Saw this in the paper while on holiday and found the clipping again in a pile of desk stuff. You can’t beat Christians for coming up with real kitsch. This is a truly awesome specimen though – it surely reaches the dizzy heights of kitschity. The ads on the box are particularly special:
- I talk! Try me! I come to life with just the push of a button (if only it had been that easy)
- Fully poseable! Includes STORY OF JESUS.
This apparently has been such a runaway success in the US that Wal-Mart has started stocking up. So-called ‘faith-enriching toys’ are going on sale, mainly int he Midwest and South. Other models available are Moses, Mary, Peter & Paul. Marvellous.
Well I suppose it’s all marginally better than Bratz.
But what really made me giggle was the closing paragraph of the article, which i will enjoy quoting in full:
Ellen Johnson, the president of American Atheists, told Canada’s National Post: Personally, I don’t think kids are going to go for it. Nobody’s really all that interested in Jesus. Kids aren’t.
Well, there you have it. That settles it. But it does sound like sour grapes to me. After all, the fact that Wal-Mart is stocking the Jesus doll suggests she’s somewhat off-beam there (I mean, they’re not exactly known for ethical, spiritual or social concerns in what they stock – the $ rules there more than anywhere). Ha ha. Ho hum.
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Having spent my High School and College Freshman years in the Mid West, I get quite nostalgic when I see that kind of Christian kitch. But what really unsettles me is the complex and all too close relationship between American protestantism and capitalism. Sam Walton, the founder of the WalMart empire (and thus of the institution which more than any other symbolises the blood and sweat on which global capitalism thrives) was a very committed, church going Presbyterian, who was said to open each board meeting with prayer, and who, through the Walton and the Wal Mart foundations, continues to be one of the great philantropist in modern history. As a devoted evangelical Christian (with a genuine love for the States and the Presbyterian Church) I struggle with the unsettling truth that many of the worst decisions and developments of recent times had their origin not in an atheistic but in a primarily conservative evangelical Christian culture (may I refer to George W. Bush here to make my point?). Truly hope that sites like Quarentia make us Christians seek for the truth within our believes and question those dogmas and traditions of thought which cause rather than prevent exploitation and oppression…
Let’s hope they’re not made by Mattel…
I really support Marions comments.
On a lighter note, maybe the founder of WalMart was raised on a ‘Chrisitian’ board game I came accross a few years ago in the US – Bibleopoly! Is it me, or is there again something here that jarrs a bit – I mean the whole point of monopoly was to bankrupt your opponents and acumulate as much wealth as possible?
The game’s description does not say if you have to give all your money back every 49th turn as some sort of Jubilee rotation, or maybe, more appropriate to dodgy SW US theology maybe a third of the pieces just suddenly get zapped into heaven half way through the game?
Anyway, here’s how one website describes it (which if you are like me, makes you both angry and laugh at the same time)…
“A biblical game of fun and faith!
Specially imported from America, the ‘Bibleopoly’ board game combines the fun of a property trading game with remarkable cities of the Bible. Players start ‘In the Beginning’ and journey through Bible cities, ‘Meditation’, ‘Community Celebration’ and occasionally ‘The Abyss’!
Players earn a ‘Cornerstone’ by helping a fellow player, or doing ‘Community Service’. They then make offerings in order to earn the bricks and steeple required to build a church.
It’s all fun and games until someone lands on ‘Go Meditate’ – and has to ‘meditate’ for 3 turns! In ‘Bibleopoly’ good deeds are rewarded, but look out for the ‘Faith’ cards – you might end up as the new caretaker of Jerusalem…or be swallowed by a great fish!””
Another website noted that:
“Late For the Sky (I won’t even go into the company’s name!) began producing BIBLEOPOLY in 1991. It quickly became one of the most popular Christian games of all time.”
How depressing is that!
But if you are still interested you can go to the following review which will hopefully put you off completely… (http://www.christiangaming.com/Reviews/XBibleopoly.shtml)
… and just in case you thought it could not get any worse, why not try Episcopopoly!
Yes whatever the American Bible belt can do the Anglican church can do as well. Seriously, it is a real ganme that is for sale… (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_2_121/ai_112905839)
I’m just about to go and order it online now, and maybe in a few years, after honing my skills with the board game I can transfer my skills to the board room, and I too can become CEO of a large multinational and excuse my promotion of sweat shop labour, non-unionised workforces and the destruction of the environment by having a prayer meeting with my directors and selling a few kitch Christian products.
Great comment, Ross, and you’ve made me interested to take a look the board game – but not as an object of derision. It seems, from your description, that Bibleopoly introduces the notion of a virtuous circle to the otherwise-selfish-promoting game that is Monopoly. And to my mind the world could do with a lot more of learning about the dynamics of virtuous vs. vicious cycles. There’s what appears to be a good explanation of the distinction between the two circles on wikipedia:
The sad thing is, Christians should not put their faith in symbols, cross-jewelry, poseable toys or even ‘reinventions’ of conventional board games. Speaking as a Christian, I find it sad when this happens – shouldn’t we put our focus on Jesus and His sacrifice, rather that talking dolls? Shouldn’t we instead be receiving Words from Above?