I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Violence has gotten such a hold on our society that it’s showing up in advertising slogans. I began to notice the billboard ads just recently. One sports drink proclaims that it is “refreshment’s weapon of choice.” A soda wants to know “who you callin’ a soft drink?” A car is described as “anything but cute,” appealing to the folks who want aggressive transportation.

I can blow these slogans off pretty easily. Tomorrow the ad people will come up with something else to get our attention. But as a person of faith, I am truly offended by a bumper sticker I saw on a car next to me at a traffic light a week or so ago. In an really big, mean font I was told the driver’s sentiments: “I PRAY. GET USED TO IT.”

Have we truly sunk so low that now we seek to intimidate and badger people into accepting our spiritual practices? Did that driver not realize that the attitude exhibited by that bumper sticker is exactly the opposite of that which we should have when we pray? I mean one of humble submission to God and most certainly not ostentation. Jesus criticized certain religious leaders of his day for praying on street corners to be seen by the public. May I suggest that the bumper sticker on the back of that car is the equivalent of the Pharisees’ hypocritical public prayer? It says “Look at me! I’m close to God, and you’re not, you lousy sinner who probably doesn’t want kids to pray in school.”

It’s still a free country, and that driver can get in the face of others with that belligerent bumper sticker if he or she wants. As for me, I’m praying for an end to violence, whether across the world or next to me on the street. And that I never, ever get used to it.

© 2006 by Tom Cheatham