Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Toys for Tots Says No Jesus Dolls Under the Tree This Year

I actually think the Marine Reserves made the right call here and I can't understand why the doll's maker would be surprised by their decision. The manufacturer's director of business development says the dolls were intended as "three-dimensional teaching tools for kids." I suppose that's one way of describing them but in this case they were clearly intended as evangelistic tools in which case it would be inappropriate for a branch of the U.S. military to distribute them.

After you've read the story, check out Steve McCoy's reaction to the doll (about which you can find out more by clicking the picture).

From beliefnet:

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES, Nov 14 - A talking Jesus doll has been turned down by the Marine Reserves' Toys for Tots program.

A Los Angeles company offered to donate 4,000 of the 1 foot-(30 centimeter)-tall dolls, which quote Bible verses, for distribution to needy children this holiday season. The battery-powered Jesus is one of several dolls manufactured by one2believe, a division of the Valencia-based Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co., based on Biblical figures.

But the charity balked because of the dolls' religious nature.

Toys are donated to kids based on financial need and "we don't know anything about their background, their religious affiliations," said Bill Grein, vice president of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in Quantico, Va.

As a government entity, Marines "don't profess one religion over another," Grein said Tuesday. "We can't take a chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or a Muslim family."

Michael La Roe, director of business development for both companies, said the charity's decision left him "surprised and disappointed."

"The idea was for them to be three-dimensional teaching tools for kids," La Roe said. "I believe as a churchgoing person, anyone can benefit from hearing the words of the Bible."

According to the company's Web site, the button-activated, bearded Jesus, dressed in hand-sewn cloth outfits and sandals, recites Scripture such as "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again" and "Love your neighbor as yourself." It has a $20 (euro15.60) retail value.

Grein questioned whether children would welcome a gift designed for religious instruction. "Kids want a gift for the holiday season that is fun," he said.

The program distributed 18 million stuffed animals, games, toy trucks and other gifts to children in 2005.

UPDATE - 11/16/07: Toys for Tots announces: "The Talking Jesus doll issue has been resolved. Toys for Tots has found appropriate places for these items. We have notified the donor of our willingness to handle this transaction."

Related Tags: , , , ,

No comments: