Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Toy Story

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.


Secret Rapture said...

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LutheranChik said...

And, then again, some people are just nucking futs.

Rev Scott said...

Not to quibble, because I absolutely agree with your post, but has anyone considered that Toys for Tots revolves around the secularization of a Christian holiday? That's a whole other problem, imho.

LutheranChik said...

Scott, I have a theologically conservative online acquaintance who approaches that topic this way: Christmas -- even a secularized, clueless Christmas -- is Christianity's gift to the rest of the world. The joys of Christmas that non-believers also experience -- gifts of family and friends and unselfish giving and helping strangers and the less fortunate, the idea of new life coming out of the "death" of the cold, dark winter (at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), the possibility of the impossible...these are reflections of the truth of Christmas as we Christians understand it. ain't all bad.

I've gone through the same thought process as a regular contributor to community "Angel Tree" programs and the like. And I've come to the conclusion that even something as seemingly superficial and consumerist as giving a poor kid a present s/he wants, that s/he'd not have otherwise, is a way to be Christ's hands and heart in the world.

David said...

News Update: Toys for Tots has reversed its decision and will accept the Jesus dolls. [story Link]

David said...

In the beginning of my blog post A Talking Jesus Doll? Give Me A Break!, I write, "The carnal part of me wants to slap whoever dreamed up the idea of creating such a doll."

Anonymous said...

i love the Newfoundland analogy. I also added a link to you on my blog.


LutherPunk said...

Wow, that link was fun!

I've never thought of Jesus as a spaceman, though I have questioned if he was really a zombie (he wasn't).

Anonymous said...

LC, you rock, es verdad...muy bueno.

LP...I have an agnostic friend this Easter who wished me a "Happy Zombie Jezus Day"

LutheranChik said...

Sounds like some of my friends...hey, guess what; they sell Zombie Mary, Zombie Moses, etc., too.

Eileen said...

I'm not sure which is scarier - the hip for Jesus doll or that first poster.

Both seem...of another, um, world.

SingingOwl said...

Ahahahahaha....good post, but the Nowfoundland analogy has me cracking up.

It works though, doesn't it?