Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Talkin' Jesus

"The media" is oft times like lemmings...someone does a "story" and the rest of the pack jump on. This often makes what was not really a story to begin with seem huge, and it really makes me wonder how easy it is to manipulate reporters.

I was thinking of how Bobby Knight's "slap" of a Texas Tech player was going to be played up as I listened to a sports talk station on my way into work this morning. I watched the "slap"...over...and over...over...on ESPN. I know Bobby Knight is a hothead, but does anyone really think that was abusive? "Hey! Kid! You! The one getting the free ride at college! Can you look at me when I talk to you?"

I thought it looked more like Bobby Knight on thorzine compared to his past antics...but I suppose it's his past that's really the story.

Then I came upon this silly "controversy" involving the wonderful, well-intentioned charity - Toys For Tots. If you missed it, apparently a company that makes talking religious dolls, offered to donate a bunch of "Talkin' Jesus" dolls to the Marine Reserves to give away.

These are dolls that look like what a lot of folks imagine Jesus looked like, which talk when you pull a string. They sell 'em for about 25 bucks a throw.

The company started out in Beverly Hills making expensive Teddy bears...they've also made plush dolls of Shrek, Precious Moments, and a variety of other dolls. They know the doll business...they know the advertising business...

The Marine Reserves refused the offer saying essentially they don't know every kid's religion and they didn't want to offend anyone. Plus, and these are my words, I'm sure it would be more of a hassle than a help to try to get these dolls - which no doubt are a delightful way to teach your child about Christ if you so choose - to the right families. That's a pretty valid argument to me.

I've been involved for a number of years with an all volunteer charitable group in San Antonio that distributes toys to kids every Christmas, and the logistics of simply finding people to deliver the toys is a nightmare. They go to great lengths to find out how old the children are in the house (and that's not always easy) so they can give them "age appropriate" toys. They also try to find out if they are little boys or little girls....no little boy wants to wake up on Christmas and get a Barbie.

Okay, some might but we really don't need to go there do we?

Simply trying to find current addresses for some of these families is hard...I couldn't imagine trying to also determine their religions.

The company makes a variety of talking religious dolls by the way, they didn't offer any talking "Talkin' Moses" dolls or even "Talkin' David" dolls, which would at least have given the Marines a few options.

Just "Talkin' Jesus" - take Him or leave Him.

The Marines politely refused the offer of some 4000 "Talkin' Jesus" dolls.

Anyone doubt the Marines were polite about it?

Didn't think so.

So then how did it become a news story? It's possible, I suppose, that some devout person working for Toys For Tots was offended and called a newspaper.

That's possible...but again, I've worked with like-minded charities and believe me they're awful busy trying to get stuff done that needs to be done. I've never met anyone involved in such a charity who would do ANYTHING to hurt that charity.

Then again...a disgruntled, impolite, Christian Marine could be the source.

On the other hand...we do have this company...this for profit company...that makes "Talkin' Jesus" dolls...

Could they have a motive? I'm just saying...

Their website, which I was going to link to but then decided I didn't want to give them even that, says "their mission" is "to see that 10 million children are effectively taught 50 Bible stories by the end of year 2007."

I want to teach kids about Jesus too, but I'd have a hard time stepping on the Marines to do it.

I counted 240 news stories on this today.

Looking for a gift for your kid this Christmas? How about a G.I. Joe...in Marine uniform...and a Bible.

Tell your children about Jesus...from your heart. They'll listen, and no one will have to pull any strings.