I live in a pretty conservative neighborhood. You can still see some McCain campaign signs in yards and even Bush 2004 and "W" bumper stickers on some cars. Around Christmas time, I inevitably see a few cars with "Keep Christ in Christmas" stickers. As you can imagine from this information, decorating my car with bumper stickers that oppose the common ignorance of the masses is a risky venture. I've gone ahead and done it anyway though, multiple times. And my car has been vandalized for it, multiple times.
Nothing too extreme like actual damage to the vehicle, but I have had bumper stickers torn off my car twice, and a plaque torn off once. I think about this often when I see conservative and religious stuff on cars in my area, and I think it reveals some uncomfortable truths about the way some people still think of disbelief in America. My two defaced stickers were quite innocent. One simply said, "Atheists believe in people" and the other read, "Don't believe in god? You are not alone."
The first sticker was ripped completely off. What kind of mentality would lead someone to take at offense at something so positive though? Does the mere association of atheism with humanitarianism piss off certain people that much? It's kind of hard to believe, so at first I figured the sticker had fallen off in the rain or something.
Then my other sticker was messed with. It wasn't torn completely off, but the first word was peeled away. What a clever message to send, "believe in god? You are not alone." It's not as though 85% of the freaking world isn't already aware of this. It's not like atheists aren't continually reminded by theists that our position is in the minority. What a wonderful testament it is to deface someone else's property in the name of your faith.
I'll admit: after having those two very positive and very unoffensive messages on my car destroyed, I went for something more edgy. I went with a plaque of a Darwin fish eating the Jesus fish with "Reality Bites" in the middle. I'm really not surprised that it offended people, but I am surprised that someone waited behind my car and took the time to pry it off. Have you ever tried to get one of those little plaques off? It doesn't come off easy. I woke up the next morning and went out to my car and found the plaque missing, which means some asshole found the energy and the time to remove it from my car, which was parked right in front of my home.
I have some friends who persistently try to tell me that religious fundamentalism is not a big issue in America anymore, and it annoys the hell out of me, quite honestly. I don't know what else besides fundamentalist you would call people who so hate your dissent to their faith that they will snatch anything resembling it off your car. I think Christianity is dangerous nonsense, but you don't see me going around and peeling off religious bumper stickers or prying fish plaques off anyone's cars. The funny thing to me is that these jerks probably think their faith has the moral high ground when tearing off stickers that say, "Atheists believe in people."
Fundamentalism is not dead, it's only retreated more into the shadows. It has to, with the ever-advancing threat of science and our culture realizing more and more the outdated nature of ancient holy books. There is no progress in fundamentalism. All it can hope for these days is a disaster, when its proponents can voice their absurd views and declare punishment is upon us for daring to think forward and not reverting to bronze age myths. And maybe this is why bumper stickers matter to these people. They have few other means for getting themselves the attention they crave.