Home / Bill Donohue / Great Moments in Anti-Religious "Bigotry"

Great Moments in Anti-Religious "Bigotry"


Sadly, the vast archival landfill of the internets has been unable to provide me with an image of this ad, which appeared briefly during the summer of 2001, at the very moment that Der Preznit was — among other things — weighing the enormous moral consequences of embryonic stem cell research.

The Catholic League has asked Unilever, the parent company of Lipton, to withdraw an ad that is offensive to Catholics. The ad, which is published (among other places) in the June 13-19 edition of the New York Press (a free alternative weekly), depicts a man dressed as a priest offering Holy Communion to five parishioners in a church. The priest is holding the Host up to the first person on line who is about to receive. The fourth person on line is holding a bowl of Lipton Onion dip, obviously suggesting that he is prepared to dunk the Host in the dip. At the corner of the ad is a picture of the Lipton “Recipe Secrets” box that features the onion dip.

After Bill Donohue warned that “one thing the Catholic League does not possess is patience,” Lipton withdrew the soup ad. Unilever, makers of Q-Tips and Axe body spray among other fine products, remains — along with the Dallas Cowboys and the makers of Fiddle Faddle snacks — on at least one list of companies boycotted by the faithful.

Curiously, this was not the first time that Lipton had offended the sensibilities of God-fearing Christians. In 1954, Arthur Godfrey — who often gently mocked his show’s sponsors on the air — was discovered one night pitching soup to his audience of millions:

“When it comes to the chicken in Lipton’s soup, you’ve got to have faith,” Godfrey was saying. “Just like it says in the Bible. You know—the Book of Hebrews, Chapter 11, Verse one: ‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’ [laughter]. Or as it says in the Book of John, Chapter 20, Verse 29: ‘Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.’ But don’t go lookin’ in the soup. It’s there, but you’ll never see it [laughter].”

Televiewer Ackerman promptly blew his top at this novel use of Holy Writ. With William A. Chapman, founder of the World Home Bible League, he tore off telegrams to Godfrey and Lipton’s: “Shameful, sacrilegious . . . intolerably obnoxious . . . loose disrespect . . . one of the lowest notes in television history.”

The “Ackerman” fellow was William Ackerman, who was president of the WHBL, an organization determined to make sure that Bibles were available not merely in hotel rooms but in every home the world over. Although Lipton promptly apologized, to his credit Godfrey never acknowledged the non-controversy.

. . . Praise the Lord and pass the onion dip! Neil, in comments, demonstrates his superior Googling skills and delivers this:

“Mmmmmmm . . . sacrelicious . . . .”

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