TCS Daily

Jesus Is Just Alright With Me

By Brock Yates - November 25, 2002 12:00 AM

Here I am poring over my New Testament in total frustration. Nowhere can I find any references to "SUV's", although according to a group called the Interfaith Climate and Energy Campaign, Jesus Christ is somehow involved. Surely they cannot be referring to "sport utility vehicles," the first of which did not appear until roughly two millennia after the Prince of Peace left this earthly realm?

But yes, according to a television campaign sponsored by the Evangelical Environmental Network, the riveting theological question of the day is, "What would Jesus drive?" Their answer, apparently, is anything but a gas-guzzling SUV, at least based on their caravan last week in Detroit with mega-mileage Toyota Prius hybrid sedans.

Their contention is that if Jesus were touring Galilee today, he would have shucked his walking staff for a small, efficient, pollution-free automobile, as opposed to a giant sport utility vehicle (that might, on second thought, accommodate his 12 Disciples and be capable of navigating the more challenging sections of the Wilderness.)

The TV spot asks the question, "So if we love our neighbor and cherish God's creation, maybe we should ask, 'What would Jesus drive?'"

Interesting question, to be posed with other queries like, 'What would Jesus wear?' or 'what hairstyle would He choose?'

To seek morality in the choice of vehicles offers interesting opportunities for television ads and simple-minded endorsements of small cars vs. large ones, but artfully avoids such realities as (1) larger vehicles are indisputably safer in all types of crashes and (2) substantial percentages of the population need extra space, power and utility.

Clearly it does not require divine intervention to determine that automobiles consuming less fuel and producing limited quantities of emission are desirable. But it also does not require God to do that. Americans have a vast spectrum of needs for their vehicles, ranging from the simple transport of a single, supine body from pillar to post to the hauling of all manner of cargo, human and otherwise.

While the Evangelicals pontificate about the benefits of small, clean cars, they might examine the sales trends of the domestic industry. The hottest vehicle in the business is the new GM-built Hummer H2, a $50,000, three-ton-plus, 315 horsepower leviathan that will, with prudent driving, produce, about 11 miles to the gallon.

While the cultists paraded around Detroit in the Toyota Prius, they neglected to note that the parent company produces, through its Toyota and Lexus brands, no fewer than eight SUV's, half of which are powered by 235/240 hp V8's and get no more than 14-15 mpg in urban driving.

Honda, that other paradigm of efficiency, has just introduced its Pilot SUV that pumps out a lusty 240 hp and will outperform many conventional sedans. Oh yes, Porsche is about to enter this hottest market segment with its Cayenne, a mega-priced, ultra-high-tech off-roader that sports a twin-turbo V8 making no less than 450 hp. And let us not forget the much re-viled Ford Explorer that despite a savaging by the press and the lawyers during its trial by fire in the Firestone tire rollover debacle, remains the best-selling SUV in the nation.

Regardless of its alleged sinfulness, the sport utility vehicle, both large and small, is being embraced in ever-larger numbers by the American driving public. Its safety, utility and overall broad appeal to both woman and men ought to make its strong sales understandable, event to bizarre religious fanatics who so oddly take the Lord's name in vain.

Poor Jesus Christ. He has been attached to every conceivable nutball cause ranging from cruel, paranoid redneck racism to dietary fads, but never has his name been attached to a motor vehicle. What next, Jesus sponsoring a college football team? Or better yet, maybe a hundred football teams every Saturday?



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