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Shameless bumper stickers

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–I was driving to my office recently when a Chevrolet pick-up truck changed lanes and pulled in front of me. For the next several miles I was treated to the truck driver’s thoughts concerning certain other car manufacturers which he proudly and prominently displayed in the form of window stickers.

The Chevy owner wanted everyone to know his disdain for products produced by the Ford Motor Company. Thus, he sported a sticker depicting a mischievous looking little boy urinating on the Ford logo.

The truck driver also wanted the world to know that he was less than impressed with Toyota automobiles. Hence, another decal portrayed the same little boy having a bowel movement on the car maker’s name.

The pièce de résistance of the Chevy driver’s thoughts was toward anyone who might take issue with his attitudes, displayed or not. A third sticker had the image of the same little boy defiantly conveying the infamous middle-finger salute over the caption “Fear This.”

Classy stuff, huh?

If it is true that “you are what you eat,” and to some degree it is, then I submit that it is even truer that “you are what you display.” Said another way, you reveal your true self by what you choose to display on your vehicle and/or body.

Car bumper and window stickers, T-shirts and tattoos are nothing less than mobile billboards by which we declare to the world the attitudes we hold near and dear to our hearts.

Christians, atheists, hedonists, environmentalists, homosexuals, feminists — etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseam — all display with great pride values and philosophies they deem important. Some convey their message in a positive fashion. Others, like the truck I recently followed, choose to display their values in ways that are rude and crude. Once upon a time those ways were socially unacceptable.

I am sure that some readers of this column are thinking, “Lighten up. Don’t you know the truck driver was just trying to be funny?” Yes, I do. I also know that we can learn much about someone’s character by what they find humorous. When four-letter words, dirty phrases, sexual innuendo and bodily functions make you snicker or roar with laughter, you reveal volumes about your character and level of maturity.

I was navigating a mall parking lot several months ago when I noticed the window sticker of the car in front of me. It read, “I drink… I fornicate… I forget….” (At least, that’s my sanitized version of what it said.) The vehicle pulled into a parking space. I watched as two young ladies (who looked to be in their late teens or perhaps early twenties) exited the car.

My heart became heavy. If the window sticker accurately reflected the girls’ attitude toward life, it did not require a prophet’s insight in order to predict what pain and sorrow lay ahead for the promiscuous pair.

I will admit to being tired of being treated to crude and vulgar messages via window/bumper stickers, T-shirts, etc. That being said, I am not a big advocate of censorship. I thank God we live in a society that values freedom of speech.

However, the proliferation of crude and crass messages displayed by individuals today is symptomatic of a society that is anything but morally or spiritually healthy.

“Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent,” someone once said. Work that into a bumper sticker or a T-shirt and even I might display it. Honk if you agree!
Kelly Boggs, whose column appears each week in Baptist Press, is editor of the Baptist Message, the newspaper of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

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  • Kelly Boggs