Sunday, February 12, 2006

Life, the Universe, and Croissants

It's Sunday. Like a good little Catholic girl, I went to church. After church, the long-suffering spouse and I went out for coffee, as we usually do. This coffee time frequently goes into the "talk Andrea down from whatever froth she's in today" category. I'm really not kidding when I refer to Dave as the long-suffering spouse; the guy deserves a medal.

Today's froth involves bumper stickers. I was, need it be said, very nearly late for Mass and took the last available spot in the parking lot. (Don't start. Yes, Dave rode his bike. And got there early.) I parked next to a huge conversion van with several car seats inside. The bumper stickers ran the gamut from "Bush-Cheney" to "It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve; defend traditional marriage" to "It's not a choice; it's a life (or a baby or... whatever that bumper sticker says. You get the idea.). I instantly -and I'll bet you big money, accurately- made some assumptions about this family's version of Catholicism. It doesn't have much to do with mine.

And as a feminist and a liberal and, for heaven's sake, just a person who occasionally thinks, I resist polarization. I don't have to take the extreme left position just because they've taken the extreme right. But I really, really want to. I want to get a "Catholics for Choice" bumper sticker, even though I'm reluctantly pro-choice and if the Catholic church would just be more reasonable I wouldn't have to go as far as I have in the pro-choice direction. I want to get some snarky bumper sticker about impeaching Bush. I want to get a bumper sticker that says something like "Jesus didn't teach me to hate gay people." Or at the very least, "Tolerance Now".

For this kind of bumper sticker warfare, I might even get to church early enough to choose where I park. As in, next to the people with the Bush-Cheney sticker.

I had braced myself for Dave's argument that there were more liberal bumper stickers in our parish parking lot than there were in the parish parking lots of nearby Catholic churches. True, but hardly comforting. More than zero does not a community make. But he actually claimed that there were more liberal bumper stickers per parking lot than you'd find almost anywhere else in town -with the possible exception of the parking lot where the LA&S faculty park. His claim was that I was selectively seeing the thing I was afraid of seeing -that our parish has become a collection of conservative, clerical Catholics- when instead the opposite is true. Insofar as there IS a liberal community in this little sea-of-Republicans town, they are at the Catholic church.

I see why that could be true. But is it true? I'm going to try to look around with more open eyes next week. And why don't liberals put as many bumper stickers on their cars???? A question for the sages.

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