Need Salvation? Ask Me How!

Baton Rouge’s combination of cars and Bible-beaters makes for a wide variety of religious bumper stickers. I can’t seem to go anywhere in this city without being stuck behind a ’77 El Camino featuring “Jesus Saves” plastered across its tailgate. As the years have passed, I’ve managed to amass a large list of messages from the faithful, the faithless, and the pissed off.

•    Â“God Is My Co-Pilot”: This bumper sticker is a Baton Rouge favorite! And as New Orleans comic Thom “Evil Jesus” Britton has pointed out, itÂ’s odd that a driver would make an omniscient and omnipotent Being ride shotgun. However, recently, IÂ’ve seen a few of those very same bumper stickers with the “Co” part crossed outÂ… Apparently, this divide will cause the next great schism in the church: those who accept God as their pilot versus those who settle for God as their co-pilot! And what massive schism is without numerous, smaller theological splits? Be wary of the “God Is My Hood Ornament” sect. “God Is My Annoying Backseat Driver”: “But I canÂ’t take a right on red at this light, Lord. I understand youÂ’re all-knowing and everything, but thatÂ’s what the sign says.” My neighbor used to have a great one: “God Was My Co-Pilot, But We Crashed in the Mountains and I Had to Eat Him.”

•    Â“In Case of Rapture, This Car Will Be Unmanned”: While not as prevalent as they used to be, these End Times bumper stickers can still be found around town near the fundamentalist churches and Wal-Mart Super Centers. For reasons unbeknownst to me, people with these stickers always seem to be the most horrendous drivers. Many times, IÂ’ve wished for God to rapture them away (and therefore out of my way). As a matter of fact, if all those “born again” and “saved” suddenly disappeared, it would definitely go a long way towards fixing Baton Rouge surface road congestion. A rare rapture counter-sticker: “In Case of Rapture, Can I Have Your Car?”

And who hasnÂ’t seen the copyright-violating Calvin decal, which shows him kneeling down before the cross (or Ford logo)? Funny, IÂ’ve read all the Calvin and Hobbes books, but I canÂ’t seem to find that image. However, I did find the strip where Calvin whizzes on a Chevrolet logo. (Hobbes helped him shake once or twice.) Rumor has it that in larger cities there exists a wider array of comic strip religiosity. Be on the look out for Garfield on an Islamic lasagna pan prayer rug, praying towards Mecca. Reportedly, Charlie Brown and Snoopy decals feature the comic strip pals riding bicycles and distributing the Book of Mormon. Few Baton Rouge Christian conservatives would be surprised to find liberal Doonesbury characters worshiping the DevilÂ…

•    Â“DonÂ’t Drive Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly”: This bumper sticker scares me in a number of ways. First, some people actually believe in guardian angels. Second, God would put governors on guardian angels to limit their speed. Perhaps God hasnÂ’t updated guardian-angel speed since we humansÂ’ wheel-barreling days. What if someone got stuck with a guardian angel that didnÂ’t have legsÂ…or wings? TheyÂ’d have to tie a rope to the angelÂ’s wheelchair and tow ‘em around behind the car, and thatÂ’s just not very safe at all. If you luck up and get a really fast guardian angel, be careful how you use it. No matter how fast your guardian angel can fly, a police officer will give you a ticket for going 65 mph in a 20-mph school zone.

•    Â“My Boss Is a Jewish Carpenter”: Really? You must get sick of carving dreidels all day.

•    Â“Real Men Love Jesus”: I thought good Christian men were supposed to love women.

•    Â“YoÂ’ Mama Was Pro-Life, Dawlin’”: But what about my momÂ’s two abortions before having me? If she were pro-life then, I wouldnÂ’t be around to read your bumper sticker.

•    Â“Eternity: Smoking or Non-Smoking?”: How about pot smoking?

•    In response to the abundance of Christian bumper stickers, some people have adopted less popular bumper stickersÂ…

•    Â“When Religion Ruled the World, They Called it the Dark Ages”: We donÂ’t call the Dark Ages the “Dark Ages” because of the cultural and scientific stagnation that had a lot to do with the overbearing and stifling Church during those hundreds of years. That would be silly! No, itÂ’s really called the Dark Ages because it was dark all the time. Nope; no light at all.

•    Â“DonÂ’t Pray in My School and I WonÂ’t Think in Your Church”: Wow. This bumper sticker doesnÂ’t take Christian schools into account, especially the fundamentalist ones. TheyÂ’re great places to pray and not think at the very same time.

•    Â“Jesus Was a Liberal”: IÂ’m sure this one ruffles some Right-Wing feathers. Just because Jesus promoted peace and tolerance doesnÂ’t necessarily make him a liberalÂ…or does it?

•    Â“WWJB: Who Would Jesus Bomb?”: A twist on the once-popular What Would Jesus Do bumper stickers and bracelets. Worry not: Jesus would use smart bombs – the kind that only occasionally kills innocent civilians.

So there you have it, folks. The traffic will inevitably increase and so will the outrageous bumper stickers. Few minds are changed by the plastic decals’ messages, but they provide a small soapbox to convey your beliefs or poke fun at someone else’s. Until next time, “Jesus Is Coming, Look Busy!”

Ginglini Tortialini hails from Baton Rouge and is currently in mourning: a karma ran over his dogma. Send him condolences at