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Faith ‘n Stuff: The Magazine for Kids
Date: September/October 1994
The Cover Promises: The Protestant youth of America, photographed at the last possible moment before the obesity crisis kicked in.
Sometimes prejudiced people do terrible things, like when the Nazis in Germany — convinced that they were the supreme race — killed millions of Jews during the Holocaust.
A well-intentioned kids’ magazine mascotted by a cartoon turtle who is forever quoting Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, Faith ‘n Stuff is every bit as blasé as its name suggests. Each issue was crammed full of faith and, I dunno, some stuff, usually an interview with a Christian baseball player or a 300-word profile of a kid who is writing his own thesaurus (Russ Moore, on page 21).
Here’s that turtle — and the magazine’s idea of cool:
Can you imagine how excited the edit staff behind that shot must have been when PT Cruisers came out?
To their credit, the editors attempted to deal with some of the real-world problems facing good Christian kids in the 1990s, as in this issue’s article on prejudice, January ’94’s “When to Tattle,” or “How to Handle Bullies” from July/August of 1992, the issue that has the single greatest cover of any magazine ever:
(Nowhere in that article does anyone suggest that the reason Faith ‘n Stuff readers get bullied might be the very fact that they’re seen reading Faith ‘n Stuff.)
The September/October ’94 issue takes a hard look at “prejudice.” Here’s what kids are not supposed to be like:
The next page reveals that all God’s children contain surprises:
Here, the lesson is driven home:
The moral: Don’t pre-judge people, except maybe blonde racists from Michigan.
In the piece, Faith ‘n Stuff writer Alyce Mitchem Jenkins lays out the scope of the problem of American prejudice:
“Kids pre-judge other kids because they are tall or short or fat or skinny or wear glasses or have buck teeth. Racial prejudice is like this — like when black kids won’t let white kids play on their teams or white kids won’t invite Asians to their parties.”
Seriously, her first example of racial prejudice is of black kids making life miserable for white kids, who she seems to think desperately need their own Jackie Robinson.
Then Faith ‘n Stuff reminds us why magazines were invented in the first place: to distract us with entirely unscientific quizzes designed to show us how awful we are.
Worth noting here:
Even Faith ‘n Stuff itself sometimes accidentally demonstrated how hard it is not to judge based on a person’s appearance. Remember that issue up above with the amazing cover depicting indentured kids forced into the construction of the Sandwich of Babel?
From that issue, here’s Faith ‘n Stuff‘s idea of a bully:
I’m surprised there isn’t a thought balloon exclaiming, “As soon as those nerds get that olive up there, that giant sandwich will be all mine!”
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