Kuma's Ghost Burger brings out the haters

This being Sunday, it is a perfect time to discuss religious intolerance and hatred.

Kuma’s Corner, a restaurant and bar, generated controversy and a lot of publicity over a hamburger. The Ghost Burger, a gourmet delight, contains two ingredients riling some Catholics and other Christians. A wine reduction representing the blood of Christ and the burger is topped by a communion wafer, a symbol of the body of Christ.

As a Catholic, I am not really offended by this. As a cook and foodie, I am offended like Michael Smith, by something else. Smith posted this comment on John Kass’s Facebook page in response to a column Kass wrote on the Ghost Burger controversy

 “I’m a thick skinned Irish Catholic – I’m hard pressed to be offended by any derogatory name calling, stereotypical ethnic mocking or desecration of religious symbols. Those attempts to get a rise out of me are always ineffective. HOWEVER, as a Chef, I have to say that adding a dry, tasteless wafer that turns to paste in your mouth as a garnish to an otherwise delicious hamburger breaks every sacred culinary covenant that I hold dear. Don’t add anything to a dish that doesn’t improve it. Shame on you Kuma’s Corner….you should know better.”

Anyone who would ruin a perfectly good burger by putting hardened paste on it should be…  never mind. Out of all the comments from various news media sites, this was the only one that made perfect sense.

What is offensive is the mockery, persecution through insult, and derision in various comment sections on news sights and social media over reports of the Ghost Burger. Our oh so tolerant nation is not so tolerant after all. It is not just Catholics being mocked and persecuted by insult. Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists came in for their fair share.


I attended a Polish Catholic school in the 1950s-60s. Many of the nuns emigrated to America after World War II. Some were survivors of the German labor camps. Others grew up in areas of this oh so tolerant nation where Catholic persecution and mockery were rife.

The nuns would tell stories of Catholic persecution, mockery, and derision by other so called Christians. This mockery and persecution was the modern form of martyrdom. We were taught to ignore the intolerance and defeat it by living our lives and practicing our faith to set an example for others. We were not taught to proselytize, brag, or carry a chip on our shoulders.

We were taught to respect the beliefs of others while maintaining our own faith. We were taught to respect period. Respect was part of the belief system. Respect is not a word used very often in our pluralistic disagreeable society.

In Catholic high school, respect for others was instilled even deeper, sometimes painfully, as corporeal punishment was still in vogue.

The comments on news sites and social media proved the nuns and Christian Brothers of Ireland wrong. There is no respect. Religious intolerance and bigotry is still alive and spreading in America. Those with no faith are generating bias and hatred to people of faith. Those with faith are generating bias and hatred to people of other faiths.

You cannot have tolerance or acceptance without mutual respect. Disagreeing by being disrespectful and disagreeable is the new national pastime.

It is difficult to be tolerant of others when there is so much intolerance. It is hard not to get angry at the utter stupidity of low information people, especially those who claim to be educated. It is really hard not to go postal insane in the face of so much insanity.

There is a great deal of blatant hypocrisy in this former great nation of ours. People who preach tolerance practice intolerance. People who preach love practice hatred. People who preach equality practice discrimination.

People want it both ways. They want tolerance as long as they can be intolerant. They do not want to be hated but want the right to hate. They demand diversity as long as they can be biased.

If people respond is such a deplorable manner on comment sections and social media, you could imagine the kind of hatred, bigotry, and intolerance they teach their own children.

I am proud to be a Catholic. I respect any and all people who hold other beliefs. If you believe in Allah, Yaweh, the Great Pumpkin, the Big Bang, or the Great Comedian, I respect that. I only ask the same in return.

That is the right way. That should be the American way.

On another note, it is interesting that Kuma’s other location. Kuma’s Too, is located at 666 W. Diversey.




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