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Catholic Priest Wants Saintly Obama Candle Removed from Gag Gift Shop

A Catholic priest in San Francisco is outraged by a gag gift shop's sale of a prayer candle that mounts President Obama's head on the body of St. Martin de Porres, a Peruvian who became one of the first black saints in the Americas.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday that the Rev. Tony La Torre of St. Philip the Apostle Church has urged a boycott of the Just For Fun card and novelty shop, saying the candle "mocks Jesus" and "depicts our beloved saints in a not so saintly way."

"I am appalled that in such a family-oriented neighborhood, any retailer would be so bigoted and so hateful (as) to carry such merchandise just to 'make a buck,'" La Torre wrote in his parish newsletter.

According to the newpaper, the priest mistakenly claimed that the owners of the store should be more sensitive to anti-religious bias because as Jews they "should know what it feels like to be mocked and ridiculed." Store owners Robert Ramsey and David Eiland are not Jewish.

Ramsey and Eiland told the Chronicle that they've sold more than 700 candles since they went on display during the Christmas shopping season, and their store is a good-natured, "fun stuff" store that includes joke religious-themed gifts like Jesus pencil erasers and "Beware of Nunzilla" wind-up toys among its secular items.

But according to La Torre, the candles in the window display are "the final straw" for a store "that feels the need to mock and ridicule the Catholic/Christian faith," the paper reported.

Click here to read more from the San Francisco Chronicle.