Anyone who has watched children play knows the spectacularly
creative and subversive ways in which they can use playthings, even
"safe" religious ones. The Mennonite kid uses the sweet, puffy figures
of the crèche set to stage a bone-crushing, manger-side brawl. The
Muslim girl undresses her modestly clothed Fulla doll—marketed as an
anti-Barbie and the "moral Muslim choice" for young girls—and lays her
on top of a naked boyfriend doll. Many parents have intervened in the
make-believe rumble or lovemaking, or wondered whether they should, or
at least found it imperative to call the child for dinner.
That's the problem with religious toys, say the authors of Toying with God, a study of religious toys, games and dolls and their connections to commerce, culture, gender, play and ritual.