by David Sisler

One in every eleven boxes of cereal sold in America is "Cheerios," boasts General Mills. You remember the "Breakfast of Champions" and perhaps collected "Wheaties" boxes with pictures of Cal Ripken, Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods. Maybe you voted against the silly rabbit because, you know that "Trix are for kids." Good advertising. Good products.

But beware! General Mills has made a major public relations blunder. With an uncharacteristic lapse in corporate sensitivity, the cereal maker has included a CD-Rom in 12 million boxes of cereal that is grossly offensive. It may be on the shelves of a grocery store near you in a few days.

Stories have circulated for years of bored television control room people, who in the wee hours of the morning, slipped their favorite porno movie onto the air. General Mills' offense is more horrible than any Triple-X release. Hide the kiddies' eyes! Don't let Grandma see this! The New International Version of the Bible has been slipped in your multi-grain breakfast food.

The headline read: "GM apologizes for giving away Scripture." The AP story from Detroit said, "Cereal maker General Mills has issued an apology for CD-Rom versions of the Bible that are headed to grocery stores nationwide in about 12 million cereal boxes. The discs are part of a $10 million software-and-cereal promotion that offers CD-Roms with computer games, dictionaries and Bibles."

"It is the company's policy not to advance any particular set of religious beliefs," Minneapolis-based General Mills said in a statement. "Inclusion of this material does not conform to our policy, and we apologize for this lapse."

There you have it direct from a corporate mouth-piece the Bible is offensive. It is so offensive that GM misled the public about including it in the promotion in the first place. Greg Swann, founder of Rhinosoft Interactive of Wisconsin, the company that helped create the CD-Roms, called General Mills' claims that it was unaware of the software Bibles "a flat-out lie."

The Bible is offensive. Thank God!

There are many reasons that the Good Book is offensive to its readers and when living in violation of some of its precepts, it was offensive to me but its greatest offense is its declaration that the way to heaven is only through personal faith in Jesus of Nazareth. Simon Peter wrote about this Jesus when he said, "The stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the Word."

Americans are rarely offended by anything today, but corporate America feels we are offended by the Holy Bible. We tolerate everything except decency and morality. The camel was swallowed long ago and we no longer even gag at the gnat. No wonder Dr. Grant C. Richison said, "The only exception to tolerance is to allow no tolerance for those who are not tolerant! Today's world-view views anyone with firm conviction as obscurant. Tolerance is very intolerant of those who know what they believe."

Well, if putting the Bible into a box of cereal is offensive, then believing the Bible must certainly be so. Practicing the Bible must be off the scale. Imagine, then, the people who were offended when Kurt Warner, star quarterback of the St. Louis Rams, signed his new multi-million dollar contract, and his wife, Brenda, said they plan to tithe, to give 10 percent of every paycheck, to the ministry of St. Louis Family Church, which the Warners attend. That must certainly offend most of America's church members and attenders. Survey after survey shows that half of the people who attend church drop less than $5 a week into the collection plate. Twenty percent of the worshipers give eighty percent of the money. The Warners should be offending a lot of people.

The Bible is offensive, the folks at General Mills think. They apologized for putting the CD-Rom in their cereal boxes. Religious News Today says the NIV Bible, licensed by Zondervan Corporation, is included on a CD-Rom which includes "Clue," "Carmen Sandiego Word Detective," "Lego Creator," and "Amazon Trail." I have an idea how evangelical Christians can really be offensive. Go to the store, buy every box of General Mills cereal that has that particular CD-Rom in it, and what you can't eat, donate (unopened) to the Golden Harvest Food Bank. The Yummies up on Carpet Corridor understand the message of money. Let's send them one. When boxes of cereal with the Bible in them run out, switch to pancakes for breakfast. We want the Bible. We don't want the cereal.


Published in The Augusta Chronicle 8/5/2000

Copyright 2000 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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