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Pok'emon - A pastor perspective

The popularity of the Pok'emon fad of '98 led to a lot of marketing gimmicks to get American children hooked on the franchise. Two video games, a handful of VHS tapes featuring the first season episodes, toys, and even trading cards. But what became a simple concept of strategy also targeted some concerned parents, and church pastors as well, and I actually had one of those pastors at the church I went to growing up.

It took only a couple of months for my pastor to follow in on the Pok'emon series, its merchandising and how it was affecting kids, and if you ever had one of those churches where a sermon is used for something not church related for an open and appropriate subject to pass the time, then you'll know how mine worked. The game's concept was made as a discussion in his own perspective, giving his own experience of what he knows to everyone sitting in the pews. He yapped on about how it was potentially teaching children about using witchcraft, fighting friends physically for dominance, and using weapons.

Pictured above: dramatization of every kids' reaction to Pok'emon being explained as a demonic branding

And this is where all the kids such as myself took notice of the brainwashing. At the time there were only 151 Pok'emon to count, but none of them carried weapons unless you count Blastoise, that final evolution of Squirtle that was a giant turtle with two water cannons coming out of its back. Aside from that every other Pok'emon either uses their claws or fists for physical attacks, fire types that spout fire from their mouths, water types that shoot water from their mouths, plant types that shoot leaves from sprouts, or psychic types that just use hand movements for psychic powered attacks.

Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of the franchise has autism and spent his childhood catching bugs, thus bringing the Pok'emon idea to life. Unfortunately, many pastors and parents against Pok'emon never knew about this.

As far as every kid knew, Pok'emon was a harmless, creative game of rock-paper-scissors, with one elemental type against another and the only thing it was getting in the way of was our own homework. But as long as the popularity in the series kept going, so did the sermons about how demonic sounding it was to adults. Thankfully when the 2000s rolled around it slowly became less of a subject to talk about and parents became pretty okay with the concept to the point where now pastors were jokingly talking about their own kids being hooked on the hot new Pok'emon game and how it was getting in the way of their school work.

Did you have concerned parents or pastors who were against Pok'emon? Leave a comment and as always, see you next article!
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Benjanime Posted on Mar 27, 2019 at 07:31 PM

funnily enough me and some friends actually got away with trading our cards from under the school cafeteria tables, even during the ban. i guess the staff weren't on patrol as much unless they saw a fight breaking out.

echidna64 Posted on Mar 27, 2019 at 07:13 PM

Not for Satanic reasons, but I remember when schools banned them. This limited our card trading to bus rides. One time a teacher actually confiscated my whole deck and when I asked for them at the end of class, she said that she didn't know where they were. Luckily I spotted them on her desk and got them back but what if I didn't? Would she have kept them permanently?

Mr Magic Posted on Mar 27, 2019 at 12:43 PM

I remember someone on Retrojunk, who was offended by the evolution concept, doing a thread on there.

Benjanime Posted on Mar 27, 2019 at 02:57 AM

when the yu-gi-oh card game got introduced that also became victim labeling it as satanic worship and for some reason comparing them to tarot cards. it saddens me to still see harmless fantasy games being torn to shreds from these witch hunts coming from controversy. What they see is kids learning to fight each other to the death, but what the kids themselves see is a creative way of interacting with each other through friendship. in a way i do agree that any minors playing call of duty can potentially learn about killing because of the imagery they're seeing as they play, but with playing cards all you're doing is strategizing while looking at plain static images on the cards. there's nothing offensive about it.

Vaporman87 Posted on Mar 26, 2019 at 04:38 PM

You experienced the tail-end of what we children of the '80s call "Satanic Panic". A period during which anything and everything was clearly the work of the Devil.

This included rock music, video games, television, toys, and on and on and on. Even He-Man and The Masters of the Universe was not immune to this insanity, as many of us here know (I think most of us have seen the television clip from the early '80s in which two guys are discussing all the ways that MOTU was a tool of ol' Lucifer).

While this type of thing still goes on in churches, it isn't nearly the national uproar it was then.

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