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Toymaker Mattel recently made history with its release of a Barbie doll with Down Syndrome. "This Barbie serves as a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of representation," said Kandi Pickard, president and CEO of National Down Syndrome Society.
The new Barbie will join models that use hearing aids, have prosthetic limbs, with a variety of complexions and body styles (tall, petite, and curvy). Those of us who remember the first roll-out of Barbie in 1959 remember its impossibly ideal proportions. A woman with her proportions would stand 5'9" and measure 36-18-33. A bathroom scale that came with the first model was permanently set at 110 pounds.
While Mattel's move does indeed promote diversity, its motives are less altruistic than mercenary. It wants to sell more dolls. The same has to be said for every business and corporation jumping on the diversity bandwagon. They know that they have to compete for market share in a society that is radically diverse in age, gender, race, sexual orientation, education, and economics.
Sadly, the Adventist Church is one of the last organizations to admit that diversity is something to be embraced, not repressed. Most of the church's administrative levels refuse to accept or affirm members of the queer community. Fortunately, members of local Adventist congregations are leading the way in providing welcoming spaces for LBGTQA+ members and their families.
Take a moment to thank those in your local Adventist congregation who make you feel welcome. They are doing the Lord's work. As Jesus said, "Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me" (Matt. 10:40).
— Stephen Chavez, Director of Church Relations
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