Monday, 6 December 2010

Virgin Mary? - No thanks

Catholic Queen Mary I - not so bloody!

There is a very fine alcoholic drink called a 'Bloody Mary' after Queen Mary the First (dubbed so quite unfairly according to the Protestant historian Thomas Cobbet who places Mary's reputation for hanging Protestant dissidents at c. 110. Most of these were Anabaptists, a fundamentalist terrorist type sect, who were tried for crimes including murder, treason and other nasty acts - hardly the bodies hanging from every tree in the land that gave Mary her soubriquet). However, I digress, the fact is that a blend of vodka, ice, tomato juice, pepper, salt, slice of lemon, worcester sauce, tabasco and, if you are an aficianado, a splash of dry sherry, makes a very fine drink.
There is a non alcoholic version that is most popular in 'dry' Muslim countries; I am thinking specifically of Brunei, Saudi and Kuwait where it features large on the drinks list.

My grouse is that they call this emasculated version, a 'Virgin Mary' - not a title that Catholics like to see bandied around gratuitously.
The Brunei Sheraton has a fine bar, albeit ostensibly dry but, when not so long ago the Hotel Manager offered me a 'Virgin Mary' it pushed me to ask if he had a beverage called 'Mohammed's Tears' - of course, he was rather indignant and explained at length why such a title was offensive not just to him but to the whole Islamic world.
I then gently pointed out just how offensive it was to Christians to feature the 'Virgin Mary' drink but it was all to no avail. He either could not or would not comprehend.
This experience left me with a feeling that we, as Christians, are rather lax at stepping up to the plate to express our discontent with such issues; we tend to hide under the blanket of not wishing to appear intolerant. But I don't think that sticking up for one's faith is intolerant, or, if it is, we need to do more of it.
However, best not to raise the issue if you have just consumed a Bloody Mary!


  1. Good Morning Richard

    YES! YES! AND YES AGAIN! You hit the nail on the head with this one. We are extremely lax in speaking up and, in some cases. that is from the top (not TOP top but just below) down. Perhaps we should pray for the courage of our martyrs, past and current. If Christians in certain countries today are willing to suffer and die for the faith, we in less opressed cultures should at least have the courage to speak up!

    Thank you for an excellent post and a gentle nudge in the right direction. God bless you.

  2. excellent point,