Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Offensive Bumper.

*Disclaimer: I try to keep my political/religious/fact that I think all khaki pants should be burned views to myself. But occasionally there arises an issue upon which I simply cannot keep quiet. (If you know me in real life, you know that I censor myself on the blog tremendously, I typically am the first to open my mouth, and have never shied away from debate. But, I try to keep the blog more of a fun, lighthearted endeavor - instead of a soap box for my personal views.)*

So I'm driving to work this morning (and yes, the traffic was horrible, thankssomuchforasking), and I happen to veer into a lane directly behind a car that had this bumper sticker on its back bumper:

{Let's just take a moment to remember that I did spend a large part of my career thus far in the retail side of the auto industry. Therefore, the sight of any bumper sticker makes me cringe, just for purely aesthetic reasons. But I digress.}

The big reason this bumper sticker makes me cringe? The blatant, blanket stereotype represented on a 4"x4" piece of adhesive paper.

There are several things you should know right now:

  • I am a card-carrying true Southern Baptist girl
  • I reside in Texas
  • I fully support the NRA (sorry, just threw that one in to stir up trouble :)
Several more things you should know about me:
  • I fully support the gay community, and one's right to choose who they love
  • I do NOT support Perez Hilton (please don't confuse the above statement)
  • I think women should have the right to choose - particularly in extenuating circumstances
And I would openly share all of this information with the gentleman who found it so necessary to share his clearly skewed views on his bumper for all the world to see. Because although I would consider myself fairly conservative, I do see the other side of many issues. But in addition to sharing my personal views, I'd like to share with him the following:

YES, churches do not pay taxes.
NEITHER does the Red Cross.
YES, christian camps do not pay taxes.
NEITHER does the Boys & Girls Club.
YES, many churches, especially here in the Bible Belt have endowments in the millions of $$$.
SO do many others, including the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, endowment of $38 billion.
YES, most churches have some type of political voice. (I should know, my pastor was the president of the Southern Baptist convention for several years).
SO does every other non-profit organization, from FEMA, Amnesty International (if conducting research and generating action about human rights issues isn't typically political, I don't know what is), to PETA (HELLO - does anyone think throwing paint on someone's personal property is ok just because you don't agree with it?)

So, Mr. I-Feel-The-Need-To-Spout-Off-My-Opinions-Without-Doing-My-Research, next time you want to slap another unsightly and untrue bumper sticker on your car, maybe think with your head instead of your.... :)

Thoughts? Opinions? This is a rare occasion that you will hear me speak on such a weighty topic, so if you have something to say, speak now or forever hold your peace!

Someone made the comment that FEMA is a government agency not a non-profit, I apologize for the error, and have replaced it in my argument with a true non-profit agency, Amnesty International.

Please also note that I am not trying to say that one non-profit is better, or more helpful to the general population, but just that all non-profits exist (in theory) to better mankind. Whether they have a religious view or not.

For example, many churches have after school programs and summer programs for children in underprivileged areas. So do many non-profit organizations. It is up to each family to participate in whatever organization they choose, and just like we have the choice of where to shop for groceries or where to send our children to school, it is up to each person or family to choose what works best for them. If you have a problem with a religious message, then choose the secular non-profit for the assistance you need. If you are religious, and feel as though you would be more comfortable in that environment, then choose that path.

For the record, Red Cross Workers, FEMA workers, and deacons/volunteers from religious groups all across the nation have responded to every national disaster across the nation. Not one is better than the other, but saying that religious groups do not have a right to take a political stand, while supporting the rights of other secular non-profits and government agencies to take the same stands is definitely discrimination.

EDITED ONCE AGAIN TO ADD: Just in case you were wondering, Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization, and one of their primary donors happens to be the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (Refer to the comments if you are wondering why I bring this up.) Abortion is a major political and religious issue, and I believe that if I did not before, then I have now made my point.

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Anonymous said...

I agree with the bumper sticker. Religious groups should have no political voice. Their members who share their views can have a political voice, but religious groups who benefit from a tax free status should not. PAC's and lobby groups pay taxes and they are doing exactly what many churches are doing.
You bring up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, do you even know anything about this foundation? It has no real political aspirations, it is truly a charitable foundation that is mainly funded through private donations from one couple. It does also not violate the issue of separation of church and state. Many conservative Christian organizations such as the Southern Baptist Convention wish to be active and influence politics. Does the Red Cross do that? The Boys and Girls Club?
I have no issues with churches influencing the minds and hearts of the members, but I do have a problem with them trying to influence political policy.
I don't think you made your point.

Natalie said...

Will you marry me??!?!

I'm just kidding ... but seriously, we would be best friends in real life .. we would.

And I've always wanted to come to Texas.

d.a.r. said...

What ticks me off about stuff like this is that people feel it's totally okay to make blanket judgments degrading religious groups, but if a religious group were to say the same thing, there would be hell to pay and it would be accused of being narrowminded, racist, backwards, ignorant, etc. etc.

I hate that there is such a double standard.

Lindsey said...

Well said! That bumper sticker bugs me too!

Cee said...

Uggg...I hate bumper stickers like that. Personally the really mean spirited prolife ones really get to me. I mean you don't know who is going to drive by you at any given moment...seeing something like that could really upset someone and then...cause a car accident...haha. OK that might be a little dramatic and I know we all have freedom of speech...but please people think about what you are putting on your car for the world to see!

(that's my little spin off rant)

jen + ryan said...

you go girl.

Jordan said...

Love, love, love it!!

Lovin a Farm Boy said...

I haven't heard you get so heated since we saw that chick wearing flannel! hehe just kidding I'm totally with you it's ridiculous

Miss K said...

Amen sister!

Anonymous said...

Still disagree with you completely, and agree with the bumper sticker. Bill and Melinda Gates are two wealthy people who formed a organization to do good (and get a little tax shelter), they can give their money to whomever they want. True, Planned Parenthood is controversial, but they do much more as a group than abortions. They offer a lot of services that are very important to women who couldn't afford them otherwise. I don't think this example made your point. Giving to a organization that provides a service that is surrounded by political controversy does not equate to trying to directly influence politics the way religious organizations are doing.

I think a church has no business in the political arena. As I said before they can influence the hearts and minds of their congregation but shouldn't go beyond that.

Still don;t think your point is valid.