I don’t like to talk about religion much. I have my own faith, which is deep and personal, and I have found that few people are open-minded enough to be capable of any truly unbiased and intelligent discourse on the subject. In most cases, the longer a discussion on the topic of religion continues, the likelihood a person will become offended approaches one. In other words, I avoid talking about religion not because I don’t find the subject interesting but because I usually end up pissing someone off.
That being said, there is a small thing I must get off my chest. And by comparison to the current troubles in the world, it truly is a small thing. Its implications, however, can be applied on a much larger scale, should you be inclined to do so.
I live in a neighborhood which just happens to be home to a Catholic Parish. Because of my close proximity to this supposed pinnacle of piety, I have the opportunity to see daily examples of people who are Christian, Hypocritical, Offensive, Aristocratic, and Dumb. I just call them CHOADs for short. Basically, these people make an art form out of chagrinning God. They are the bane of Christianity, making a fool out of their lord and hindering the progress of their religion instead of helping it. It’s important to note that not all Catholics/Christians are CHOADs and that there are CHOAD equivalents in every religion.
Where Would Jesus Park?
One fine Sunday morning, I took Marley for a walk. He has his standard route, which takes us right past the Catholic Church. The Sunday service was in session and because the church lot is woefully inadequate, the streets were, as usual, clogged with parked cars. (I must give the parishioners credit for attending church in style. Lotsa Integras and Escalades.) Marley was kind enough not to mark any tires and chose instead to do his business on a stop sign.
While Marley heeded the call of nature, I took notice of the nearest parked car. It was a luxury sedan — a Continental, I think — and I noticed it mainly because it was parked about five feet from the stop sign. I could literally touch the sign with one hand and the car’s front bumper with the other. Even without the aid of the little supplemental sign reading “NO PARKING WITHIN 25 FEET”, the biggest imbecile in the world could tell that was way too close to park to a stop sign.
I asked Marley, “What are the odds this car doesn’t belong to someone currently inside that church?” He didn’t answer me, but I know he was thinking the same thing I was: the odds are nil.
Just then, church let out and I decided to loiter for a bit by the stop sign. A minute later, an older couple came strutting across the street. They could have been heading for any one of the multitude of nearby cars, but to my surprise, I heard the door locks on the offending car clack open.
Hoping to send a subtle message, I made a gesture of noting how close they had parked to the stop sign, but they took no notice of me and started to get inside the car. So I spoke up. “You know, it’s against the law and a hazard to park so close to a stop sign,” I said. The man paused a moment and stared at me with a sour look, but said nothing. I continued, “When you get home, you should check out Romans 13*.”
I had tried hard not to sound overly confrontational or patronizing. I obviously failed, though, because the man’s face instantly contorted into a mask of psychopathy and through a rictus of gritted dentures he growled, “Bite me!” Having completely exhausted his supply of cleverness with that pithy reply, he slumped into his car, started the engine, and sped off. His wife fixed her stare on me as the car passed, bearing the same creepy Fixodent-grin.
I wish I could say that I was surprised by the man’s reaction. I mean, he had just come from church, for crying out loud! You’d think that would at least predispose him to being somewhat tolerant, maybe even affable. But even in the presence of someone who obviously had some knowledge of his religion, he chose to act like a complete jackass. His reaction is not surprising because we’re talking about a guy who’s willing to break the law in order to attend church. Clearly, this is a man with a really screwed up sense of logic. I’d argue that he doesn’t even have a clear grasp on why he attends Mass or, for that matter, Confession.
So anyway, the following day I designed a card to be placed under the windshield wiper of any car illegally parked near the church. It quotes the Revised Code of Washington pertaining to stop signs and parking as well as the bible passage from Romans* and then asks the person to consider the message their unlawful actions are sending to the surrounding community. It ends with the question, “Would Jesus park here?”
Oh, and I felt the need to put the phrase “Please do not litter” on the back because I suspect most CHOADs will simply toss the card on the ground. I will, of course, be picking them up if that occurs.
Thanks for letting me get that out. I feel much better now. I know it seems like a rather insignificant thing, but there are good life-saving benefits to keeping intersections cleared of obstacles. Would Toothy McCatholic have had the same crappy attitude if the obstruction created by his Lincoln had caused an injury accident? Sadly, I’m not sure.
*Romans 13:1-2 reads: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted…”