The Aussie & the atheist

What some people won't say about themselves with bumper stickers or tee shirts. I saw a charming one and an infuriating one this week. "Good grammar costs nothing," said the Asian girl's shirt in line behind me to board a flight. Such exhibitionists either want or deserve remarks from strangers, so I asked her what it meant. Standing up for the English language when most people no longer bother, she replied in a thick Aussie accent. My sentiments exactly, I said. Los Angeles would be her last stop homebound after six weeks of travel in Europe and America. In the worst economy since the 1930s to hear some people tell it, mind you.

"Religion stops a thinking mind," scolded the tee on a dumpy fat guy at the pizza parlor last night. It was illustrated by one of those stat-line medical monitor waves. Him I didn't accost because A, I didn't trust myself to be civil, and B, his childish plea for attention merits nothing so much as cold silence.

After a moment I realized the slogan was someone's oh-so-clever twist on "Abortion stops a beating heart." I wanted to ask his rejoinder to that undeniable fact, and to pile on with the additional facts that abortion really does stop (or forestall) a thinking mind as well as extinguish (or divert from this world) a feeling soul.

I wanted to challenge him for examples of societies where God is ignored or banned but free and noble thought flourishes -- or to refute the conclusive truth that thought has risen highest in those societies where God is lifted highest.

But it would have been a waste of breath, so I just ate my pizza and reflected on the late George Roche's mordant comment, "The world is full of slobs." Yet not quite full of them, for there is still room for the occasional grammatically idealistic Aussie Asian girl. And thank heaven for such as she!