LOS ANGELES – A company that sells Bible-quoting Jesus dolls said it was surprised and disappointed that the Marine Reserves' Toys for Tots program turned down its offer to donate 4,000 of the talking dolls.
"I believe as a churchgoing person, anyone can benefit from hearing the words of the Bible," said Michael La Roe, director of business development for Valencia-based Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. and its one2believe division, which makes the line of Bible character dolls.
Bill Grein, vice president of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in Quantico, Va., said the offer was turned down because Toys for Tots doesn't know anything about the religious affiliations of the children who receive its gifts.
"We can't take a chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or a Muslim family," Grein said Tuesday. "Kids want a gift for the holiday season that is fun."
According to one2believe's Web site, the button-activated, bearded Jesus doll recites Scripture such as "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again" and "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Toys for Tots distributed 18 million stuffed animals, games, toy trucks and other gifts to children based on financial need in 2005.