldax told The Associated Press. “I’m not a Satanist myself, but I have a great dislike for organized religion.”
The label’s makers say it’s more of a joke, but Atldax insists his graphic designs have a purpose beyond selling denim: to make young people question Christianity, a “force of evil” that he blames for sparking wars throughout history.
In more religious countries, that might raise a furious response, maybe even prompt retailers to drop the brand.
Not in Sweden, a secular country that cherishes its free speech and where churchgoing has been declining for decades.
Cheap Mondays are flying off the shelves at 400 kronor (about $50) a pair. Makers say about 200,000 pairs have been sold since March 2004 “” and little attention has been paid to the grinning skull and dark texts such as “Over My Dead Body.”
Even the predominant Lutheran Church of Sweden reacts with a shrug.
“I don’t think it’s much to be horrified about,” said Bo Larsson, director of the Church of Sweden’s department of Education, Research and Culture.
“It is abundantly clear that this designer wants to create public opinion against the Christian faith … but I believe that the way to deal with this is to start a discussion about what religion means.”
Out in the parishes, however, some Christians believe that approach is too soft.
“One cannot just keep quiet about this,” said the Rev. Karl-Erik Nylund, vicar of St. Mary Magdalene Church in Stockholm. “This is a deliberate provocation (against Christians) and I object to that.”
Nylund complained that Swedish companies do not treat Christianity with the same respect in marketing that they afford other religions.
“No one wants to provoke Jews or Muslims, but it’s totally OK to provoke Christians,” he said.
Some buyers have ripped off the Cheap Monday labels, or even returned the jeans once they realized what the logo represents. But such cases are very few, said Orjan Andersson, the creator of the brand, who doesn’t take Atldax’ message too seriously….
Cheap Mondays have started to sell abroad. The jeans are being shipped to Norway, Denmark, Britain, the Netherlands, France and Australia. Andersson said they’re working on introducing them in the United States and elsewhere….