Monday, July 30, 2007

Hallelujah, Wal-Mart is getting religion

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company announced this month that it will test sales of Biblical action figures.

The makers of the action figures, One2believe, said the figures are aimed at Christian parents who prefer their children play with "Samson, Noah or Jesus rather than a comic book character or Bratz doll."

According to The Associated Press, One2believe Chief Executive David Socha said his products were part of a "battle for the toy box" (and a battle for your pocketbook) with dolls and figures that he said carry negative messages.

"If you're very religious, it's a battle for your children's minds and what they're playing with and pretending. There are remakes out there of Satan and evil things," Socha said.

No word on what "evil things" are, as defined by Socha, but it's a safe bet that anything you're spending money on something that isn't made by his company is "evil."

The toy line will be on some Wal-Mart shelves starting next month, mainly in the Midwest and South, but also in California and as far northeast as Pennsylvania, Wal-Mart officials said.

The toys, based on biblical stories, include a 3-inch figure of Daniel in the lion's den, a 12-inch talking Jesus doll and 13-inch Samson action figure, according to the AP report.

No stores in Northwest Arkansas were named for the initial toy Crusades.

Wal-Mart continued its religious theme to the extreme -- about as extreme as you can get -- when the Rev. Al Sharpton and Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott shared the same stage, with both men calling for Congress to revive immigration legislation.

Sharpton and Scott made their immigration/emancipation speeches this month in speeches before the nation' largest Hispanic civil rights organization, the National Council of La Raza's annual conference in Miami.

Congress needs to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill now, said Scott, who attributed his views in part to his Mexican-American granddaughter. Scott said the girl has helped him to understand immigration as more than "simply a cerebral exercise."

Of course, The Associated Press reports that approximately 14 percent of Wal-Mart's customer base is Hispanic. That, more likely than not, helped Scott realize immigration is more of a "monetary exercise," than a "cerebral exercise."

To wit: "I want to say what a lot of people won't say. The immigration debate is not simply about border security, it is a problem of America dealing with race."

Uh, Al. A lot of people aren't saying that because it's not true.

Most sane people have a problem with ILLEGAL immigrants because they haven't taken the steps to become LEGAL Americans that other immigrants have taken. A majority of Americans want some kind of comprehensive immigration plan that at least keeps track of who's coming and going across our borders.

Immigration aside, it's nice to see Wal-Mart has found religion, after a brief dalliance with the (gasp) National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce recently. Maybe the talking Jesus and Moses action figures (along with the complaints of church-goers) told the corporate office to get back to the straight and narrow -- mainly the straight.

I'm trying to put off meeting a talking Jesus for as long as possible.

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