Some would say I’m a bit of a tom-boy, but when it comes to Hello Kitty, I’m all girl. If, somehow, you’ve missed the ubiquitous feline adorning girls and women alike, let me tell you a bit about her; if you came here trying to figure out if she’s actually diabolical, I’ll get to that. Hello Kitty is the star in the line-up of successful characters created by Japan’s Sanrio Company, Ltd. (Sanrio, Inc., is its U.S. subsidiary). Now at the ripe age of 40, she is more popular than ever and is one of the most successful brands in the history of marketing. She is so popular that Sanrio–without advertising–brings in $7 billion a year from her character alone.
Sanrio’s perspective is to spread happiness, love, and friendship. Their success in selling seemingly innumerable products, running popular theme parks, and even having Hello Kitty painted on airplanes (EVA Airways), shows that people desire to connect with those values.2
Update: In early January, 2015, the anti-Western, anti-secular Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram used a 10 year old girl to kill shoppers at a market in Nigeria. The girl was blown up, 16 killed, and 27 injured. The group has killed thousands since 2002, and kidnapped more than 200 girls in April, 2014; the girls were never rescued or freed. June 2015 Update: The practice continues: Boko Haram uses Young Girls as Suicide Bombers in Terror Campaign.
As reported in January (2014), a young girl who was supposed to detonate a suicide vest to kill checkpoint police turned herself in after being beaten by her father for not carrying out the deed. Though the Taliban denied that young Spozhmai was sent on a suicide mission, the Afghan police believed her. Spozhmai was lucky – though beaten, she didn’t get blown to bits.
According to one source, in the first part of 2011, four children aged 8 to 14 were not so fortunate and died along with several victims when their suicide vests detonated. Other children that year had also been deployed as suicide bombers, but were stopped prior to anyone getting hurt. The Taliban, despite its denials, has been training and deploying children suicide bombers since at least 2010.
The Taliban’s use of children as suicide bombers is not only sickening, but it makes a mockery of Mullah Omar’s claim to protect children and civilians. Any political movement or army that manipulates or coerces children into becoming human bombs has lost touch with basic humanity. Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch
Another source, from 2012, gave a more detailed and disturbing account of children suicide bombers used by the Taliban in Afghanistan in the whole of 2011 (this also happens in Pakistan and can be read about here):
A senior Afghan intelligence official estimated that more than 100 had been intercepted in the past 12 months, including 20 from the Kandahar area in the south.
The largely illiterate boys are fed a diet of anti-Western and anti-Afghan government propaganda until they are prepared to kill, he said. But the boys are also assured that they will miraculously survive the devastation they cause.
“The worst part is that these children don’t think that they are killing themselves,” said the official. “They are often given an amulet containing Koranic verses. Mullahs tell them, ‘When this explodes you will survive and God will help you survive the fire. Only the infidels will be killed, you will be saved and your parents will go to paradise’.”
Moving back to the very recent past, just a day or two after Spozhmai told her story to Afghan police, a 14 year old boy stopped a child suicide bomber in his school. The teen, Aitzaz Hasan, tackled a suspicious teen at his school and the other teen’s bomb went off, killing Hasan and himself. Violence has only increased in Afghanistan and the regular populace is sick of it, and sick of their government not doing anything about it. Attacks on schools have increased and school attendance has, not surprisingly, decreased.
No doubt your thoughts are to pray for peace in Afghanistan, and for no more children, in particular, to be prey to the satanic tactics of the Taliban. We should pray about this and for the oppressed people there (and bless you for doing so), but it doesn’t hurt to know how our government (and the Western press) is handling issues like this, and the related issue – in my mind – of ignoring all the Christians being killed and displaced out of the Middle East and other Muslim countries.
It doesn’t hurt to also know what lying hypocrites groups like the Taliban are. The Taliban continue to deny they use children bombers, even though there is a great deal of irrefutable evidence against their denials. The Taliban has codes they claim to go by, and using children in this way defies their own code. It goes against the Quran as well. Yet, they are still very willing to have Muslim children killed for their cause.
The Palestinians have also done this in the past, and today train children to be suicide bombers. Yet, somehow, Israel is to blame for all the ills of the Palestinians and many Western countries are not only boycotting Israel but are increasingly antisemitic. And, our government seals its lips when it could educate, not only about the tactics of Islamists, but the post-WWII history and legitimacy of Israel as a nation and why the UN did not also grant statehood to Palestine at that time or in the years afterwards.
Our country wrings it hands and vacillates regarding Syria. It ignores the persecution and killing of Christians in Egypt. The issues are very many and a future post will outline the extermination and the apparent coming extinction of Christians from Muslim countries. Jews are already missing from the Middle East, except in Israel, and they are increasingly unwelcome elsewhere. It is now happening to Christians, too. And The West stands by, warming up to the idea. It’s now pretty easy to imagine the biblical scenario of God’s two witnesses during the end days (Revelation 11:8-10):
Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city . . . For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.
Maybe the media think the black lady that very brutally and sadistically murdered an innocent 12 year old white kid think she was simply crazy and wasn’t acting out any racial hatred. Well . . . then they should’ve never went through all the trouble they did with the non-racist Zimmerman.
They basically tried to start a race war – I don’t see how else to view it. There are many lies out there about Zimmerman and people just eat it up! Amazing. If you look at my previous reblog, “I am not Trayvon . . . .” you can find a link to Zimmerman’s parents’ page. Zimmerman went way above and beyond in helping a homeless black man against police – what he did was rare. His black neighbors really like him. So WHY the witch hunt, lynching mob, officiated by the Obama white house, even? And, of course, the racism (and homophobism) from Trayvon and his friend were ignored. None of us are safe from the media or government of our own country anymore.
Anyway, I didn’t know about Jonathan Foster; it wasn’t reported on much when he died, and the trial is not being reported on by the general media. We all should have been informed about him. This poor kid deserved to be remembered, and his family deserves our prayers and sympathy. But does the media care? No. They just care about smearing an innocent man and his family to death (Zimmerman’s family also has had many many death threats, can’t live at their home, his sister had to quit her government job [!], etc.). It’s all not just beyond belief, but beyond all reason.
See also (and these are all very recent):
Why is Joshua Chellew less important than Trayvon Martin? A different article on Joshua’s murder said it wasn’t racially motivated, but gang on gang, because Joshua – a completely white/pink guy in his 30s – flashed a rival gang symbol. AND, this came from police investigators. PLEASE, seriously, do you all think we’re THAT stupid? Talk about blaming the victim! We need to change our country (write the Cobb County police?.
In near-fatal East Side beating, three more teens charged This poor guy. I DID read about it when it happened, but there wasn’t all that much news on it. This guy would be dead if not for modern medicine, but even so, he will suffer permanent brain damage (according to one source). At least the police didn’t have the audacity to claim that Ray flashed a gang symbol and therefore kind-of deserved to be attacked . . .
So I’d love to write a Hello Kitty blog myself, but as I need to do more research, I’ll leave you with the above story (click on link). I don’t actually know how accurate the referenced post is since no sources are provided, but I’m going to trust that it has some legitimate information in it. [Please see Anita’s comment below for more information on the sources used and on the controversy itself.]
When starting my research into why I keep getting people to my blog that are searching for Christian dis-ease with Hello Kitty, I DID come across a page that tried to make Hello Kitty into some kind-of underhanded conduit to pagan deity worship. Seriously? When I was a kid, I had dolls and stuffed animals. They could ALL be linked to the same sort of thing if anyone wanted to make an argument for it, and actually believe it. All around the internet there are young anti-theists who see this kind of “reasoning,” and it only gives them more ammunition for blasting away at the intellectual integrity of Christians.
Hello Kitty only gets picked on because the character is popular. If she were a Disney doll (as an example, but go ahead and substitute any brand that is more familiar or less “foreign”), a stuffed animal, that little kids hugged, lugged around, and invited to their tea parties, you wouldn’t be reading about her, coming up with concerns about some kind of demonic worship coming out of Japan.
What bothers me the most is that Christians can be so worried about such nothing things when so many people in the world, and in our own country, are homeless, dying from lack of medical care, being forced to lose everything and live in their cars because they get laid off and no one will hire them . . . and we hear how conservatives and libertarians just live on their ideal that there is this golden world where jobs magically appear for anyone who tries and that everyone can get the health care that they need . . . if only their family would sacrifice all (I guess . . . but that doesn’t seem to work for the sickest with cancer and other intense-care diseases). If anything, money is idolized here, along with those who are “assertive” enough to maintain a line of part-time, minimum wage earners so that stock holders can continually have money funneled into their accounts. How is a material item like a Hello Kitty doll evil? Aren’t people’s hearts evil when they put greed and self above a human that is made in God’s image?
Sorry, it just makes me crazy to think there are so many real people that Christians should be concerned about, but instead these fluffy issues surface. God has said, over and over, how He is concerned for the disadvantaged and that the rich shouldn’t lord over them, cheat, steal, etc., and that the rich will have the hardest time getting into heaven (why is that? I’m not being rhetorical).
As with anything in life, if you or your children are being tempted to sin or idolize something, then get rid of that thing. Otherwise, let a flower be a flower, a doll a doll, an item that makes people happy an item that lifts the heart and provides a smile in a dark and difficult world. All good things are from God.
The average price of a home in Orange County, CA, where we live is over $646,000 (the average for CA as a whole is over $345,000). This simply floors me. You cannot be low income and really live in this county, yet there are poor everywhere. The gap between rich and poor is amazing. There are homeless in the plazas I walk to, along the sidewalks and in McDonald’s (and there are a great many that hang out at the library a bit farther away) and some have died in these places recently. I have more than they do, by far, and we are low income. So what are all the wealthy here doing? Surely many must be millionaires here for the average price of a home to be over half a million dollars.
I just got done looking over a property that we’re trying to buy through a low income housing project. Only one unit is available, and it is farther away from where we work than I’d like . . . but seeing how the prices are only going up now, we should take it if we happen to be chosen to buy it. Who knows how they decide that . . . The average price for a home in the city in which it is in – though it is on the boarder of an even poorer city – is almost $426,000; if you can believe it, the average one year ago was over $100,000 less (hurrah for economic recovery???). I think, honestly, that the price for the low income home we’re trying to get is too high. I think the bank owns the whole property or something, and is asking “market value,” but providing loans that are not normally available. I’ll find out tomorrow.
Anyway, I come to this after reading the short introductory chapters of A Place at the Table: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor (by Chris Seay). Our church is using this book this Lenten season. I don’t know why most nondenominational Christian churches do not emphasize fasting at all. Some will talk about it and encourage people to do it, but this is somewhat rare from my experience. The new church we’re going to is affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church denomination. It’s not Catholic-related by any means (they emphasize Christ’s church in the world, and de-emphasize themselves, more than any church I’ve attended), but they observe Lent. Christ fasted for 40 days before His public ministry began, and He said that His followers would fast after he ascended, so I don’t know why we don’t emphasize it more. Anyway, reading this book and considering its messages, is humbling.
It says in here that there are 2.2 billion children in the world – and guess how many live in poverty? – almost half, 1 billion. Also, stunningly, a child dies every 15 seconds for lack of clean water to drink. Drink clean water and thank God for all He gives us. The book, and our church, suggest eating simply for Lent and giving the difference of what we would normally spend on our food to the poor. I hadn’t thought about it much yet, but I’ll see what we come up with.
The “Dragonborn” addition to the Skyrim video game, which came out earlier this month (December 2012) for XBOX, has – I think – the most “Christian” oriented content overall (in Skyrim, not the other Elder Scroll games). I wish I had written down certain dialog as I played it with my high-level character, but I simply wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary to takes notes on! (If I start a new game, it will be some time before I can get to those dialogs again – for now, this commentary without quotes will have to do.)
This latest DLC adds additional land mass via a large island known in the Elder Scroll series as Solstheim. (Update of Dec. 24: it appears to be playable from the beginning of a new game, as I went to Soltstheim at level 6, after I fought my first dragon and made my way to Windhelm). It is no doubt loved by Elder Scroll fans since it brings in elements from Morrowind (the home of the Dunmer, or Dark Elves), and indeed, the flavor of the place is quite a bit different from Skyrim (the home of the Nords). There are various quests to be found and accomplished, but the main quest involves the defeat of the first dragonborn, Miraak, who still exists after ages because of his service to Hermeus Mora, the powerful spirit being of knowledge and fate. Miraak desired power and thus made a “pact with the devil” – a safe allusion to Mora and his top minion. The DLC takes place when Miraak has used his powers to enslave the sleeping minds and bodies of the denizens of Solstheim, whom he is using to build a temple to himself. Miraak has only a small amount of dialog, but that small amount sounds an awful lot like satanic desires and promises. In addition, he has his hypnotized followers say things that are a copy, and thus a sick mockery, of true spiritual expression.
What’s interesting, from a Christian-in-the-current-world point of view, is that Hermeus Mora’s realm is called Apocrypha. (“Apocrypha” are extra-biblical writings of various qualities some are legitimate but have some textual or factual issues, while others are outright forgeries with false “witness”). It is dark and hazy and is made up of books (literally – the walls are made of books), and all underneath and around walkable areas is a very black sea. This “sea” has black slithery arms coming out of it all of the time, and they will whip you and hurt you if they can. The most dangerous creatures that stalk the place look very much akin to the old “creature from the black lagoon.” The other dangerous creatures are “seekers,” whose hideous appearance includes a lamprey-like mouth where their stomach is. These seekers of “knowledge” are never satisfied, but devour what their gut desires and not what their heart and mind discerns as true. This is my take on them, anyway, which I see as the problem with seeking and using secret – usually false – knowledge, and which is the point of this dark and eery place.
When it comes to Christianity, God chose to communicate with man and it was His desire to be known and understood. Those who purport to have “secret” knowledge of Him in order to steer someone away from God’s revelation, are not working within God’s desires for mankind.
On the other side of the coin are the Skaal of Solstheim. They are Nords of the ancient way and claim to have been given Solstheim by the All-Maker. They believe in one creator God, and the way they talk about creation and how we are to be in it, generally fits in with the Judeo-Christian biblical message. You can have an interesting conversation with Wulf Wild-Blood of the Skaal, who asks you if you can find his run-away brother whom he believes turned into a werebear (like a werewolf, only a bear). His brother could go down that path only be rejecting the call of the All-Maker. While the Skaal have beliefs that mesh with scriptures, they have others that do not – they believe in reincarnation. Conversations with fellow Skyrim players about how reincarnation doesn’t at all mesh with a loving creator God, and how it is wholly incompatible with Christ’s message and work, is a possible real-world benefit of playing this game.*
If, as a Christian, you will only play games that have pure Christian messages and signs, then Skyrim and Dragonborn aren’t for you. But if you want to play a game that actually gives a nod to God and certain Judeo-Christian beliefs and virtues in today’s world, then Skyrim is an OK game for that. I wrote about Skyrim earlier, here. That review by no means covers all the aspects of Skyrim. There are things about the game I don’t like and scratch my head at, wondering about the game maker (Bethesda) every time I think of them (there are aspects of the game you can only play if you decide to do bad and dishonorable things).
Hopefully I’ll be able to flush this review out in the future, with quotes and such. In the meantime, enjoy the Dragonborn and listen to the new leader of the Skaal: do not follow Hermeus Mora, but follow the path laid out for you (and to the Skaal, this would be by the All-Maker).
* These last two sentences were edited in after the initial posting of this review (12-20-12).
Yes, so glad to see some perspective on this and past violence by those with mental challenges. US – please lets wake up and get these people some care BEFORE they kill people and end up in prison. It’s SO absurd that families and communities are having to deal with this alone, and even sacrifice their very lives.
I wish I could write more about Jackie Angeles and her family, but information is pretty minimal. Two very short articles about her are provided below, but basically, this 11 year old girl has been through a great deal for her young age, especially for someone living in the U.S. She had lost her mother quite some time ago, but then she got bone cancer and much of one leg was amputated. Because of this, she missed a great deal of schooling. Then just recently, her dad died in his sleep – while waiting for a kidney transplant.
Jackie didn’t stay at home with relatives after her father’s death, but went right back to school. She’s an inspiration to those around her. She has a brother but he is hardly mentioned, so I don’t know how he is handling all of this (he may be an adult). Please pray for Jackie and her brother, and if you feel led to donate any money to a fund for Jackie, the location of the fund is: Orange County’s Credit Union, PO Box 11777, Santa Ana, CA 92711, Account #92603984, Routing #322281989. Write the check to Jacqueline Angeles.
When something like this happens, it makes me wonder if the people had lived in an area where something existed that caused all these cancers and bodily failures. It seems like more than coincidence that cancers (I do not know why Jackie’s father needed a new kidney) like this should effect so many people in the same family. In any case, I pray that the Lord draw Jackie to Himself, keep her, and that He bless her desire to become a doctor.