Friday, December 10, 2010

Salvation Army in Calgary bans 'black magic toys'

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The Salvation Army says that its Calgary branch has opted to ban toys it believes promote black magic, vampires and the occult, after receiving a number of complaints from parents in the area.

The ban extends to "Harry Potter" books, movies and toys, as well as "Twilight" merchandise.
However, it only applies to the Calgary branch.

Andrew Burditt, a national spokesperson for The Salvation Army, said the decision would not affect chapters of the charity outside of the Calgary area.

"The Salvation Army in many respects is a very grassroots organization across the country, so toy drives and toy donation campaigns are really local in nature," he told CTV News Channel.

"Parents over the last number of years came to the Salvation Army in that region and just said, ‘Look, this isn't something that we're comfortable with. The Salvation Army in that area determined that enough parents had come to them that they said, ‘We'll just not include these,'" he said.

"It's certainly not a national policy or an edict from the national office."

An unidentified volunteer at the Calgary branch, who was helping put together toy hampers for less fortunate children, told CTV Calgary that he was given strict instructions not to include toys that promote black magic.
He suggested that it was wrong for the Christian charity to avoid using popular items in its annual Toy Mountain campaign.

"Some of these toys that we were seeing, I mean these are $50, $75, $100 toys. And just because of the nature of the toy, they are not being utilized," said the volunteer, who did not want to be identified.

The volunteer said the ban means that donation bins for older kids remain nearly empty, and suggested that the Salvation Army's Calgary branch publish a list of toys deemed unacceptable before the annual Toy Mountain campaign.

"Their greatest need right now is toys for older kids, that being 12 to 17 years old," he said. "I mean, ‘Twilight,' ‘Harry Potter,' what kids wouldn't want to receive something like that?"

In addition to Harry Potter-related products, other rejected toys include anything related to vampires and witchcraft.

The Calgary branch will find a charity to distribute toys that it will not accept, Burditt said.
With files from CTV Calgary

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