When I was a more liberal younger self, I used to really like this bumper sticker. But now, I realize how it could be seen as offensive, especially to religious people.
For one thing, the bumper sticker implies blame on religion. It seems to be saying that if religious people were as good and peaceful as the person who created the sticker, the world would be a paradise. The truth is that religions are NOT the main source of conflict in the world. The main source of strife and discord are the isms: especially communism, socialism, Nazism, and fascism. These ideologies account for an estimated 150,000,000 deaths and the majority of persecution in the world. Why doesn’t the bumper sticker attack those ideologies?
Secondly, it implies that the three major religions are equal, both in their validity and in their tendency to promote violence. It’s as if Christians were out there persecuting other groups in the same way that say, Islamic extremists are. The truth is that 11 Christians are killed every day for their faith. Instead of instigating violence, Christians are inordinately victims of it. Even though Islam itself does have a darker side among various groups–ISIS has displaced 30,000 Christians this year–Muslims themselves are now victims of Communist China, as they were in Nazi Germany, Communist Vietnam, Fascist Italy, etc.
The three great religions, unlike the isms I just mentioned, are by and large life-giving and meaning-building, and they all point us to a loving God. There are few religious wars these days, and the so-called religious wars of the past often had to do with land or resources more than with doctrine. Why should a bumper sticker try to imply that religions are the ones not coexisting? Why doesn’t it make use of the swastika and the Chinese communists’ five stars, etc. to make that point? Those are the systems that need to be admonished to coexist, not the religions.
Thirdly, the original bumper sticker lumps the three biggest world religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism in with philosophies and ideologies, like pacifism and liberalism. I don’t really know what to call the symbol that makes up the E. It has to do with gender identity. Whatever it refers to, the bumper sticker implies that these historical religions are similar in some way to gender identity philosophy or pacifism. They’re not. These religions provide great hope and meaning to billions around the world. We religious people have less trouble living in peace than adherents to the isms (including atheism and satanism). And to imply that satanism is equal to the great three religions shows exactly where the motivation for this bumper sticker came from.
The bumper sticker shows a lack of understanding or empathy for religion and it puts the blame where unjustly on Christians, Muslims and Jews. That’s why it is offensive!