What would Jesus drive is part of the ubiquitous WWJD campaign that started five or so years ago to encourage people to be more critical about their every day choices and model their lives after Jesus. The What Would Jesus Drive? campaign is aimed specifically at SUVs with local churches circulating petitions that ask people to pledge not to buy an SUV when purchasing their next car because Jesus would not want you destroying your planet.

In theory, I don't fault the idea because it's a decent enough cause to promote and using a well-known, if twitch-inducing, phrase can get results. So bully for the Christians if they help end the SUV craze. However, it seems to me a slippery slope to attach a theological imperative to consumer choices. Would it bother Jesus if you waste valuable water for the vanity of your rose garden? Is Manolo Blahnik like unto Satan, giving women bad arches at outrageous prices? Would Jesus be displeased if you spend $3.50 for a cup of coffee at Starbucks? In the 1920's the Women's Christian Temperance Union challenged us to ask ourselves what would Jesus drink. Not to suggest that it was simply a grass roots Christian movement that birthed prohibition, but it was part of the impetus and not such a good idea.

Perhaps more importantly, it's too easy to modify doctrine into whatever you want it to mean. Case in point, on the local news in the Piedmont, NC, heart of the bible belt, our intrepid field reporter camped out at a gas pump to ask drivers of Camaros and SUVs whether they thought that this is what Jesus would drive. One said he reckoned Jesus would just walk, but he sure liked his Camaro. The other lady in a brand new Explorer declared that it is thanks to Jesus that she has the money to be able to afford such a vehicle.

Maybe the real lesson here is that I should never watch the local news. Ever.

Now Elvis he gave away Cadillacs,
Which is easy to do when you're the King
But God never worries about the Radio
From the back seat, Elvis will sing

--Wammo, God Drives a Volkswagen Thing

This is by no means the entire song, which appears on Wammo's faster than the speed of suck album. I've heard him perform it on a few occasions while appearing with the Asylum Street Spankers. Essentially, Wammo makes the argument lyrically that it's the ideal car for Our Lord; It's unassuming, efficient, and functional. Of course, Jesus' car is a bit souped up and "does a nine flat in the quarter". He says that the Nazis invented the VW, and they were evil and mean, but when "Jehovah wants to drive around without being recognized, God drives his Volkswagen Thing".

Personally, I suspect that if it were true, he'd be rocking the 2.2 liter Subaru conversion, it could only be a good thing from the standpoint of fuel economy and avoiding dripping oil all over the roads. God, of all people, ought to be strong on the environment although numerous incidents involving fire, brimstone, and unseasonable plagues of locusts do suggest otherwise.

Next time you see the boxiest of antique SUVs passing you by, or more likely receding in your rear view mirror, look for the bushy white beard. It's either Jesus or Santa Claus.

Other views are invited. Some of them follow. Hardlinks are probably mine, but I promise not to put in any pipelinks.

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