Well, I'm sure that the Martyrs' Brigade of Culturally Aggressive Christianity is already hand-wringing and contemplating the Rapture, now that Toys for Tots has rejected a shipment of talking Jesus dolls made by a manufacturer of Christian-themed merchandise (see link above). The organization explained that the Marines, as a federal entity, cannot promote a particular religious belief system, and cited the fact that the toys might cause offense to children of non-Christian faiths.
I wonder if anyone has stopped to consider that this latest incarnation of what a pastor friend of mine refers to as Kristian Krap might cause offense to Christians as well.
My initial reaction to this story was to imagine what would happen in the more exciteable sectors of the Christian community if Toys For Tots were to be flooded with a large donation of, say, talking Buddha or Krishna or Prophet Mohammed dolls. I suspect we would not be hearing choruses of "Kumbaya."
My subsequent thought was...well..."Were these people thinking at all?" I mean, did the doll donators stop and consider the Lord's instruction to "Do unto others..."? Did it occur to them that their gift would present a conflict of interests, not to mention a public-relations headache, for the Marines? Did they wonder what a child without a Christian context would even make of a talking Jesus doll -- would they maybe mistake him for a karate-master action figure ("Mom, what movie is this guy from?"), or some anonymous indigenous person disattached from a G.I. Joe themed tableau?
I'm thinking...not a lot of thinking going on. Unless, of course, the manufacturers of the doll were craven enough to calculate that their Toys For Tots donation would provoke controversy, which would provoke news articles, which in turn would drum up business. Ends, means, potato, po-tah-to.
I've made this analogy before: To me pop Christianity is like a big, slobbery, humpy Newfoundland that jumps all over people, irritates the hell out of them -- slurps their faces with its big, goofy tongue, showers them with saliva, tries to initiate a close personal relationship with their thighs -- and then when the people, understandably, protest this behavior, the Newfoundland gets angry and bites them in the posterior.
To which I say, Gee, thanks. Thanks for representing, Sparky.