Political correctness may win out in a recent British ban on buns—the hot cross kind.
Giving in to fears of offending non-Christian students, schools across Britain have been ordered by local authorities to refrain from serving the traditional hot cross buns at Easter, the Telegraph reported.
Individual schools have chosen to exclude this Easter sweet roll from the menu before, but this year marks the first time local authorities have imposed blanket bun bans.
The Liverpool council told the Telegraph that the symbol of the cross had the “potential” to offend. However, the council added that it would continue to comprise special menus to celebrate events like Chinese New Year, Italian National Day and Russian Independence Day.
Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe called the ban “appalling and absurd,” and referred to those instilling the ban as “silly a–es.”
“It would appear that we should know about everyone else’s culture apart from our Christian tradition,” Widdecombe told the Telegraph. “It seems that anything that comes from an ethnic minority is fine, while anything Christian is wrong.”
Widdecombe added that it wasn’t as if eating a hot cross bun “automatically makes you a born-again Christian.”
In fact, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain said in a statement that “British Muslims have been quite happily eating and digesting hot cross buns for many years and I don’t think they are suddenly going to be offended.”
The Muslim Council called the decision “very, very bizarre.”
“This is absolutely amazing,” said the spokesman. “At the moment, British Muslims are very concerned about the … war with Iraq and are hardly going to be taken aback by a hot cross bun.”
Not all counties will be banning the buns, according to the Telegraph.
The bun battle is getting some discussion among county officials. Andrew Rosindell, the MP for Romford, called the move “ridiculous political correctness,” itv.com reported.
Deputy Commons Leader Ben Bradshaw replied: “I have some sympathy for you. I think hot cross buns are delicious, they are a traditional part of our pre-Easter, pre-Good Friday cuisine and I hope people up and down the country will enjoy a great many of them in the run-up to Good Friday.”
Writing for Jewish World Review, Joanne Jacobs mused over the British buns issue.
“Easter falls during the Passover season this year, so Jewish students won’t be eating leavened bread in any case,” wrote Jacobs. “I wonder if local councils will order schools to serve matzoh?”
Jacobs said that in 1999 a supermarket produced hot star buns for Jewish customers in North London. The only problem, she noted, was that the buns weren’t kosher.
Like many Easter traditions, the hot cross bun is not a Christian invention.
The tradition dates back to pagan times when the cross represented the moon and its four quarters, according to the Telegraph. It was claimed for the Christian church in 1361 when Father Thomas Rockcliffe distributed the buns to the poor of St Albans.
Jodi Mathews is BCE’s communications director.