What Would Jesus Drive?
| Can you picture Buddha behind the wheel of a Cadillac Escalade? Or the Pope driving a Hummer?
Congregational minister Dan Smith recently took to his pulpit in Lexington, Massachusetts and asked the memorable question, "What Would Jesus Drive?" Such questions are rooted in the evangelical tradition, where "What Would Jesus Do?" is frequently asked.
With help from the environmental writer Bill McKibben, Smith crafted a campaign that included demonstrations at local sport-utility vehicle (SUV) dealerships. "I was motivated to bring my faith to bear, not on the crisis I perceived in the environment per se, but in God's creation," Smith told his congregants.
In an interview, he added, "I wanted to say something about global warming, but our church parking lot is usually half full of SUVs. For me to be involved in an activist rally surprised some people, but I have to say that the congregation has been supportive." The Evangelical Environmental Network has now launched "What Would Jesus Drive?" as a national campaign.
An interfaith clergy group made a pilgrimage to Detroit last month to deliver an open letter calling for Ford, DaimlerChrysler and General Motors to build cleaner cars. "We're taking the message from pulpits to parking lots," said Reverend Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ.
David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, pointed out that buying a car is a moral choice, and that the gas-guzzlers "threaten God's creation and fuel the causes of war."
Some 1,200 religious leaders from across the spectrum have signed a letter to the U.S. Senate urging improvements to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) laws and reduced carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The Interfaith Climate and Energy Campaign now has branches in 21 states.
Religious groups, including several orders of Catholic nuns, are also pushing shareholder resolutions at Ford and GM calling for more complete global warming disclosure, and asking the companies to commit to significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2012.
So what would Jesus drive? People I've talked to say he'd probably take public transit. They can't imagine Him behind the wheel of any car, let alone an SUV.
You can send a letter to auto company honchos and get other information on the "What Would Jesus Drive?" campaign at