LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- A talking Jesus doll has been turned down by the Marine Reserves' Toys for Tots program.
A Los Angeles company offered to donate 4,000 of the 1-foot-tall dolls, which quote Bible verses, for distribution to needy children this holiday season.
The battery-powered Jesus is one of several dolls manufactured by one2believe, a division of the Valencia-based Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co., based on biblical figures.
But the charity balked because of the dolls' religious nature.
Toys are donated to kids based on financial need and "we don't know anything about their background, their religious affiliations," said Bill Grein, vice president of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in Quantico, Virginia.
As a government entity, Marines "don't profess one religion over another," Grein said Tuesday. "We can't take a chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or a Muslim family."
Michael La Roe, director of business development for both companies, said the charity's decision left him "surprised and disappointed."
And why? Would LaRoe like his children to receive a talking Krishna doll that recited parts of the Bagahvad Gita? I can't believe that this story is even news. It should go without saying.
I stumbled upon a right wing blog yesterday that reported on this story and that writer asserted that "the Marines hate Jesus." Good grief. NO THEY DON'T. I'm sick of right wing Christians acting persecuted when they're not given special favor.
The Talking Jesus doll issue has been resolved. Toys for Tots has found appropriate places for these items. We have notified the donor of our willingness to handle this transaction.