The company defended its moniker on its website: "Our name was created from the popular phrase that people use as an expression of enjoyment, surprise or disbelief. Our aim is not to offer commentary on anyone's religion or belief systems, Our own organization is made up of amazing people that represent a wide range of cultural and religious beliefs."
However, that hasn't stopped various boycotts and petitions from cropping up blasting the Canada-wide ice cream chain for its name choice. One petition on CitizenGo.org has received more than 10,000 signatures from people who agree with its premise: "Choosing the name of our Lord for a brand of soft-serve ice cream is totally offensive and revolting. The message is clear: 'Sweet Jesus' is all about trashing Christianity and mocking the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ."
There is also a Change.com petition calling for the removal of "offensive Antichrist imagery" (such as the inverted crosses on Sweet Jesus' cups) that has more than 1,500 signatures. "It is time for Christians to take a stand against the Anti-Christ agenda, clearly now in open season against Christianity," the petition demands.Sweet Jesus co-founder Andrew Richmond told Canadian news outlet CBC, "We are conscious of the fact that, to some, our name can be off-putting. That fact is something we struggle with, because we sincerely do not wish to give offence or show disrespect in any way toward anyone's personal beliefs. After a lot of thought, we have decided that we will not make a change."
"In our experience, the majority of people understand that we're not trying to make a statement about religion."
The popular ice cream chain has 20 locations in Canada, one in Baltimore, and is set to debut its second U.S. location in Minneapolis at the Mall of America.