Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Return Policy

It’s Christmas time and in keeping with the spirit of the season, many people will make donations to worthy charities. Among those is the Marine Reserves’ Toys for Tots program, which provides toys for needy children.

Normally, Toys for Tots is eager to accept new toys that will brighten a poor child’s Christmas, but recently, the organization turned down a company’s generous offer to donate 4,000 toys because of the religious nature of the playthings. What were the toys?

A. Battery-powered Jesus dolls that recite Bible passages.
B. “Left Behind” board games that teach children if they aren’t Christians, they end up in Hell.
C. “The Fashion of Christ” coloring books complete with non-staining felt pens that encourage children to dress modestly and be chaste.
D. Virgin Mary dolls that weep, sigh and glow in the dark.
E. A stuffed lamb plush toy that when squeezed plays “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”

A: The foot-tall, button-activated, bearded Jesus doll is dressed in hand-sewn cloth outfits and sandals and quotes Bible verses. It is manufactured by one2believe, a division of the Valencia-based Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co.

Marine Toys for Tots explained that as a government entity, Marines “don’t profess one religion over another,” said Bill Grein, vice president of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in Quantico, Va. And in addition, the group has no idea what the religious affiliation of the children who receive the toys is. “We can’t take a chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or a Muslim family.”

According to Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co.’s Web site, the Jesus doll 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 retail value. Michael La Roe, director of business development for the company, lamented 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."


Post a Comment

<< Home