VAUGHAN, ON - Now in its second week, the ‘Occupy SPC’ movement is continuing to gain momentum. The SPC Card, or Student Price Card, is a popular discount card sold to Canadian students across the country.
Demonstrators have now been camped out in front of SPC’s Toronto-area office after a conflagration stemming from a recent advertising campaign. Church groups have rallied together to garner support for this demonstration, and have staged daily ‘cardfires’ where SPC-users are encouraged to exchange their discount card for their choice of a New King James Version or a Revised Standard Version bible. The submitted cards are added to a pyre which is doused in kerosene and set ablaze every day at 6:00 PM.
“It’s an outrage, really. I don’t know why these people can’t have a bit more sense, a bit more respect, when they’re promoting their service,” opined John Sutherland, an area pharmacist and member of the North Toronto First Presbyterian Congregation. “I mean, they can do anything, really. TV, radio, even Twitter. All they need to do is let the kids know about their company, and I don’t understand why they have to do what they did. It’s insulting, really.”
The insult that Sutherland describes is the content of the recent SPC ad campaign, conceived and created by Toronto ad agency Hoffman & Duncan. The ads, in simple block letters on a red background read, “JESUS SAVES”.
Below, in smaller text, is written “. . . money using his SPC card. Do you??”
“I have to say, at first I was quite touched,” stated Theresa Gallick, owner & proprietor of Gallick’s Finery & Baked Wonders. “I was driving home one day and saw [the billboard], and felt proud and grateful for the word of the Lord on the highway amongst all the other boards showing the debauchery and immorality that they do. I was a little confused at first, though, why it asked ‘do you?’ at the bottom.”
Indeed, it was several days later that Gallick realized what the middle of the advertisement read, and that it was not, as she had believed, a kindly demonstration of faith from a local church organization.
“I was furious when I saw that it was an advertisement for that silly discount card. In Exodus 20:7 we’re told not to take the Lord’s name in vain. For Luke’s sake, I can’t imagine a more shameful transgression of the seventh commandment. And at the very least, they might have had the sense to put a capital H in ‘his SPC card’. They didn’t even do that. It’s just disgusting.”
While Gallick has maintained a sense of poise and equanimity despite having closed her business indefinitely while camping outside the SPC office in the February cold for nearly two weeks, some individuals have shown their dissatisfaction more openly. In fact, the very sign that Gallick refers to was burned to the ground two nights ago. The case is currently under investigations and although there are no suspects, fire officials strongly suspect arson as the cause.
If you have any information, please contact Crime Stoppers for a handsome reward of thirty pieces of silver.
SPC has maintained a distance from this controversy, and several of the incendiary advertisements continue to stand, although vandalism has been reported increasingly at ads around the city. The only public statement from SPC came in response to a Greenpeace counter-demonstration against the Christian groups, for their environmentally unfriendly action.
The burning of plastic without a permit is firmly prohibited, and three days ago Greenpeace supporters arrived equipped with fire extinguishers and snubbed the toxic bonfire. An altercation ensued, and three people were taken to hospital.
SPC spokesperson Ron Gleeson roundly condemned the violent action and stated that “whatever is going on out there, we can be sure that anyone wielding clubs at a bonfire in a city street is not going to be saved, and they’re also not going to save at Bluenotes, Booster Juice, or Burger King. Vendors have been instructed not to accept any cards that have been burned, melted, or smell like smoke.”