You know, for a country which boasts separation of church and state and condemns Middle Eastern countries for not doing the same, the US is certainly very hypocritical. Per a BBC News article, it appears that Wal-Mart will now be carrying faith-based toys made by manufacturer Made2Believe on its shelves in August. This bugs me for two reasons:
1. Shameless Religious Propaganda
By plastering Biblical images on store shelves, it says, "Hey, let's plaster religious propaganda EVERYWHERE!" Now what stops food McDonald's from having the McHappy Faith Meal? Or the local newscast from saying "God Bless You" instead of "Good Night". Or churches from advertising on highway billboards (oh, right...I forgot...they already DO that in the Bible Belt). It's bad enough you've got the religious nutjobs wanting to have morning prayer in PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Or plastering the Ten Commandments on government property. You can call it freedom of speech all you want, but when you plaster religion on store shelves like that, it's like putting a religious stake in the ground...kind of like writing "Jesus wuz here" on a wall in a classroom. You're basically trying to impose your religious beliefs on others.
2. Making $$$ Off of Faith
Being an atheist having been brought up Catholic, I do seem to recall that the whole idea behind Christianity was charity, forgiveness, and giving. These figurines, however, insult the very basis of Christianity. They essentially turn Christianity into just another money-making enterprise, thereby bastardizing the essence of the religion. Made2Belive, you should be ashamed of yourselves! To claim that you're promoting wholesome toys for kids is just bogus crap. Fess up to the fact that you're taking advantage of the blind-faith of God-fearing intelligent-design-believing Americans and having them dish out some money to fill your pockets.
The BBC article notes that faith-based toys have been available in Christian specialty stores for a while. Although I still think it's an evil money-grubbing tactic, at least the products are confined to these specialty stores. No need to mix religion and mass-marketing. Besides, if we cater to the Chistians, why stop there? Why not action figures of the Jewish, Hindu, or Muslim religious faiths? I'll bet you those faiths would probably cringe at that very thought...