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4 Mar, 2013 21:04

Cleanliness is next to godliness: Finnish toilet-roll company draws religious ire

Cleanliness is next to godliness: Finnish toilet-roll company draws religious ire

A Finnish hygiene company that “inadvertently” printed quotes from the Bible on its toilet rolls has drawn outrage from several clerics who found the creative idea unwitty and disrespectful.

The company, Metsa Tissue, had to apologize for the mishap and remove lines from the Gospel of Matthew and First Corinthians it accidentally placed on its toilet paper. The manufacturer says that it did not mean to insult anyone. On the contrary, it tried to spread “love and joy.”

Back in autumn the firm, which produces the Lambi brand, asked its customers via Facebook to send short texts about love to their page on the popular networking service.

The company then picked best lines – including Jesus’ “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” - and published them on toilet tissues sold in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” was also approved as suitable to make TP users happy before being flushed away.

The new product appeared to be quite a success in Scandinavia, writes Vart Land newspaper’s website.

The manufacturers only realized their mistake when feedback from some displeased ‘readers’ followed. 

“People like to read small, happy messages while sitting on the toilet,” Christina von Trampe, a spokeswoman for Metsa Tissue told Reuters. She underlined that the “vast majority of the feedback” was positive adding that the company’s intention was to “spread love and joy, not religious messages.”

However, Laila Riksaasen Dahl, the Bishop of Tunsberg in protestant Norway, did not appreciate the idea of placing lines from the Holy book on toilet tissues.

"This is bad taste and shows a lack of respect," she told Vart Land. 

Metsa Tissue’s von Trampe apologized to believers and noted that had they known where quotes come from, they would not have printed them.

Meanwhile, some say that the very possibility of the God’s words being placed on toilet rolls is a positive sign: it shows that the society is free. And to a large extent that is thanks to Christianity, believes Morten Thomsen Højsgaard, the head of the Danish Bible Society. He underlined though that freedom “must be used with responsibility.”