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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Bumper stickers falling off?

"I don't question your existence.--God"; "Salvation: Don't leave earth without it"; "Dear Lord, save me from your followers."

So say some of the bumper stickers included in Bumper Sticker Wisdom: America's Pulpit Above the Tailpipe (Beyond Words Publishing, 1995).

Author Carol Gardner, a Presbyterian layperson, says although bumper stickers are currently in a decline, they reveal everything from frustration to religious faith, from parental pride to beliefs about abortion or tailgaters.

"Maybe a 10th have to do with religious issues," she says. "The most successful are clever or humorous. They make people stop and think, laugh or wonder. ... When people are able to laugh at themselves, it lessens polarization and makes people on the other side [of an issue] more understanding and forgiving."

Why the decline in bumper stickers? Gardner ticks off some reasons: fear of road rage or vandalism; increased leasing and early reselling of cars; and the baby boomers who started the craze "turned 50, and went from being interested in issues to being interested in their own personal introspection."

But don't worry. Gardner says bumper stickers enjoy a cyclical popularity. They'll be sticking around.


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