Monday, January 02, 2006

Devilish denim

Sweden's latest fashion trend is bound to cause some trouble when it arrives here: The logo of Cheap Monday Jeans features a skull with an upside-down cross on its forehead, which is designer, Bjorn Atldax, claims is "an active statement against Christianity."

"I'm not a Satanist myself but I have a great dislike for organized religion," he said, going on to refer to Christianity as a "force of evil" that has sparked war through history.

Atldax doesn't get high marks for logic, well-crafted argumentation, or even clever design in my book, so I tend to dismiss him; I like the response of one laid-back Swedish minister: "I don't think it's much to be horrified about," according to Bo Larson, director of the Lutheran Church of Sweden's Department of Education, Research, and Culture. "I believe that the way to deal with this is to start a discussion about what religion means." I doubt Atldax will be interested, but others might.

Not the best response in my book is vicar Karl-Erik Nylund, who thinks Christianity gets unfairly singled out: "No one wants to provoke Jews or Muslims, but it's totally OK to provoke Christians."

I think a good look at anti-Muslim rhetoric in Europe would indicate that there are plenty of Europeans interested in provoking Muslims, and the persistence of anti-Semitic political parties in many European countries indicates to me that Jews and Judaism are still on the receiving end of plenty of prejudice. And I'd say the same holds true in the U.S., especially when it comes to rhetoric about Islam.

So no whining from Christians about a pair of jeans, OK?


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