Is the 'Communion burger' in poor taste?
The "Ghost" burger at Kuma's Corner in Chicago features a "Communion wafer garnish."
October 3rd, 2013
12:50 PM ET

Is the 'Communion burger' in poor taste?

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

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(CNN) Mmm - sacralicious?

A Chicago restaurant is pushing the boundaries of bad taste with its October Burger of the Month.

Kuma's Corner, a heavy-metal themed joint with an "Eat beef; bang your head" ethos, says its new burger is an homage to Ghost, a Swedish band that performs satanic songs in Catholic clerical garb.

"The Ghost" burger features a "Communion wafer garnish," a white, unleavened disc bearing the imprint of a cross and a crown.

Ghost's new album comes complete with grape juice and a mock Communion wafer. Not coincidentally, the Communion burger at Kuma's comes with a red wine reduction.

For those unfamiliar with the Christian sacrament, Holy Communion commemorates Jesus' Last Supper. The bread represents his body, Jesus says in the Bible, and the wine his blood. In many Christian traditions, a priest or minister will consecrate the wafers and wine before sharing them with the congregation.

Luke Tobias, director of operations for Kuma's, said the restaurant's Communion wafers are not consecrated, and thus, not really holy. "It's more or less a cracker with a cross on it," he said. The restaurant bought the wafers online from an e-Bay-type website.

They're not trying to make a big religious statement, Tobias said, just trying to have fun honoring a band they like.

"If there is a God, I'm sure he has a sense of humor."

Some of God's peoples seem to get the joke, according to Kuma's.  A Presbyterian minister who ate the burger yesterday posted a message on Facebook saying that "sacrilege never tasted so good," Tobias said.

But other Christians have a beef with Kuma's burger.

Tobias said Kuma's phones have been ringing off the hook, with some saying that putting a Communion host on a burger is like waving the American flag over a fire.

Jeffrey Young, who runs a podcast and blog called "Catholic Foodie," called the Ghost burger "crass and offensive."

"For us, as Catholics, the Eucharist is the body and blood and soul of divinity itself," said Young. "Although the Communion wafer is not a consecrated host, it's still symbolic, and symbols are important."

There's one thing that Tobias and Young agree on, however: Communion wafers are not particularly tasty.

"From a culinary standpoint," Young said, "it's kind of worthless."

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Faith • Food

soundoff (683 Responses)
  1. 80/20 beef to make that juicy burger


    October 3, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  2. Lamb of dog

    If the church gave out burgers and a beer for communion they would be more popular. I would even make an appearance if my favorite football team wasn't playing.

    October 3, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
  3. Ellen in KY

    Why yes it is in bad taste and insulting to Catholics. I doubt very much if they would have a Muhammed burger.

    October 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Mick

      A Mohammed burger would be funny, too. Both religions are feeding us laughable untruths that have no place in a scientifically enlightened age, and deserve to be satirized – even ridiculed.

      October 3, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • G to the T

      I don't think that would be a problem. How about an all beef Hindu Burger? Or Buddha Belly Buster?

      Of course, the challenge would be finding a metal band that has an islamic theme, otherwise what you say doesn't make any sense. The band the burger is in honor of used this imagery!

      October 4, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  4. Sane Person

    Oh no a burger with a flavorless wafer on it! Call the god police.

    October 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  5. Jim P.

    Ritual cannibalism (communion) really gets people stirred up. Especially those who as a matter of doctrine are required to believe the stuff actually turns into flesh and blood once eaten which to me is far more gross than putting a bit of tasteless dried wheat paste on top of a burger..

    October 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Deacon Mark

      My friend... cannibalism is eating flesh of the dead.. Jesus Christ rose from the dead.. .Catholic Christians partake by eating his sacred Body & Blood in Holy Communion... it is in no way cannabalism..

      October 3, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
      • sam stone

        marky-mark: we are not your friends, you condescending creep. cannabilism is eating of flesh, death is not required

        October 4, 2013 at 8:41 am |
        • samstone

          Aw shucks. I was hoping stanky would always be my one true love. Dag, stanks. How will we live w/o your love and friendship, u piece of filth, spray face 12 gauge? What da ya say, dodo, u lying witch?

          October 4, 2013 at 9:38 am |
  6. shawn

    and let me guess kids under 9 get it free...

    October 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  7. JOE BOB

    consecration is not actually real, so regardless this is no different than the harry potter stuff the catholic church currently peddles

    October 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  8. James

    This is incredibly offensive. Although the wafer is unconsecrated, it takes a poke at the source and summit of the Catholic faith – that is the actual presence – body, blood, soul and divinity – of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. This has been a sacred belief for 2000 years. It is over-the-top in bad taste.

    October 3, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Lamb of dog

      I don't have an opinion because I haven't eaten one.

      October 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • JOE BOB

      how is this any different than those taliban muslim laws? last i checked they have the freedom to do this and not one person has any say so. FREEDOM.

      October 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Lamb of dog

      2000 years! That's almost as old as humanity.

      October 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Peter

      Poor taste? Looks delicious to me! If I were God, this is how I would want communion to be eaten. As the article says, if God exists, I'm sure he has a sense of humor. I don't see why, or how, this could be "offensive". I grew up going to catholic school, and I know a lot of stuck up folks there would be offended by this, but honestly I think they miss understand the teaching of Jesus. He was for love and understanding, and this looks awesome to me. I'm sure Jesus is looking down and smiling.

      October 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      How can it be? Without consecration, it's a little bit of wheat. Dry and tasteless and meaningless.

      October 3, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • sam stone

      it is over the top in bad taste.

      of course, so is christianity

      October 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • humanistJohn420

      Catholicism (and all of christianity for that matter) deserve to be mocked.

      October 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
      • sam stone

        i got no problem with them if they keep it to themselves. if they want to evangelize, they rightly open themselves up to criticism and ridicule.

        October 4, 2013 at 8:42 am |
        • sam stone

          Me neither, stanks. So shut up you filthy vermin

          October 4, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • Mick

      James, not to sound harsh, but think of what you're saying here: That a piece of bread becomes – doesn't just symbolize, but becomes – the body of a man who lived two thousand years ago. Or, god-man, if you prefer. You can't put forth an idea like that and expect it to NOT be ridiculed...it is an idea entirely unworthy of our respect in a scientifically enlightened age. Sorry, that's just the way it is.

      October 3, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
  9. Mike Q

    I think what is in poor taste is the $17 price for a burger and fries. I've had a Kumas burger before. It's a huge amount of unseasoned meat with gourmet toppings. Not worth $17

    October 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  10. mike


    October 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  11. Roman

    For you decieved Catholics, the wafer never becomes the actual body of Christ. When Jesus was talking about this in the bible, he was speaking spiritually, not physically. You eat the word of God, you feed on his Word (the bible) to get spiritual nourishment, and life through the holy spirit, not cannibalism. Yet another man-made interpretation of the truth, misleading millions of sheep astray, like the Catholic church has done since they began.

    October 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Deacon Mark

      Why in the Bread of Life Discourse in John's Gospel does Jesus repeatedly say " I am the living bread" If you do not eat my flesh and drink my blood.. etc... The Catholic church has been on target right from the early Christian community in 1st century Jerusalem... you my friend need to do some homework....

      October 3, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
      • sam stone

        you seem pretty sure of what jesus said, marky mark

        very insightful about edited, translated hearsay

        we are not your friends

        October 4, 2013 at 8:51 am |
        • samstone

          So do u, snake breath!

          October 4, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  12. Paul

    God may have a sense of humor but Bible thumpers don't.

    October 3, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • palintwit

      The bible thumpers are too busy boinking their cousins after church.

      October 3, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  13. ME II

    Not sure what the issue is. If it's not consecrated, then by their own belief, it is just bread and no big deal, right?

    October 3, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  14. DOUG

    As any practicing Catholic would know the wafer used as a garnish is ONLY that a garnish. The wafer which becomes the body of Christ through the Consecration, in general, is an act by which a thing is separated from a common and profane to a sacred use. So relax people.

    October 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  15. Hey it's me

    And an antichristo sandwich

    October 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Tatts

      "antichristo sandwich"

      Ha! Priceless.

      October 3, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
  16. Nom's Burgers

    As somebody who has actually gone to that restaurant many times, they are being honest when they say that it's named after that band. Every burger they serve is named after a Metal band and made to be identified with them (Ex. Southern bands have southern ingredients), except for the one that is named after the restaurant. That's their theme. Everyone seems ticked off about the burger but nobody's mentioned that the band dresses up like Popes and monks. It's part of their show and that's what the restaurant used for inspiration. If it offends you, which it might for a reason, then do not eat it. Problem solved!

    October 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  17. Doc Vestibule

    Oh Communionburger, on how many religionauts will refuse to eat thee?
    Catholics and Hindus and Jews! Oh my!

    October 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
  18. Bob

    It's true that it's not actually desecration, since the wafers were not consecrated, but it does seem to be disrespectful, and to what end? A joke?

    Also, it's worth noting that Jesus himself would not have eaten this burger because the meat plus cheese makes it not kosher.

    October 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • Sara

      Almost all humor is based on making fun of something, some one or some idea. Even Family Circus is making fun of how ignorant and silly kids are. Yes, you have to monitor the humor, but ideas are precisely what it should address, as ideas are choice we all make.

      October 3, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
      • Bob

        I agree that it is often funny to make fun of things, but you have to weigh the humor against the offense. This is just plain stupid, so the scales tip towards offensive. Not for me, mind you; I don't care, but a lot of people do, and I just don't think this was worth it.

        October 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
        • Sara

          How do you feel about making fun of Naziism? White supremist religions or the caste system? Republicans or Democrats?

          October 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • Bob

        Godwin's Law. You lose, Sara.

        October 3, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • ME II

      Not a joke. It's in support of a metal band.

      October 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
      • G to the T

        I know! Sometime I wonder if anyone bothers to read these articles before they comment...

        October 4, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  19. ME II

    "From a culinary standpoint, it's kind of worthless," Young said.

    Not just culinary...

    October 3, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  20. Chuck

    I'm not religious, nor do I think this burger is a problem. The restaurant couldn't have asked for better free publicity. However, I think that people would be going nuts if the same thing were to happen with a symbol of another faith. Can you imagine the Muslim out cry if the restaurant had made fun of Mohammed? That's where the true problem lies. What is acceptable to do to one group of people, Catholics in this case, would be completely unacceptable to do to another.

    October 3, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.