Bumper Sticker Tribalism

“In God We Trust” the sticker reads
As cops drive, doing civic deeds
Although in truth, the chief concedes
That atheists abhor it.

I’ll get a sticker, if I must,
That says “In Cops I Do Not Trust”
To cover up my bumper’s rust…
I’m sure they’ll just ignore it.

Sorry, no time to write (much), too much grading. But yeah, this is in response to the police departments who feel compelled to put “In God We Trust” stickers on their cars. They can say it is because it is the nation’s motto, but anyone looking at their actions in context can see it is being done not out of patriotism but out of tribalism. And, if one reads the comments beneath the actual articles, it becomes perfectly clear that the masses see it for what it is.

“If the atheists don’t like it, they don’t have to look.” So, a bumper sticker, like the words I grind of of my coins or blot out of my bills, it mere ceremonial deism; nothing at all. No reason to take offense. Anyone can put anything on their bumper. But should a commenter mention a darwin fish or other atheist message on their car, replies include vague, passive threats: “just see which car gets attended to last in an accident”.

If the job is to protect and serve all, then none should be expected to look the other way. If the job is to protect and serve members of the tribe, it’s an establishment clause violation.

Wrote more than I have time for already. Later, all.


  1. EigenSprocketUK says

    “Protect and serve [all]”?
    I thought it was ‘protect and serve [the police]’
    Though it would be a really good idea to add ‘all’ for that very reason.

  2. Lonely Panda, e.s.l. says

    While I was picking up lunch today I saw an ambulance parked at my lunch destination (not an emergency; the crew was just getting lunch too). I was shocked to see “In God We Trust” painted not only on the back but also on the side. I’m hoping to not need their services in the future since I would prefer to have actual medical treatment in an emergency rather than divine intervention. I mean, if I have to rely on divine intervention, what is the purpose of the ambulance?

  3. Cuttlefish says

    Where are you, Panda? (I ask, but of course you can say “none of your damn business, cuttlefish!)

  4. EigenSprocketUK says

    In God we trust – to stay out of paramedic business. The trouble with divine intervention is that it works both ways; the ancient Greeks figured out that it seldom worked out well for the mortals.

  5. remarcsd says

    Well what are the seatbelts, guns and bulletproof vests for? It seems that they don’t trust god to a very high degree.

  6. Trebuchet says

    @2 and 4: Depends on who operates the ambulance. If, for instance, it had been the dominant medical organization in my county, the owner would be the Catholic Church. They have crosses EVERYWHERE! Private companies can put anything they like on their vehicles as well.

    The bumper sticker on the cop car is, of course, utterly inappropriate.

  7. Joan Ryan says

    Local news around July of this year about Stone County Mo. sheriff’s car decoration pictured with said sheriff standing proudly next to his bumper sticker. So far this has not spread to Ferguson but couldn’t resist writing this poem. .

    Sanctified Sheriffs

    “In God we trust” emblazoned on
    Stone County Sheriff’s car
    Is now or cars of deputies
    Embellishment or scar?

    The backlash has been tepid.
    Most are for and few again’ it.
    So when next he runs for office
    It’s a sure bet he will win it.

    When queried why he did it
    If it backfired, would he spike it,
    His answer indicated no.
    “The reason is, I like it.”

    “Protect and Serve” apparently
    Was not good for the bust.
    The cops must now be sanctified
    With words “In God we trust.”

    Let’s hope it brings some comfort
    Tot those snared in speed trap stops.
    They have to trust in something
    Cause they sure can’t trust the cops.

  8. StevoR says

    Love the opening post here – spot on!

    @2.Lonely Panda, e.s.l. : I hate to be the one to break it to you but ambulances (& hospitals!) Have been marked by crossses – and in some countries crescents and stars / shields of David for a very long time! Of course, the slogan with it now is new and not really encouraging .. so agreed there.

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