By Lauren Cooper, Georgia State University
Last week a friend posted a link to a rather interesting article on my Facebook wall—it was an article about a restaurant in Chicago called Kuma’s Corner that is serving a burger called The Ghost. Generally speaking, I’m not usually interested in what eateries in Chicago are serving their patrons, but this particular burger caught my attention immediately.
The Ghost is a lamb burger topped with red wine…and a communion wafer.
At first I thought it was some sort of reference to “holy ghost,” but in fact, the burger was created in honor of a Swedish heavy metal rock group called Ghost (or Ghost B.C. in the United States for legal reasons).
Ghost B.C. is an interesting group, to be sure. The band dresses in hooded monks’ robes and the lead vocalist, Papa Emeritus, wears the traditional chasuble and mitre of a Catholic cardinal, but he also wears black skull face paint. As such, the band appears almost as a negative mirror image of a group of Catholic clergy. The groups’ songs are largely Satanic in theme, employing the same religious language and even theology of the Catholic church.
Predictably, the band Ghost B.C. has been met with a measure of anger and criticism by Catholics and other religious groups. Strangely enough, however, the band’s music has not caused nearly the uproar that the Ghost burger itself has.
Why is that?
Perhaps it is because in America we have generally grown accustomed to musical acts donning eyebrow-raising costumes and bombarding us with aggressive lyrics. It’s all part of the show, right? Even band members of Ghost B.C. have suggested in interviews that they don’t really care if you think about their music. They’re not trying to convert but rather entertain.
Something about the Ghost burger, on the other hand, really rubs people the wrong way. I have to admit that when I first saw an image of the burger, I was a little uneasy myself. Yet I was unable to pinpoint why, exactly. It seems to have crossed some line that entertainment does not.
Is it because it infringes on the sacrality of the ritual of communion? Is it because it’s the burger of the month?
Interestingly enough, the Ghost is currently a top selling dish at Kuma’s Corner.
Lauren Cooper is a contributing editor at Religion Nerd as well as a senior at Georgia State University working toward B.A.s in English and Religious Studies. She plans to attend graduate school in the Fall of 2014 for Religious Studies, where she will focus on new religious movements in America. Her primary area of interest is religious movements that arise from elements of popular culture. On the side, Lauren writes short stories. Her first short story “Zealotry” was published in the Underground Literary Journal at GSU in Spring 2013.