Should Toy Donation Programs Censor Toys?

When I was growing up, toy guns were strictly forbidden in our house and we were not even supposed to play with them elsewhere.  While I didn’t like that policy as a kid, now that I am a parent myself, I have the same rule in place for my children.  I don’t think guns are an appropriate toy for kids to play with and I don’t think I’m alone.  So what sort of donated toys do you suppose the Salvation Army destroys rather than see end up in the hands of children?

Naturally, it’s not toy guns.  In fact, the Salvation Army, at least in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, doesn’t have a problem with them.  Instead, it’s Twilight and Harry Potter toys that are on the naughty list, and not just because they are based on mediocre, at best, books, either.  The real reason the toys are banned is because the characters in the stories are vampires and wizards.  “The Salvation Army is based on Christian principles, so these things are not in line with those,” said Captain Pam Goodyear of the Salvation Army.

“I was told to withhold a six-inch Harry Potter figure,” said a volunteer who was sorting through donated items, “but when I picked up a plastic M-16, I was told, ‘That’s for the 10-year-olds.'”  Captain Goodyear says that the Twilight and Harry Potter toys are given to other agencies to distribute, but the volunteer, who wants to remain anonymous, said “I asked if these toys went to another charitable organizations but was told no, that by passing these toys on to another agency for distribution would be supporting these toys.”

Added to the group’s problems stemming from their anti-LGBT policies, this would seem to make the Salvation Army a poor choice for donations these days.  It seems a shame, as the organization has done a lot of good work in the past.  Personally, however, I can’t support a group that thinks guns are acceptable toys but that a Harry Potter doll is a danger to society.

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