Thinking Out Loud

January 14, 2019

Toilet Seat Covers with Scripture Texts: Bad Taste or Worse?

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:05 pm

I’ve been sitting with this Religion News Service story by Aysha Khan in my files for several days not sure whether to save it for Wednesday’s roundup, or it deserves greater consideration.

It’s just not a story involving Christianity. Click the title below to read the story in full:

Amazon pulls offensive bathmats with Quranic text

(RNS) — After complaints from Muslim advocates, the online retailer Amazon has removed more than 20 product listings that included doormats, bathmats and toilet covers featuring verses from the Quran in Arabic calligraphy.

The products, many of which included the name of God and of the Prophet Muhammad, were not produced or stocked directly by Amazon, but carried by independent retailers selling on Amazon’s platform…

…Muslims treat the Quran with great respect, performing ritual ablution before touching it and often avoiding putting it on the ground or in impure areas — including near feet or below the level of feet. Many will burn any materials containing the Quran or God’s name rather than allowing it to sit in the garbage…

…[The Council on American-Islamic Relations] CAIR has previously campaigned for recalls of other products that would be offensive to Muslim consumers. Back in 1997, Nike recalled a basketball shoe with a design — intended to depict the word “air” written in flaming letters — resembling the Arabic word “Allah.”

Last month, the nonprofit group United Sikhs successfully pushed Amazon to remove toilet covers and bathmats featuring Sikh religious symbols…

I know there are Christian retailers reading this who might, self-righteously say, ‘Yes, but we would never sell bathmats and toilet seat covers;’ but I think this story is a cautionary tale that sometimes what passes for Christian giftware can run the risk of crossing a line.

For example: A welcome mat with a scripture sentiment like “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord,” may seem appropriate, but someone might argue you’re inviting people to wipe their feet on the words of Joshua in the Hebrew scriptures.

Or a store or church might place some extra Bibles in a stack on the floor; whereas the practitioners of other religions would be greatly offended by that.

I think this story is an applicable lesson for us all.

2 Comments »

  1. So true! Since getting to know Muslim friends who are careful to always put the Qur’an in a high place (never on the floor), I try to show as much respect for my Bible. Sadly, at my church, we have theater seats and no book holders, so when we stand in worship, I have to balance my Bible on an arm rest or put it on the floor, so I try my best to balance it on an arm rest.

    Comment by Bob Rogers — January 14, 2019 @ 8:50 pm

    • Recognizing how easily things can go off on tangents in the comments section; I nonetheless have to ask if your theater seats have cup-holders. I know churches — actual modern churches, not churches meeting in operating theaters — which have cup-holders but not book-holders, and I never thought about the irony of that until now. Again, forgive the tangent.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — January 14, 2019 @ 10:31 pm


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