An article caught my eye on the MSN homepage yesterday and I wonder what others are thinking about this. It seems a company that manufactures dolls has offered to donate 4,000 talking Bible action figures including Jesus dolls to the Toy’s for Tots program. Toy’s for Tots collects and distributes toys as holiday gifts to children who would otherwise not have any. The Jesus dolls are battery powered and recite such verses, as “unless a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” and “love you enemies”. The spokesperson for Toy’s for Tots said they would have to “regretfully decline” the offer fearing that the toys may wind up in Muslim or Jewish homes and cause offense. He went on to say, “ Kids want toys that are fun and religious toys are not.”
At first I was wondering why anyone would make plastic Jesus dolls to begin with. To me the whole idea is kind of yucky and weird. After I thought about it I could see the educational value of religious action figures. In an educational setting children acting out the stories of Bible would be beneficial to learning the stories. As toys though, what boy would want an action figure that says, “love your enemy” instead of one that says, “Annihilate your enemy with your full laser proton action blaster”. Who can compare an action figure that slays Philistines with an ass’s jawbone to one that has a tank that really shoots? This brought back memories of my childhood and sitting in cars that had a glow in the dark plastic Jesus on the dash. I remember thinking how tacky that was. In spite of the tackiness did it somehow remind those people of their identity in Christ and help them through tough times? Am I being to judgmental when I say it’s weird and yucky?
So anyway I am really interested to hear where everyone stands on this. Should Toy’s for Tots have accepted and distributed those dolls? Is it offensive to give Jesus dolls for Christmas? Should I get one of those plastic glows in the dark dash mounted Jesus figures to remind me of who I am and where I am going? The Coalition to save Christmas and Christianity has said “this is just more proof there is a war against Christianity and Christmas in this country” Is there? Do we really need a coalition to save Christianity? What do you think?
3 thoughts on “Jesus for Christmas?”
Firstly, I must admit the present dilemma is troubling. Yes, I want the words of Christ to be spread. But how big of a role does the format play? I can’t imagine myself playing with an action figure Jesus unless he came with a whip or “Christ-karate-chop action.”
Does the toy belittle the magnificence of the God whom the Hebrew’s feared to call by name? I guess that is a distinct possibility, but ultimately the answer does not lie with me.
By no means should we react negatively to Toy for Tots. Their analysis seems prudent to me. Imagine the backlash if a Muslim were to receive a toy Christ. If innocent Christians are slain by radicals hands over cartoons and the Pope’s comments, then an infraction like this would likely stir up that same bully of a religion.
Does Christianity need to be protected by a coalition? Christianity is certainly under attack, but, unfortunately, history shows that it is the well-intentioned hands of Christians that often do Christ’s message and purpose the most harm. Just because a few fundamentalist church wives form a 5031C doesn’t mean God can suddenly start working in the world.
I agree with the decisions being made by organizations like Toys for Tots and Christmas Child. Our job is to be charitable and to preach the gospel. Putting Jesus figures in a box and giving it to people is like trying to kill two birds with one stone, and I don’t think God works under the efficiency doctrine. If someone gave me a Christmas gift with a Muhammed action figure, I wouldn’t know anything more than I already did about Islam. I wouldn’t be offended, but I would be confused. My point in this long tangent is that a Jesus doll without a message doesn’t do much but cause confusion and angry parents.
My other point is that to kids toys are toys. Jesus would be hanging out with G.I. Joe or the Ninja Turtles in a little boys household. And yes, I will admit, in my house…Jesus would have been Barbie’s boyfriend. In some moment of religious recognition, I might have sat him on top of Barbie’s house to make sure she stayed righteous, but I’m probably giving myself too much credit there. 😀
I don’t understand why kids in “Muslim or Jewish homes” would be given Christmas presents. Unless Toys for Tots distributes gifts for Hanukkah and whatever Islamic holy day coincides with the Christian Holy day.
If this is the case, then Toys for Tots always needs to make sure toys given to Jewish and Muslim kids are not socially or religiously offensive. And if that is the case they could have also made sure the Jesus dolls went only to non Jewish and non muslim kids. (Is it acceptable to give a dark-skinned Muslim child a white american doll?) It is acceptable to give a Jewish child a “Miss Piggy” doll? Must the Ken doll be circumcised? And if he’s not anatomically correct is this an abomination? The questions abound!