And God Slapped His Forehead

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…”


About kirkstarr

I draw pictures for a living.
This entry was posted in Philosophy and Religion, The VOX Years and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to And God Slapped His Forehead

  1. Morgan says:

    This is a very interesting story.What caught my attention and brought me here was actually the first paragraph, which is something I could have written myself. I love discussing religion, but I hate the way that it almost always devolves into an argument eventually.I read the rest of the story too, and it was quite interesting. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Auds says:

    Hah, you'll have to post up on the results of your endeavor. If you find enough cards on the ground you can always make a new card about the wrongs of littering.

  3. Noel Cower says:

    The church nearest my grandparents' house gets that a lot. People parking in places that are hideously unsafe, crowding every area of the road, etc. It's hideously difficult to drive in or out of the area. My grandparents are Christians, but they don't take it quite as seriously as most others. They derived their own beliefs from it, not followed what they were told without question.

  4. Moira says:

    You ended up with a spot on the front page and I was intrigued by the title and found my way over. I, too, agree with the first paragraph whole-heartedly. If your pet project makes any difference in the way these people park, you must share it with the world. I have yet to give up hope that they can change too. I always find it disturbing when people coming out of churches are offensive. Was not Jesus' message to love one another and forgive? But we don't want to get me going down that line. I found your solution to this problem amusing and, you never know, it could work… a few people learning from it is better than no response.

  5. randy says:

    Open minded religion is what I call ppl who "don't follow an organized religious doctrine" which is fine with me, it's your choice, but what I find interesting is that ppl who disagree with open minded religion are considered narrow minded or simpletons.It's like a dog chasing his tail. If you want to be open minded and pick and chose your religious beliefs fine, but also fine are ppl who feel that the Bible is the correct plan, which means following every word of it.I agree with this article, shame on them for breaking the law and worse for acting rude to anyone who pointing it out to them.BTW, going to church doesn't make you a Christian.

  6. bernie says:

    I love discussing religion because I’m genuinely curious about how people interpret their faith or lack thereof. Instead of intelligent, adult conversation, I typically just piss people off and convince them that I’m a heathen and they should pray for me. I live in conservative, Bible-thumping South Georgia where Christianity reigns supreme. Still, the lack of tolerance for people who don’t share their perspective always gets under my skin. I should be used to it by now.

  7. Kirk says:

    All good points, randy, and I should mention that I consider myself "Christian" in that I follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. The brand of Christianity I'm seeing from, say, the Religious Right in America, however, is something I want nothing to do with.I want to make it clear that I do not find devout believers in any faith to be necessarily closed-minded because of their devotion; what I have a problem with is religionists who condemn or judge others and, let's face it, Christians do that better than just about anyone (cf. uber-twit Fred Phelps).As far as going to church not making you a Christian: boy, you can sure say that again!

  8. BooDoo says:

    A great example of a terrible Christian. Allowing that regardless of the topic at hand a good number of people are woefully uninformed or otherwise ignorant, I've tried to stop letting any single person claiming a certain faith or affiliation impact my impression of that group in aggregate. That said, Catholicism on the whole seems itself so flawed that I also have to prevent the opposite, that is having been raised Catholic and around others I met so many good Catholic people that I had an impression of "Oh, Catholicism must be good." even after I had decided I personally wasn't Catholic.On the one hand I think your card is the best possible solution to the problem— it's clever, relevant, and serves a noble purpose. On the other, you might find it to be significantly more effective (or at least provocative) near a fundametalist/pentecostal "literal interpretation" congregation's church, as Catholics are more prone to accept that they are sinners no matter what, and that parking in front of a Stop sign isn't actually a sin until someone is hurt by it— then they'll wallow in sufficient guilt to feel pious. 😉

  9. Kirk says:

    Yeah, BooDoo, it was a Catholic church that became my focus simply because it is the one in my neighborhood and the one whose congregants pull this stuff daily. I hear you about Catholics being prone to acceptence of their sinful nature; in fact, I edited out from the post my speculation that the convenience of the Confessional enables some Catholics to have lousy attitudes.

  10. Erin says:

    wow. i think that if more people actually were vocal, as you were, that the world might just function better.bravo.

  11. raf says:

    Nice to see that his (Senor Bite Me) religous experience had an impact on him. Looks like his sinner reset lasted until the car.

  12. hotrod says:

    you've seen this, no doubt….

  13. ah, the religion of love and tolerance.

  14. Steph B. says:

    The cards = AWESOME.

  15. Grace-Monday says:

    What's worse than parking dangerously close to a stop sign? Double parking (during church proceedings) on a one-way block that's probably only two lanes to begin with. I'm always careful of driving Sundays or Saturdays near this one particular neighbourhood that's dotted with Baptist churches for that very reason. The queer thing is that there's a police station just down the block. How no one gets a ticket really must be God's work.. that or the fact that meter maids are off work Sunday.

  16. Kirk says:

    The fact that parking tickets are never distributed has always confounded me, too, Grace-M.Thanks, everyone, for your comments. I see this is a more common topic than I thought.

  17. superpixel says:

    Write the license # on the paper, just below "Do not litter" so when they DO, there's a record. Besides, it'll creep 'em out. See, they're looking around right now! Quick, hide the ticket, Jesus is coming!

  18. Can't imagine, small things cause big troubles.

  19. Patty says:

    Oh, SuperPixel's idea of the license plate # is good too.

  20. There is a web site somewhere that you can order bumper stickers that read" You park like an idiot ." You are supposed to place these easily removable stickers on the offending car's bumper. Then you can take pictures of their car and post it to the web.

  21. I am often blocked by parked/pulled over cars and/or nearly run over by cabs while riding my bike in the bike lane and proceeding lawfully on a daily basis in New York City. I have often thought about printing out little pieces of paper to stick to people's cars who block the bike lane (designated clearly by two solid white lines). My first idea: "You are illegally blockading the bike path. Therefore, I hate you." My second idea: Simply find the law on the matter of blocking the bike lane, if one exists and print it up. So, I feel you on the flyering of the unjustly parked, as for me, it's kind of life/death in a way … 225 byclists have died in nyc in the past 10 years … a little under two per month … not horrible … still I don't feel safe, but it's cheaper/healthier/better if not for the safety concerns.

  22. Dancing Bear says:

    Wrong is not recognized as wrong unless it is confronted. The pompous and overzealous seldom regonize what they do that is wrong and incoorect but my guess is that they would certainly notice anything and everthing that somebody else does. That same couple probably pulled around the corner and to their chagrin spotted an offender of some sort. It took their minds off of their own faux pas. God Bless us, everyone!

  23. Kelly says:

    Laughed out loud at that one. Just looking back at old posts. What a way to start!! Hehehe Bite me!

  24. GinBaby says:

    Damn. You might just be the coolest man in the universe. Good job.

  25. Carlisa says:

    Hullo? Common sense, courtesy, and respect? I don't care what religion a person is, that's inexcusable. Oh, I hate it! Good for you. Kirk!

  26. grrrace says:

    CHOAD = best acronym EVER. hehe.i just leave notices from it's perfect for the passive/aggressive in me. i guess you're just more classy than i am. hehe. :)interesting post. thanks for the link. 🙂

  27. Phaedrus says:

    Funny stuff! I wholeheartedly agree. Me personally, I am tired of all the forwarded emails and cute little Jesus loves me crap e-cards I get all the time from my family members. Finally, I told my self, I said, "Self!? If they don't any gumption about proselytizing to you and trying to spread their beliefs all around like a really smelly fart, then why should I feel any gumption about telling them my beliefs?" and that is exactly what I have been doing. Let's just say that some of my family thinks I'm crazy and some don't like me too much anymore. But hey, they are CHOADS anyway!!!

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