So I’m sitting at the traffic light in my Ford Econoline 12-passenger van, with my four children in the back, plus several extras who needed a ride to choir, and we’re all singing along to “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road” on the CD player, which I mention merely to establish, definitively, both our environmentalist and our tasteful-people creds.
I will venture to guess — though maybe I’m wrong, and of course we should not jump to conclusions — that the person in the Prius idling in the lane next to me is not listening to this song. Actually, though, I’m not thinking so much about what’s on his radio as about what’s on his bumper. There’s not that much room for bumper stickers on a Prius; there’s not much room for much of anything on or in a Prius, but he’s made room for this:
The What Would Jesus Drive? bumper sticker represents a moral-obligation ministry of The Evangelical Environmental Network. If you want one, you first donate a minimum of five dollars to EEN, and then you must — you absolutely must — fill out the accompanying pledge, whereby, confessing Jesus Christ to be your Savior and Lord, including Lord of all your transportation choices, you promise the following:
* I will organize my life so that it is easier and more desirable to walk, bike, car pool, and use public transportation.
* If I need to purchase a vehicle, I will choose the most fuel efficient and least polluting vehicle available that truly fits my needs.
* I will discuss with others the moral concerns and solutions associated with transportation.
* I will encourage automobile manufacturers to produce the most fuel-efficient and least polluting vehicles possible that truly fit the needs of the American people.
* I will urge government leaders to support public transportation, a significant increase in fuel economy standards, and research and development for promising new transportation technologies that reduce pollution and increase fuel efficiency.
Now, this is all very well and good. And in fact, I could make this pledge in — well, let’s just see in what kind of conscience I could swear to all these things.
1. I don’t drive that much. Where I live, there aren’t that many places to go. In fact, I am getting a running start at being one of those little old ladies who drive only to church and the grocery store. Next?
2. I did in fact purchase the most fuel-efficient and least-polluting vehicle available for sale from a personal friend for the amount of money I had to spend at the time. And it meets my needs, which consist largely in transporting multitudes of underage people from Point A to Point Q — we can walk to Points B through P, you understand. Although we have only four children, most of our friends have a minimum of six, which means that when somebody needs a ride to debate club, odds are he has three or four more siblings all needing to go the same place. And if I take them, their mother will bring my children home. Two vans vs. the fleet of Priuses you’d need to transport that many kids. Hm. See “carpool,” above.
3. As for “discussing with others the moral concerns and and solutions associated with transportation:” what do you think I’m doing right now?
4. Oh, and. Mr. Automaker? When the President is done swearing you in, will you please make some vans this big that use less gas and don’t pollute? Thank you. Because, you know, some of us believe that our faith impels us to welcome these children, our own and other people’s, and when was the last time you tried to transport five seven-year-olds to the Bi-Lo on a bicycle?
5. I promise I’ll ask the town selectmen about light rail. Maybe a line from the courthouse to Roy and Wayne’s Carp Juice? Roy and Wayne could probably use some economic stimulus, in the form of actual customers delivered to their doorstep.
Meanwhile, there is this not-un-obnoxious question which the bumper sticker asks. The idea, I believe, is that we’re all supposed to understand that it’s a purely rhetorical question, but of course it’s not. What would Jesus drive? Well, let’s see. There’s one of Him, plus twelve disciples, plus a paralytic, a woman caught in adultery, and a couple of temporarily-dead people who can’t possibly be expected to catch the bus.
And then there’s the testimony of Amos Starkadder, who wanted to go about the land like the apostles of old, and he wanted to do it in one of they Ford vans.