Monday, April 30, 2007
Lesson from a Road Trip
Anyone who has had the pleasure of driving through the Midwest has stories about some of the unique billboards and signs that line the side of the road. I had to drive to Kansas City on Saturday to pick up a rescue dog that we decided to take in. I saw a billboard near Mount City, Missouri on 1-29 like the one above, and it got me thinking about the purpose of such a sign.
The people who created this billboard obviously think that Jesus will be driving on I-29 to Kansas City and that he somehow needs reassurance regarding the people of Mound City's level of trust in him. The sign shows that they are emphatic in their trust in Jesus.
But let's think about this. If Jesus were around, that would present certain theological challenges that I won't get into (2nd coming? Isn't that supposed to be like the apocalypse?), but assuming that Jesus IS around, putting a billboard on the side of the road on I-29 is a huge waste of money.
First of all, Jesus probably flies everywhere. If you think the son of God is going to take a trip in his '70 Baracuda, think again. President Bush doesn't drive anywhere, and despite the fact that they are friends since George stopped snorting coke for breakfast in 1992, I think Jesus probably has the hook up on the private jet.
Jesus also probably doesn't need reassurance. The fact that he's the figurehead of one of the most popular religions in the US next to Mormonism and Scientology probably means he knows he's the bomb. His father is all-knowing, so if Jesus was lacking in confidence about the level of trust hillbillies from Missiouri had in him, he could just ring up dear old dad on the red telephone and get an update.
Then there's the ever-popular anti-abortion billboard that anyone who lives in the Midwest has seen anytime they drive anywhere. The entire idea of the anti-abortion billboard is that people assume that when you drive by you'll either be on your way to have an abortion or that you'll be performing an abortion as you drive by, and that by reading the billboard, you'll have an epiphany and realize that you forgot you had a baby inside of you.
But the baby inside of you is the whole reason you're getting the abortion. The problem isn't that you're forgetting someone. It's the knowledge of that person that leads to the desire to get an abortion. If you didn't know you had a baby in there, you probably wouldn't be seeking an abortion.
The anti-abortion movement has put a lot of effort into trying to humanize the fetus by making it seem as though people who have abortions don't realize that they're keeping themselves from having a baby. This is stupid mostly because if casual sex with your uncle didn't result in a baby from time to time, abortion wouldn't really be an issue, would it?
Needless to say, both groups need to work on their delivery a little bit, because the message really isn't getting across the way they intended.