Buddhists against Buicks

Your choice of transportation is a moral one that can impact the lives of others. So you better think twice before you jump into your SUV to travel half a mile to the local store.

And now I’m lost, too late to pray, Lord, I’ve paid the cost on the lost highway. -Hank Williams, ‘Lost Highway.’

Obeying Jesus in our transportation choices is one of the great Christian obligations and opportunities of the twenty-first century.

Not my words, you understand (well, I hope you do anyway!), but words from the US-based Website of the ‘What Would Jesus Drive (WWJDrive) campaign, which is organised and sponsored by the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN).

The purpose of which is what, I hear you ask?

Well, let me explain – it’s to help people understand that their choice of transportation is a moral one that can impact the lives of others.

That all adds up to the fact that, that wherever possible, you shouldn’t really cruise down to Wal-Mart in a gas-guzzling Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) towing your 60ft schooner behind you. Especially considering the fact that it’s only half a mile from your house and you only wanted to buy a birthday card for your kid sister anyway.

Or shouldn’t you? Well, wait up a gosh-darned minute here! Don’t you have the right to? After all, you went out and paid your hard-earned money for the thing in the first place and this is a free country isn’t it?

Thank heavens, then, for the common sense attitude of the SUV Owners of America (SUVOA), who, frustrated by these sorts of zealous attacks on their motoring habits, have recently roped Jesus himself in to promote the safety and convenience benefits of the wondrous SUV.

Yes that’s right. The SUVOA has announced that Jesus drives a 1995 SUV. And his son drives a 1999 SUV! An SUVOA advertisement with a picture of Jesus appeared on Monday in regional issues of USA Today explaining why Jesus and his family love their SUVs and why they are not alone.

OK. So it’s not Jesus Christ, is it? (Probably not – Ed.) It’s actually a fella called Jesus Rivera. It’s the SUVOA’s idea of fun to use a chap with a similar sort of name to take the proverbial out of the ‘WWJDrive’ campaign that they obviously feel is somewhat ‘anti-SUV’.

I think I can speak for us all when I say just how witty and amusing I found it all.

But things could have been a lot worse, couldn’t they? Imagine if some other religious group had got into the SUV act instead. What would two rival groups have made, for example, of the Buddhist teaching that ‘through the elimination of craving and ignorance one eliminates suffering’?

Would that be a craving to own an SUV or a craving to rid the world of them? And is that an ignorance of the safety benefits of the SUV or an ignorance of its appalling fuel consumption? And how, when faced with these two contradictory viewpoints, can one ever eliminate suffering and reach motoring nirvana?

We did think of asking Jesus (Rivera) for the answers to this profound question for a minute. But it was just for a minute I can assure you.

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