An Episcopal church bishop has condemned the appearance in stores of Easter baskets containing snipers, machine guns and toy ammunition instead of chocolate bunnies.
At a Kmart in New York’s Greenwich Village, a display inside the main entrance includes a camouflaged soldier with an American flag arm patch standing alert in a teal, pink and yellow basket beneath a green-and-purple bow. He comes with a machine gun, rifle, hand grenade, knife, pistol and round of ammunition. Another basket has a buzz-cut blond soldier in dress uniform with an American eagle shield on his arm, and a machine gun, pistol, Bowie knife, grenades, truncheon and handcuffs.
Walgreens’ assortment, which was later pulled from shelves following consumer protests, included a space-age ray gun and other imaginary hardware for orbital combat.
Bishop George Packard, responsible for spiritual care for Episcopalian members of the armed services, questioned the message sent to Muslims by the melding of a Christian holiday with images of war.
The products, Bishop Packard said, are “really, really bizarre … Easter baskets have been deteriorating for a long time, but they’ve really gone over the edge. I am so disturbed, I am so confounded by this bad taste.”
Some religious leaders noted that the eggs, bunnies, and chicks associated with the holiday are also unrelated to the narrative of Jesus. They are instead the trappings of Ostara (also known as Eostra), a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility.