Louisa M.R. Stead, the missionary who in 1882 wrote the hymn, “‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus,” surely had no idea.

Apparently feeling that the Easter Bunny shouldn’t get all the good publicity at Easter, a number of confectioners have developed alternatives to secular Easter candy to satisfy both the sweet tooth and the soul.

The folks at BeliefNet.com sampled and judged a few on both taste and theological import.

Faith Jelly Beans, rainbow-colored candy treats carry religious messages. Colors remind of God’s creation, purity, shed-blood and of the darkness of sin. They are on sale at Christian Dollar Store online for 29 cents.

Panelists found them delicious and chewy, but wondered if children needed to be reminded of their sinfulness and mortality while eating candy.

Chocolate lovers can choose between a 3.75-ounce milk chocolate cross for $10.99 from Gertrude Hawks Chocolate and Sherm Edwards Candies‘ 14-ounce Last Supper chocolate bar, which costs $15.95. Fans of Da Vinci Code raved about exquisite detail in the Last Supper bar but found the flavor “artificial” and “waxy.” The Gertrude Hawks cross was “chocolatey” and “sweet,” but raised moral concerns about why anyone would want to bite into a cross.

Finally there are cross-shaped lollipops on a six-inch plastic stick from Oriental Trading Company. Fat-free and in assorted fruit flavors, they are $4.95 a dozen.

The BeliefNet panelists “enjoyed these sweet, flavorful lollipops, reminiscent of those we got in the pediatrician’s office. A tester praised the clear variety for providing a ‘pure sugar rush.’ But the same concerns arose–should one suck on a religious symbol?”

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