"Coexist" Bumper Stickers Are Actually Intolerant

On the surface, it seems like a sentiment I should agree with: “Can't we all put aside our religious differences and get along?” But what happens when you put anything on a bumper sticker is that you remove the suggestive tone and make it a command...

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Apr 29 2013, 2:43pm


Photo via Flickr

During terrorist attacks, people lose their fucking minds. They spend the first few hours after trying to get as many details as they can, without bothering to worry about pesky things like accuracy. They keep themselves busy rumormongering and throwing darts at the wall. It's one giant clusterfuck of information. Which is how you get something like CNN's face-plant during the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, as well as the proliferation of nonsense coincidences not having anything to do with the actual story itself.

For instance, the “fact” that the car the bombing suspects carjacked during their flee from cops had one of those silly “COEXIST”—but written with the symbols of various religions—bumper stickers on it. Of course that story, however important your great aunt felt it was to spam your inbox, turned out to be complete bullshit. But it did get me thinking a bit about the bumper sticker in question.

On the surface, it seems like a sentiment I should agree with: “Can't we all put aside our religious differences and get along?” But what happens when you put anything on a bumper sticker is that you remove the suggestive tone and make it a command: “Get along, or else.” Even one announcing your kid as an honor student has a hint of “and fuck your kid, too” to it. Which is, really, the tonal mentality of any religious dogma. It's "I'm right, you're not." It's "No conversation, no debate, no changing of opinions." It's "Listen to what I have to say, and before you get a chance to answer I'm driving the fuck out of here."

Onto the roundup!

- Perhaps the worst part to surface from the Boston Marathon bombings? (You know, besides the deaths and the horrific injuries and the media misinformation.) Amanda Palmer throwing together a shitty poem and everyone getting their various undergarments in various knots over it, while Neil Diamond dusted off some parchment paper and got ready to cash in.

- In Iraq, a protest by Sunni Muslims over how the country is handling the tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims led to yet another outbreak of violence, leaving more than 28 people dead. On the same day, two roadside bombs detonated outside of a Sunni mosque, killing four.

- The Israeli Air Force shot down a drone that, reportedly, was piloted by Hezbollah. It's still unclear if the drone was armed.

- In northern Afghanistan, six village police officers were poisoned and shot to death. A seventh officer is missing and expected to be the “inside man” for the Taliban insurgents behind the assassinations. Later in the day, at least 30 people were killed after a bus crashed into a truck that was attacked by the Taliban and left in the middle of the road.

- The Taliban also announced it's starting its “spring offensive,” saying that “every possible tactic will be utilized in order to detain or inflict heavy casualties on the foreign transgressors.”

- In Florida, a state bill was passed that'd ban courts from using religious or foreign law in deciding matters related to family law. The whole thing was first brought up in order to make sure state judges wouldn't have to rule on cases involving that pesky Sharia law. The problem with that wide a blanket of a bill, though, is that it also axes the Jewish concept of a divorce get, which I won't explain here, other than to say it protects women against their way more powerful husbands.

- Oh, goodie. Now that Barry Zito has turned the corner from “ace starter” to “barely capable,” he's decided to turn his attention to the only things that make sense: religion and guns.

- Inspire is an English-language magazine put out by al Qaeda meant to encourage Westerners to bring about their own small-scale terrorist attacks. Here are the nine most terrifying covers.

- So, one of the Boston bombers was a wacky 9/11 Truther. It'd be nice to think the recent news of plane landing gear being found nearby would've flipped some switch and made them realize all of the “9/11 was an inside job” bullshit was just that. But that's not how conspiracy theorists work.

- In Yemen, a bunch of miniskirmishes led to the deaths of five soldiers, two al Qaeda militants, and an intelligence officer.

- Only 43 percent of Protestant pastors believe “global warming is real and man made.” Good news: this is actually up from only 36 percent of “yes” answers in 2010.

- The Catholic Archdiocese of Brooklyn's trying to lure people to go to their church by proclaiming that Jesus was “the Original Hipster.”

- Al Qaeda reportedly tried to do some kind of terrorist damage to a commuter train running between Canada and the US, but the conspiracists were thwarted before they could do the deed.

- Here is a collection of a bunch of victim-blaming billboards in Iran directed towards “immodest women” that pretty much say if they're sick of being sexually harassed, they shouldn't dress so sluttily. Fuck them.

- And Our Persons of the Week: On the flip side of that, the folks behind this eye-catching and important ad for the King Khalid Foundation that's currently blanketing parts of Saudi Arabia to urge women to speak up about domestic abuse. The important aspect of this ad is that it's the first time someone in the country is attempting to attack the status quo, meaning a society where all women are “guarded” by males—usually their fathers, brothers, or husbands—who are pretty much allowed to do whatever they want. This is a step  in the right direction.

- And a Bonus Person of the Week: Kent Hendrix, a Mormon bishop in Salt Lake City who helped a neighbor escape an attack by a stalker by running him off with a badass 29-inch high-carbon steel Samurai sword.

Previously - Please Stop Believing