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Wednesday, 20 November, 2002, 23:04 GMT
Jesus seconded to car campaign
Campaigners with a fleet of eco-friendly cars
Nuns drove campaigners in eco-friendly cars
Nearly 2,000 years ago a man called Jesus was quite specific about his mode of transport - a young donkey.

But Christians in the US believe that if he was around today, the Son of God would pick a small eco-friendly car.

They are appealing to car users to think "What would Jesus drive?" and have begun a campaign against fuel-guzzling sport utility vehicles and trucks "because transportation is a moral issue".

A production line of Jeep Grand Cherokees
The faithful hope people will turn away from fuel-guzzling SUVs
The Evangelical Environmental Network has launched a website and placed television and print ads all to try to persuade people to switch to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

The campaign has now been backed by clergy across the US and some rabbis - who may phrase the question differently but support the principle.

On Wednesday, the religious leaders took their message to the very heart of Motor City itself - Detroit.

They met car industry executives such as Ford's William Clay Ford Jr and handed them open letters calling for "a new conversation about cars and their impact on God's children and God's creation".

Reverend Jim Ball, of the Evangelical Environmental Network, said: "We're asking the basic question: what would Jesus drive?

"We believe transportation and the pollution it creates has a serious impact on people's lives."

The religious leaders were chauffeured to their meetings in Detroit by nuns driving energy-efficient vehicles, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Revelations

John's Gospel reports that the disciples did not understand why Jesus called for "a young ass" to ride into Jerusalem.

But the man who could walk on water was adamant and later his followers recalled that the donkey actually featured in a prophecy.

Whether there will be a similar revelation for the car-buying public in the US is a different matter.


It took Moses 40 years to get his people out of the wilderness, so don't expect us to go away

Reverend Bob Edgar
Correspondents say Americans remain in love with their big cars, though versions with more fuel-efficient hybrid engines are set to hit the mass market soon.

The What Would Jesus Drive? bumper stickers may yet end up adorning SUVs, but the Reverend Bob Edgar said the campaign would not become dismayed.

"It took Moses 40 years to get his people out of the wilderness, so don't expect us to go away," he was quoted as saying by the Detroit Free Press.

See also:

16 Nov 02 | South Asia
03 Nov 02 | Middle East
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