A controversial Christmas card reading "O come all ye faithless" has been strongly criticized by Christians as an "ill judged and insensitive joke." Borders book stores began giving away the card free with every copy of Richard Dawkins' well known atheist work, The God Delusion, this Christmas.
The Rev. Jonathan Edwards, general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. said the idea was "crass."
"I am quite sure that Borders intended their Christmas card as a joke. However, I personally find it an ill-judged and insensitive joke," he said, as reported by Baptist Times.
He continued, "Christians have always been used to being punch bags but I would have hoped that, in a society in which we are seeking to show respect to all people and beliefs, we might have grown out of this kind of nonsense."
He was supported by Justin Thacker, head of theology at the Evangelical Alliance, who said, "It won't surprise me if this spectacularly fails. Christmas still holds a high place in people's hearts - I think a lot of people will be offended by it."
Borders has responded to the criticism by issuing a statement which said it "did not intend it as anti-Christian or a swipe at the Christian faith," and said that it "apologizes to any of our customers who feel it was that," according to Baptist Times.
The book store described the card as a "continuation" of the debate on atheism that had come as result of the book, which was a bestseller for Borders this year.
"Our customers are intelligent, curious people who enjoy exploring all types of books and music. Naturally, some of the thousands of books and music selections we carry could be considered controversial or objectionable depending on individual views, tastes and interest," Borders said in a statement.
"However, Borders stands by its commitment to let customers make the choice."
The Evangelical Alliance's Thacker noted, "I think the atheists will love it because it's bashing Christians around the head. It's another thing to take a Christian festival and abuse it.
"Borders wouldn't do this to any other religious festival. Borders [has] made a strategic mistake and Christians will boycott it."