Sunday, August 12, 2007


Evangelical Christians in Madison do not.

Hopping on my trusty 1982 Yamaha 750 motorcycle this morning, eschewing church-- per se--for the morning, I drove around Madison viewing the cars in the parking lots of the larger evangelical churches. What did I see?

I saw large, shiny new vehicles. But no bumper stickers. Well, just one (See this post). I didn't count the likes of Memorial High School Cross Country .

Then I drove just about anywhere, desperate for a bumper sticker. I wandered through a Panera's lot; a Comp USA. I broke down completely and checked out the local Menards (Oh, my standards!!).

I saw large, shiny new vehicles, but very few bumper stickers. (Well, there was the Abbie Hoffman one in front of a Target store, but see this post for that one also).

Based upon my experience, I'm forced to make several broad, sweeping generalizations:

  1. People who drive large, shiny new vehicles don't want the resale value to go down because of some spur-of-the-moment slap-dash bumper sticker reading Eat At Luigi's hanging on their rear bumper.
  2. Only liberals wear bumper stickers. And only if they are driving 1985 Datsuns.
  3. Only Crunchies wear bumper stickers. That is apparent from the bumper stickers I photographed on mostly-perfect vehicles parked outside the local WF.
  4. It was an absolutely beautiful morning for a motorcycle ride. The fact I got very few shots of bumper stickers did not take away at all from the total joy of plogging through church parking lots on my bike.
  5. Conservatives don't wear bumper stickers. Evangelical churches are filled with conservatives, right?
  6. Conservatives also don't wear loud, message-heavy t-shirts. Except the likes of the Bartlett boys and my second son (who might deny the conservative thing.) But if bumper sticker social commentary has been replaced with worn-on-your-back social commentary--which is my working thesis--then it would follow. Right?
  7. I'm rethinkng my investment in Lulu's Bump R Stick stock. Whew. And a few days ago it looked like such a winner!
  8. I don't know what kind of money people are making these days in Madison, WI, but it is obvious they are spending like a people owning fat portfolios and with serious discretionary income. All those shiny new vehicles!
  9. The dearth in bumper stickers on conservatives' cars--my friend Tim Gies' being the notable exception--has me wondering: Are conservative Christians apathetic? Are they iconoclastic? Or are they just ho hum blahzey? Or, do they do their talkin' in other ways? Is Conservative Talk Radio the new conservative bumper sticker?
  10. The Gee's vehicles have no bumper stickers on them. You are free to draw your own conclusions, but you'll be wrong.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps you are motoring around in the wrong town, or the wrong side of town?

I see social commentary bumper stickers all the time in my small town and surrounding small towns.
(Some of them are on my own vehicle).

Quite frequently I see US Marine Corps bumper stickers, with a singular and strong commentary.

Like this:

"Marines for peace, one terrorist at a time."


"You can run but you will die tired".


"Semper Fidelis"

Bruce Gee said...

Yeah, it was strange, AK. I drove through five HUGE parking church parking lots, and it was like the Naked Public Square out there.
Maybe the wrong town, certainly for Marine stickers (I liked the ones you listed!). I still see, proudly displayed, KERRY/EDWARDS stickers on Volvos. I can't help it, I just can't. When I see those, I think, "Loser. who'd keep a loser's bumper sticker on their car?"

Anonymous said...

Well, you are not likely find a Kerry/Edwards sticker on a Marine's vehicle.

Their stickers read:

"Providing the enemies of America an opportunity to die for their country since 1775"

"USMC Sniper. Reach out and touch someone."

"What do you feel when you kill a terrorist? Recoil."


"Pacificism is a luxuary paid for by Marines"

I suppose it is possible that these kinds of sticker displays are too controversial in some towns in America.

Maybe the folks around your town think better of announcing their
views on their automobiles, perhaps because of the possibilty of a robust reaction to the message by some other folks who may rigorously oppose the thought being displayed.

Could that be, I wonder?

It may be that voicing an opinion on a brand new expensive vehicle might not be prudent in some parking lots.

I guess it just depends on where a person drives and parks his car.....and his motorcycle.