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The Excommunication of the Hamburger Galatians 5:1, 13-25

The Excommunication of the Hamburger

Italy's debate over fast food has been fueled by a Catholic cleric's recent condemnation of hamburgers and French fries. Maybe the time has come to move away from cheap and easy fast-food vices and toward the truly nutritious fruit of the Holy Spirit.

You could spend a month of Sundays thinking of unusual items that people collect, and it's unlikely you'd think of hamburgers. Yet Harry Sperl, founder of the International Hamburger Hall of Fame in Daytona, Florida, does precisely that.

Sperl, known as Hamburger Harry, is a German immigrant from Wetterburg, not Hamburg; he's collected more than 1,000 hamburger-related items including banks, biscuit jars, clocks, hats, trays, erasers, badges, magnets, music boxes, a pencil holder, salt and pepper shakers and, of course, the waterbed, which is complete with a sesame seed-covered spread and matching pillows.

Why? His official explanation for collecting burgers is that they are an icon of the United States and he loves Americana.

Hamburgers may be an American icon, but in Italy, a Catholic priest in Tuscany is suggesting that the road to hell is paved with hamburger. Adding grease to the fire, he argues that hamburgers, French fries and Coke are "the fruit of a Protestant culture."

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