By on June 16, 2012

It’s funny how a college professor goes from cool to angry in a split second.  Case in point: my first transportation design class at CCS.  People showed off their designs as per usual, but one day I opened my big mouth. I mentioned that a classmate’s rendering sported wheels that looked like the Star of David. He seemed completely clueless about what he did. But I just had to “keep it real.” Oh boy, was that ever a mistake!

A design school that caters to the big automakers, staffed with adjunct professors who work in the business…well, they know better than some punk design student.  My wrist was (kinda) slapped, and everyone was warned to not include religious symbolism in their products.  Because everyone in this business wants to sell their product to anyone with green money.  Nobody gives a crap as long as you can “splash the cash.”

Stop reading if you believe TTAC has no business discussing religion.

So anyway, I didn’t much care for the exposed holes in my 2011 Ranger’s bed, and I wanted some tie downs to take advantage of my “Truxedo” tonneau cover when carrying bags full of recycling. With four bedside hooks, I could strap down oversized cargo with two belts, and the big flappy hunk of Truxedo vinyl would keep the recycling from flying away.

So I bought these Bull Rings.  Plus, from the photos I saw on the Internet, they look pretty awesome. A great piece of Industrial Design, worthy of kudos from any CCS professor. And worthy of a little positive Venom from this series.

 

I once read something in a Hindu temple suggesting that Universalism between religions exists. It was in stark contrast to the kids in grade school who told me I was going to hell for my beliefs. One person later gave me a half-hearted apology for that, but it proved a point. And I learned to get over it: that’s the beauty of growing older, I guess. Probably.

So when I installed these (easy to use, rather awesome) bits on my Ranger, I was surprisingly upset when I saw the fish icon under the ring.  I didn’t pay for this, and I assume the BullRings sold by FoMoCo don’t have Christian symbolism hidden under the ring. Even worse, it’s been over a week and these things still upset me.

My truck.  My money.  I did not pay for the fish, and it was not advertised as such.

I never gave much thought to it, but my CCS professor was right to make a big deal about car design and religion. Religion has a very important place in our society, and I respect that. But when I pay for a piece of Industrial Design, I don’t expect a hidden religious message to go with.

If you want to share your message, do it like the kids did in grade school: shock me by calling me “Gandhi” or “Maharaja” (neither of which are insults) and make fun of my religion because it isn’t Christianity.  I’ve always respected Christianity and have many friends in this faith who’d vouch for me, but these bits on my truck shall meet the grinding end of my Dremel tool.  Sorry peeps: not on my truck, not with my money.

This isn’t what I signed up for, son. Once again: my truck and my money.  I did not pay for the fish, and it was not advertised as such.

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

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158 Comments on “Vellum Venom Vignette: In God We Trust?...”


  • avatar
    darkwing

    I don’t quite understand the anger — they have as much right to put a fish on their product as you do to return it (or grind it down).

    Now, if they wouldn’t take it back, that’s another story.

    • 0 avatar
      njd

      As an atheist I find these kinds of things distasteful. Unless they’re marketing it as a “Christian” accessory, it’s just another example of people trying to shove their religion down other peoples’ throats.

      To anyone who isn’t Christian, it’s akin to graffiti. It’s unwanted symbolism being forced where you didn’t expect or want it. Worst of all, there are people like the author who unknowingly paid their hard earned money for a symbol that is contrary to their own faith.

      I respect Christianity and I think everyone should be free to believe in what they want to believe. But trying to “sneak” your symbols (and symbols are a big deal, even to atheists) onto others is just plain disgraceful. That, or the designers were so thick as to believe that only Christians exist (or have feelings or thoughts or consciousness). That kind of attitude does seem to be getting more and more prevalent.

      Thanks

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        +1 It’s not about the symbol or the beliefs, it’s about respect.

        Sneaking these christian-fish onto the this tool disrespects the customer (Sajeev in this case) and the religion (Christianity in this case).

        This kind of disrespect reminds me of some of the many reasons why I’m an atheist!

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        Again, unless I’m missing something, you’re free to avoid doing business with the company — or to modify the product post-purchase to remove the fish. But your problem — that some people don’t recognize your aggrieved minority status, and censor themselves accordingly — is entirely different, and frankly, inapplicable to a free society.

      • 0 avatar
        JustinM

        @Darkwing

        The symbol was designed in such a way that it wouldn’t be seen until after the object’s been installed. Why do you think that’s okay? Sajeev now likely has to undo his work to remove the symbol and then redo the work to put the Bull Rings back in place, wasting his time and money (since time is worth something and so is the Dremel bit).

        Or he could just leave it and get a reminder of his minority status every time he looks in his truck bed, and frankly minorities don’t need any more reminders than they get on a daily basis.

        You say that the company has no responsibility to censor themselves, and you’re right about that. Similarly, Sajeev has every right to be as angry as he wants to be that they’d foist this on him.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        JustinM, I suspect it was just as visible before installation. (Possibly before unboxing, too, if it was delivered in a blister pack.) And your implication that Sajeev is apparently going to shed a single tear every time he looks into his truck bed is…a bit absurd.

        That aside, though, I don’t disagree with you, and my reply above didn’t suggest I did. Rather, I’m responding to njd’s apparent persecution complex and “freedom from religion” mindset.

    • 0 avatar
      demcowrgoodeatin

      As a Christian, I agree wholeheartedly with Sajeev, njd, and luke. There is a place and a time for religion and it is in church and within your personal life. It is disgusting for me to see my religion represented in some sort of “Easter egg” that the unknowing customer is meant to find after purchasing the product. The company should be upfront about the symbolism just like Chick-filet and In-and-Out. My religion preaches love and tolerance, this is an example of neither.

      Think about it this way, would you want Atheist symbolism on your vehicle if you are a Christian? I wouldn’t, not because Atheism is evil, (I have many Atheist friends and love them all), but because it does not represent me.

    • 0 avatar
      roadsterguy

      The issue isn’t whether someone has a legal right to engrave a symbol into a commercial item. The issue is respect. Is it respectful to hide a divisive symbol in pictures of a product?

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I agree with you, Sajeev. I’ve always been tempted to get one of those mocking fish that say “Darwin” in the middle and give the fish arms and legs or one that says “Evolution” inside and the fish is holding tools.

    What can I say I enjoy pissing off people who feel they must share their beliefs with the world. I have a decal of Satan smoking a cigar against a background of a “biker cross” or Iron Cross on the back of my truck. Why? Because it makes me smile, not to “worship” him, and I’m sure it disturbs some of the self-righteous people in this fair city.

    Now if you try to run your company on Christan Principles, or Jewish Principles, or Hindu Principles, or Buddist Principles or the Principles of the Flying Spaghetti Monster that’s fine. Just take out an ad in a publication that will reach your target group, you don’t have to incorporate it into your designs.

    • 0 avatar
      njd

      Amen. They also should have make it clear in advertising and packaging that their product is targeted towards Christians. I imagine if I hid a swastika or a blasphemous image of Jesus out of plain sight on a product, there would be an uproar.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        They also should have make it clear in advertising and packaging that their product is targeted towards Christians.

        Close but not quite my point. Example: lets say you truely in the deepest corners of your heart believe that you are running your company on “Christian Principles” (WhateverTF that means). Don’t hide a fish on your product, instead take out an ad in say “Christianity Today” (yeah that is a real publication) and tell their readers about it. Don’t hit me over the head with it by doing like “Bull Ring” and sneaking a symbol in there.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      Dan,

      Creationism is not a fundamental Christian belief. Nor is terrorism a fundamental Islamic belief. Real Christians would not be offended by a fish with arms and legs. These concepts have been co-opted by religious con men to appeal to the bottom 25% of the gene pool who like to keep their view of the world as simple as possible.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        But you see that radical fundamentalism in both Christianity and Islam speaks so loudly that it makes it hard for anyone to hear what the rational are saying. I understand that those are not fundamental beliefs – there is simply too much hypocrisy in the world and many “religious” people try to wrap themselves in their holy book to justify it. This is no different than psudo-patriots who wrap themselves in the flag to justify their own hatred toward various groups of people.

        Ghandhi said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” I completely understand his sentiment. If you espouse to follow the teachings of someone then act like that person.

        For many years I taught 6th grade World History which in the adopted curriculum and standards required that I teach a very small unit on the evolution of man and several units on major world religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Daoism, Judaism, and Christianity – the time period covered was pre-history to the fall of the Roman Empire). Most of my colleauges feared all of those units to the point of barely teaching them (or not teaching them at all) while I embraced them and tried to give all of the religions equal treatment and justice. Fortunately no parent ever took me to task for this and one Hindu family reported that they were finally discussing religion at the dinner table. I was gratified to receive a very nice money clip from the family at the end of the school year as a present.

        A friend of mine (who happens to practice the Ancient religion of her Pueblo) often says; “Be spiritual but don’t be religious, religion will f**k you up.” If you believe in a supreme creator who loves his creation then act like it. That would be my message to ALL members of organized religion.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      Buying and displaying a sticker for the sole purpose of helping you imagine irritating people? Sounds awfully insecure, don’t you think?

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Sounds like my kind of fun. (Yeah I’m that guy.) Trolling fundamentalists is entertaining.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        *Imagining* trolling, you mean — you’re failing to grasp the distinction, but it’s an important one.

        Like I said, it’s insecure to be so obsessed with other peoples’ reactions, but to be obsessed with entirely imaginary ones takes it to a whole different level.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I take it you’ve never gone to In-N-Out burger or Chick-fil-a?

    I don’t think I’d be upset enough to alter the hooks, but I guess everyone has their trigger items.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been to both…and I don’t remember paying for my meal, taking a bite into my sammich and seeing something religious. That’s the only way I see your analogy holding true.

      Feel free to prove me wrong, as you have before.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      @alja: “I take it you’ve never gone to In-N-Out burger or Chick-fil-a?”

      I stopped going to Chick-fil-a about 10 years ago, because of their religious favoritism. I went through the drive-through and they had a sign up that said “show us your church bulletin, and get a discount”.

      I even had a church bulletin in my car, since I’d been visiting some religious members of my family over the weekend and I’d tagged along to their church to catch up with some people I hadn’t seen in a while. But I’m an atheist and I resented Chick-fil-a’s attempt to discriminate against me because of it.

      I’ve only been to Chick-fil-a twice in the 10 years since.

      P.S. The few times that I was actually in the mood for their food happened to have been when I was road-tripping on Sunday, when they’re closed because of their religious beliefs. Being closed on Sundays is a great reminder of why I don’t go there.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        There is a big difference between choosing to be closed, and pushing their religious beliefs. There are numerous camera and electronics stores that are closed on Saturday because of the owner’s beliefs, and I’m ok with that, though I do find it annoying when I want to go there. But I’d be angered if they had a discount for orthodox folks only. I would not be surprised if they got a better discount anyway, but at least there is no sign making it obvious. But I would likely avoid any business that openly pushed any religion.

        Anybody remember US Fidelis, the “faith based” company that offered warranty coverage on cars? Well, the good lord didn’t stop them from screwing thousands of people out of their hard earned cash…so much for religious beliefs helping whit honesty.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @golden2husky:

        There’s nothing wrong with business that closes on a Sunday, just so long as they aren’t pushing some sort of agenda. It’s sometimes a less convenient for me, but that’s all it is.

        In the case of Chick-fil-a, though, being closed on Sunday just reminds me of the time they tried to discriminate against me for not going to church. It reminds me that they respect me less than their christian customers. Since they treat me like second class customer, that makes them a second class business. Fortunately, they’re in a competitive business and I can just go up the street to one of their many competitors.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        “Discrimination” because you didn’t get a discount at a private establishment? Oh, please.

        I always thought that you atheists were supposed to be rational and brave, laughing in the face of a non-existent God and the fate of ultimate oblivion. Yet you guys always seem to get your knickers in a twist over a plastic baby Jeshua in a park, or a free chicken sandwich. Something doesn’t add up.

      • 0 avatar
        JustinM

        Darkwing, your privilege is showing. If it was “just” a chicken sandwich or a plastic statue, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But it’s not. It’s a bunch of stuff, every day, and it adds up. It. Fucking. Adds. Up.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        #firstworldproblems

        My point exactly. You’re precisely as much of a special little snowflake as everyone else you meet. Now put on your big boy pants and get back to work.

      • 0 avatar
        JustinM

        You continue to not get it. It’s cool, you don’t have to. You’ve got no reason to consider that you might have some things a bit easier because, hey, you’ve got it a bit easier so you don’t notice. You don’t even have to listen to others explain what the problem is because you have the privilege not to need to listen.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        I’m still waiting for you to stop whining and articulate how, exactly, this lack of privilege prevents you from getting ahead. Are chicken sandwiches that significant of a line item in your household budget? (Unlikely, since the American atheist is on average white and middle- to upper middle class…)

        I suspect I’ll be waiting a while.

      • 0 avatar
        JustinM

        My first inclination is to tell you to go pound sand, but on the 5% chance you’ve never heard any of this before…

        You can put a Jesus fish on your car without even considering that it might be a target of vandalism. Not so of any emblems or stickers espousing science, reason, or atheism. I’d like a Darwin fish for my car, but frankly I need my car, so it’s not an option.

        You can go anywhere, anytime, and not find yourself at the mercy of those who’d “tell you about the Good News,” and people will see nothing wrong with it.

        Christian billboards are everywhere. Atheist ones, if the ad agencies even approve them in the first place, are often vandalized within days.

        All your holidays from work coincide with the holy days of your religion, and they appear to be the standard such that they don’t even appear to be religious at all anymore.

        If you identify yourself as a Christian, you are immediately assumed by most to be a kind, moral person. Not so of atheists. And you can be kind and moral without being touted as an exception among belief group.

        You can say “Merry Christmas” to someone, and not only will they immediately know what you mean, you can do so without thinking–or caring–how it might affect that person.

        If someone in the media is talking about God, you can be pretty sure it’s yours he’s talking about.

        You can profess your Christianity at work and not fear for your job.

        You can find schools that give attention solely to your religious group.

        Your boss(es) and your government official are almost certainly members of your religious group. Really, this goes for any given authority figure.

        Nobody ever asks you to speak for all Christians.

        Perhaps most telling, if you understood this at all, you could wring your hands over THIS VERY SUBJECT without looking like you’re only in it for yourself.

      • 0 avatar
        darkwing

        Yes, I’ve heard that all before, and I’m disappointed — what a load of tripe. 75% invention, 25% untruth. A near-total load of garbage.

        But I’m sure it makes you feel brave and courageous and persecuted, which I guess is its real purpose.

        Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve just decided to go to Chick-fil-A for lunch. Thanks for the tip!

      • 0 avatar
        JustinM

        Again, you’re wrong. Each and every one of those things is true, and many other things I didn’t bother to talk about.

        And brave, persecuted? Not likely. I’m closeted in “real life” for a reason. I’ve seen how others here have been treated and I have no desire to subject myself to that.

  • avatar
    dartman

    Hey Sajeev-

    As a confirmed atheist I feel your pain brother, it is annoying when the true believers are constantly tattooing products to prove their faith, but It is their right; _____ (choose your own diety..or not) Bless America

    As an adherent to Hinduism I can see where showing your colors can be tough; one of the symbols of Hindu is the swastika, which is definitely out of favor these days unless you are member of the aryan brotherhood.

    May I suggest a more subtle show of your faith appropriate for your Ranger? Since it is the the cow not the bull that is sacred/taboo in the Hindu faith, truck nuts would not be appropriate; but a “truck udder” complete with teats and a vanity plate above that said simply “GOPSTMI” would be awesome. Fellow travelers would understand immediately and all other Texans would think you just were just another republican.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    We’ll give you this if you give us the choice to not like Asian automobiles based upon the same principle.

    • 0 avatar

      Where do you see religious icons on Asian cars?

      • 0 avatar
        John

        Another atheist here WITH a religious icon in my Asian car! Really – I have a Buddhist “good luck while traveling” charm hanging from the rear view mirror. It was given to me by a Japanese friend, and I appreciated the sentiment. I’m fine with people of all religions, as long as they don’t try to shove their religion down my throat. I think that’s what’s bugging you – the company shoved a religious message down your throat, and in a sneaky way at that. If the things had been advertised as “Christian truck tie-downs” I don’t think you would have had a problem?

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Weimer

        Mid ’90′s Mazdas’ symbol, before they went to the current “flying M” was a stylized candle flame – a Zoroastrian symbol for the highest deity named, well, Mazda. It seems that the name was chosen for aesthetic reasons rather than religious, as it resembles Jujiro Matsuda, the founder of the company. The candle was a further stylistic nod towards Zoroastrianism, but people were confused and they moved on.

      • 0 avatar
        strafer

        I always thought the old Mazda logo represented curvy road ahead, befitting the company’s sportiness.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        “Where do you see religious icons on Asian cars?”

        On Mazdas

      • 0 avatar
        JustinM

        The difference is that Mazda wasn’t pushing Zoroastrianism, and most people wouldn’t recognize the symbolism in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        “The difference is that Mazda wasn’t pushing Zoroastrianism, and most people wouldn’t recognize the symbolism in the first place.”

        No, you’re shifting the goal posts. The question being answered is “Where do you see religious icons on Asian cars” not “Where do you see Asian car company actively evangelising a religion through use of that religion’s iconography and nomenclature on its vehicles”

        As to whether most people would or wouldn’t recognise the symbology largely depends on where you take the survey. Many people in Iran and India for example would be aware of the fundamentals of the religion even if relatively few are adherents themselves – perhaps to the point where it may actually be an impediment to selling the vehicles. Indeed another common name for Zoroastrianism is Mazdaism.

  • avatar
    Carl Kolchak

    Here are my observations:

    1. This may be a bit of the “In and Out Burger” school of Christian Witness. Evert “In and Out” burger wrapper has a Bible verse (such as John 3:16, not the actual wording) on it . The owners are Christian and they see it as part of their expression of faith. Writing this makes me hungry for a Double/Double, Animal style, but as I live in the Midwest, no can do.Or…..

    2. This of the fish symbol as something the owners think may translate into this symbol: $. They may have marketing studies that show the purchasers of their products would be more likely to buy a products if it associates somehow with their beliefs.

    I can understand your dismay regarding this. As a Christian Conservative, there are many companies I no longer patronize due to their support of views I oppose. When it come to business and “hot button” issues, Neutral may be the best gear to be in. Ironically, the “Star of David” is the symbol for some gangs so they could be actually dangerous in some areas.

    • 0 avatar
      njd

      Carl,

      I am an atheist and wholeheartedly agree that the best way to express yourself as a consume is to vote with your wallet. However, I think it is immoral to sneak your beliefs in a way that the symbols are only seen AFTER the transaction, when you could just as easily expressed them beforehand. I’ve never eaten at In/Out, but if I bought a burger, and found that the owners were trying to preach to me via greasy cheeseburger wrapping, I’d demand my money back. It doesn’t take a lot of guts to lecture people after you’ve taken their money.

      Thanks

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      There are two In-N-Out Burgers in my area, but I almost never eat at one. I’m somewhat indifferent to their food, and there is always a line around their buildings at meal times. Apparently, not marketing to Christians is one of the huge dumb mistakes of American business, because missing out on atheists isn’t enough to let them keep up with demand.

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    cars are as much a personal expression as they are an item of utility. You thought that you were adding a level of personal expression with an accessory that met your desired aesthetic. You then found out that it did not. So here you are with an accessory that you electively placed on your vehicle as an explicit point of personal expression, and it contains an icon that you find undesirable, if not offensive. Of course you’re upset.

    For what it’s worth, my wife’s Audi has a dash snowflake symbol that illuminates when the outside temperature drops to freezing, and it IS a star of David. I never found it undesirable or offensive (ironic maybe), but then I didn’t choose to put it there like you did with your car.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      “my wife’s Audi has a dash snowflake symbol … and it IS a star of David.”

      I think maybe you don’t know what a Star of David looks like. Every “snowflake” icon I cound find for any make of vehicle (including amany Audis) in a google image search could best be describbed as a fuzzy six-pointed cross. No resemblance to a Star of David whatsoever. Maybe you’ve got that one special vehicle that used a different icon, but I seriously doubt it..

      A Star of David is formed by two concentric equilateral triangles (sometimes superimposed, sometimes interwoven) with one pointing up and one pointing down.

      http://coloring.thecolor.com/color/images/Star%20of%20David.gif

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Closest I’ve ever seen to a full-blown star of David automaker logo was the old Dodge Brothers logo.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    what i’ve found rather ironic is that a fair few of the gun and gun accessories manufacturers are pretty Christian along with slogans and “John 3:16″ etc. engraved onto their items… it is overt but i don’t care enough that it bothers me

    mere fish and the whole Jesus and the 5 loaves and 2 fishes thing isn’t enough to bother me either

    a good product is a good product

    an example of this is the AK47… its a symbol of terrorism and everything that is not Western

    who cares? it was designed by a guy to do something, its a tool

    • 0 avatar
      Les

      Actually the symbol of the fish comes from when Jesus first told his disciples when he recruited them, as fishermen, that they would become, “Fishers of Men.” if they followed him.

      Then it followed that while Christianity was still a heavily persecuted minority religion before the Roman Emperor converted that the symbol for Christianity would be the fish, and Christians would know each other by talking and while noone was looking draw an arc with the toe of their sandals in the dirt. If the other person was a Christian and recognized the gesture they would draw their own arc that intersected the previous one to form an image of a fish.

      [The More You Know][/NBC]

    • 0 avatar
      benders

      IIRC, there was a small company (in Michigan?) making scopes for the US military and sneaking a reference to John 3:16 onto the equipment. The military put a stop to that to avoid the appearance of a holy war in Iraq or Afghanistan.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Correct. The ACOG scope employed by the Army had that on it. Mine is an older model and still does. Honestly it could say Allah Ackbar on it and I wouldn’t care…It’s not whats on the case, its whats under the red reticle that counts.

        And as to stopping it, I think the Military didn’t really care. It was like that for years and no one said anything. I believe it was an A.C.L.U. Lawsuit that stopped it based on the seperation of Church and state.

        I dont think the average Soldier gives 2 shits what’s on it regardless of religion…just make it accurate.

    • 0 avatar
      millmech

      Quoting Gunny Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket:
      “A weapon is only a tool; it’s a HARD HEART that kills.”

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Issues like this always remind me of what I believe to be the most important right for everyone when it comes to speech, religion, assembly, and all other constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.

    Our most important right, by far, is the right to be left alone.

    The sellers of the product have the right to use that symbol. You have the right to purchase that product, and alter it the way you wish.

    All of us have the right to enjoy and comment on your story (or get booted if our behavior violates the rules of this place.)

    There will be no ‘fish police’ knocking at your door tomorrow morning.

    But if there is, go ahead and tell them to jump in the lake.

    • 0 avatar
      njd

      I’m not suggesting there should be fish police, or that the government should in any way restrict our rights to put religious symbols on our products. But I like to think that we as a society operate under mor than just laws. We have morals, and (hopefully) respect. While this company has every right (and forever should) to place a fish on their products, I think the right thing to do would be to be more open about it.

      I’m sure if they found out that one of their steel suppliers was engraving tiny scriptures from the Koran or some other religious text, without their knowledge, they’d be unhappy about it.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven Lang

        I wasn’t responding to your write-up at all. I think your opinion is very well put.

        Part of respect, in my world, comes with the fact that folks are going to sometimes do things that tick you off. The question is whether that person intended to upset you. Or is simply acting out of some sense of compassion and care.

        If you let them know that it bothers you, then you can pretty much take the respect aspect from there.

        Respectful people eventually say they’re sorry or at least try to explain their opinions in a non-confrontational manner. Disrespectful people? Well, you know the rest!

  • avatar
    DaeGoesFast

    Am I the only one that feels that the hypocrisy of this article only exacerbates how unnecessary it is here?

  • avatar
    djn

    I am Jewish and have been surrounded with Christian symbolism my entire life. To those who get bent out of shape by a fish symbol, In-and-Out burger or even a Hebrew National hot dog, all I can say is:

    GET A LIFE!

    • 0 avatar
      iainthornton

      Thank you, it’s good to get some sense from someone. If one person can just ignore it without being worried or bothered, so can everyone else. It’s not like it detracts from the function of the product.

      And who knows? It’s quite possible that the fish stands for something else. The company could probably argue that it signifies something else; for instance, perhaps they started as a business making fishing tackle.

    • 0 avatar
      Les

      I myself was having a hard time seeing what was so offensive (Save perhaps that unlike Chik-fil-A or In-and-Out the manufacture of those clamps didn’t operate an Openly Christian company, and thus blind-sided some people)..

      …but then I’m an Enlightenment Deist who eats at a pizza joint with Christian Rock constantly belting out of the PA system because, “Meh, they have a good salad bar.”

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      @djn: “I am Jewish and have been surrounded with Christian symbolism my entire life. To those who get bent out of shape by a fish symbol”

      The symbols aren’t what’s offensive. Nor are the beliefs. I can’t say I share the beliefs of any major religions, but I’m not one to judge. I’m quite happy for other people to practice and publicly acknowedge their religions.

      What’s offensive is the perceived intent of the symbols. What’s offensive is the pretense that I should participate in someone else’s religion, and/or worship their g-d.

      As soon as something start to look like prosthelytizing, pre-offended and ready for a verbal battle.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Actually, an interesting topic. I have never noticed these symbols or bible references on food products or merchandise I bought, and if I had I never paid them no mind.

    However, what is one person’s religious symbol may be offensive to others, as in the case of Christmas nativity scenes, Jewish symbols and religious artifacts openly displayed in public space.

    If some people feel somehow obligated to pay homage to their God and their religion by broadcasting their faith on their products and their wrappers, each of us can be equally determined to choose to buy or choose not to buy.

    We’re currently on vaca in Hawaii and I have noticed a lot of Tiki Gods on display and on shopping bags and wrappers. Do they count? How about all the religious symbols displayed in the Asian stores here?

    In any case, thanks to Sajeev bringing up this topic, I will be scrutinizing the things I buy for the display of religious fervor on the merchandise and on the wrappers.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I’m with Steve. Minding other people’s business is the root of most evil. So I have a very dim view of religion in general and evangelicals in particular.

    Getting this publicly upset about an out of the way fish logo is a hell of a lot more pushy in your beliefs than a quiet piece of plastic is.

    Grind it off. Send it back. Never buy from them again. But please, STFU about it.

  • avatar
    greaseyknight

    Thank you Sajeev for writing a polite and adult article on such a hot button topic. A website that is ‘obsessed with the cult of cars’ ran an article that was the final nail in the coffin on my readership of that site. My synopsis of it was “Stupid Christians are Stupid”. A polite and reasoned discussion is always welcome, but Ad hominem attacks aren’t. That and not wanting to read about China’s space station or monkey sitting on a car.

  • avatar
    lotherius

    Actually, the In-N-Out Burger bit doesn’t bother me as much as the tie-downs.

    See, when you go to a burger joint, you’re buying a BURGER not a WRAPPER. The wrapper is something I get to throw away. In fact, I get a kind of perverse pleasure throwing away religious materials.

    The tie-downs however are the product itself, not the packaging, that has been turned into promotional material.

    Christians reading this, imagine if you were to purchase an accessory for your vehicle, and it had a pentagram on it. Or perhaps a swastika. How would you feel?

    Now you know how those who do not share your religion feel every time your symbology is forced upon them.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    The owners of B&H Photo are Orthodox Jewish, and their store is closed for all Jewish holidays. I’m an atheist, (a lot of us in this thread huh?) and I have no issues with this. They run a great operation and often beat everybody on price.

    If they started including little Torah versus with every Nikkor lens, then I’d have a problem. I don’t want any kind of religious stamp on anything I pay for.

  • avatar
    jonnyguitar

    I’m with Sajeev. Those guys are tools. I do not get religions of any kind. Would like to see people everywhere behave more morally though.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      That is a good point. Most of the really religious folks beat the drum but fail to live their own lives in the same way as their religion instructs them to. Hypocrisy tends to prevail…

  • avatar
    mazder3

    This is puzzling. Why would a company which doesn’t openly state their religious beliefs on their packaging or website put a Jesus fish so prominently on their product? You’d think they’d at least write “We put this fish here because ‘Jesus saves’ your tiedowns from becoming unhooked!” somewhere.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    Having a religion is like having a wang. It’s great to have one and be proud of it; but you don’t have to whip it out and wave it around in public, or try to cram it down other’s throats.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    I think you’re being a bit overreacting about all of this. Relax. No need to get overly incited with this kind of things. How about us non Moslems living in a predominantly moslem countries? You’ll have a hard time finding food to eat if you’re offended by the “Halal” symbol, which just about every kind of food outlets sports here. If it tastes good, priced right, who cares? Also, some Chinese-owned establishment sometimes have a little altar for their ancestors or something. That’s their belief. Would you be offended because of that? Would you avoid their business because of that?

    Now if businesses refusing to serve you because of your religion, then that’s a problem.

    • 0 avatar
      LALoser

      The difference is Sajeev is writing from a view most hold in the US. I have worked and lived in Muslim countries and while most are considered liberal, they are still quite intrusive. Case in point is the article itself; in the US people can air opinions and thoughts without having violated some “moral or respect” law. I even experienced this in Thailand with the picture of the king everywhere…to show respect…in bars, strip clubs and sex shows…
      There is a difference in entering a business because they have good food, pretty ladies or a great mechanic and a picture, alter, grotto are displayed, verses the symbol or words are printed, cast or sewn onto a product covertly.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    Sajeev, ask yourself which religious symbols you aren’t even noticing, like you did the Star of David. Dodge uses a cross on its front grills, and you better believe Christians see it. Subaru uses the star constellation called The Pleiades, companions of Artemis, daughters of Atlas.(Ha! I forgot, Subaru IS the Pleiades too!) Mazda is named after Uhura Mazda, supreme god of Zoroastrianism, an original one god religion, also present on the Asian subcontinent. Do you want to argue the Pleiades and Mazda are just quaint mythologies, and that Christianity is ‘real’?

    But who’s paying much attention to these symbols?; I’ve read the comments tonight. Still, get out that dremel if you must, but as an immigrant myself, I understand this country has a deep religious history.

  • avatar
    Robert Gordon

    What a load of nonsense. I presume if you’re upset by the tiny fish logo which frankly could be of no religious significance whatsoever, you must be positively apoplectic at the blatant religious iconography adorning many vehicles. Let’s see, Dodge used to have the Star of David as their emblem. Sterling had a massive cross of St George, Cadillac has an emblem that positively drips with crusader symbols and also has a representation of the Holy Trinity, The Alfa Romeo badge goes one step further not only has it the Cross of St George (i.e. crusader cross) it also has Crusader imagery in the serpent eating the moor.

    Lincoln also use a cross as its emblem and the name itself ultimately comes from the Latin portmanteau ‘Lindum-Colonia’ with the Lindum part of the name referencing a sacred celtic religious site. On the subject of cars with religious names look no further than Mazda, who’s name comes directly from the name of the main deity of Zoroastrianism – the religion of the Tata family and Freddy Mercury. Mercury, there’s another – a Roman deity.

    So to sum up, this would appear to be a massive beat up not only does it draw a dubious inference as to the significance of the little fishy, it is also inconsistent in it’s outrage.

    • 0 avatar

      I didn’t purchase any of those symbols. So they don’t bother me.

      And after reading the genesis (as it were) of the Lincoln Continental’s four pointed star, I think their late night, last minute decision was more about 1950s space age themes.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        And possibly because the three-pointed star was already taken…

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        I always thought Lincolns symbol was a stylised “gunsight”, shows what I know.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        Whatever it means the Lincoln symbol is still however a cross, which is THE christian symbol. The fact that you have discovered that it symbolises something else despite that, re-enforces the danger of face value inferences. Do you know for a fact the fish on the tie-down is meant to symbolise their christian faith (or according to you to proselytise it) or is it what you have assumed.

        And the other way more blatant religious symbolism I have mentioned, why have you not then umbrage to them?

      • 0 avatar

        To answer your question again: I didn’t pay for them so they don’t bother me.

        Furthermore, I think your examples are far more subtle than you believe: both Cadillac and Dodge emblems are about as mainstream and agnostic as they get. Dodge hasn’t had a Jewish logo in 80-ish years, Cadillac lost all the detailing when Art and Science took over, I haven’t seen an Alfa on the road in years…so I fail to see the obviousness compared to what I just purchased.

        All of this neglects that fact that BullRings are sold and marketed on performance alone. They never told me there’d be a fish under the ring. The Dodge brothers didn’t hide their logo under the hood, it was there for everyone to see.

        Explain to me how your examples are not an apples to oranges comparison, because jet lag must have the best of me.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        Again you haven’t addressed the gaping hole in your argument which is an assumption that the little fish is indeed intended in this instance to be a religious affirmation – you just believe it to be.

        “To answer your question again: I didn’t pay for them so they don’t bother me.”

        What an absolute cop-out. Cool if you don’t like fish but clearly we are talking here about the a much broader principle of religious iconography on cars (perceived or intentional). Are you saying you are offended by it or not – or is it the fact that it wasn’t obvious. Confusingly you then point out that some of my examples are subtle.

        So how is Mazda a subtle reference to a deity?

        “I haven’t seen an Alfa on the road in years…so I fail to see the obviousness compared to what I just purchased.”

        So I take it from that when Alfa-Romeo shortly make a return to US, you would not consider a purchase or if you did you would be affronted by their badge? Or is that ok because the religious iconography is so in-ya-face on Alfas? In other words are we to take from the argument that you only object to clandestine symbols and you would be cool with a six inch day-glo purple Jesus as a car emblem?

        By the way I have since found out that the Sterling logo was indeed intended to appeal to Christians – it clearly didn’t work very well.

  • avatar
    Les

    It’s a little annoying they weren’t as up-front about being a religiously observant company before selling you their product.. but just because they’re proudly proclaiming their faith doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going out of their way to denigrate yours.. if that’s what’s bothering you.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s the proclamation on MY truck with MY money is what bothers me. I really thought I made that clear, but from the comments, apparently I did not!

      I got over the degradation of my religion when I was in grade school. No biggie, since I am not very religious to start.

      • 0 avatar
        MrWhopee

        I think some clarification is needed here. Is your issue is an unexpected symbol in the product, or is it because that unexpected symbol is a vaguely Christian one? Would you be as mad if that symbol printed there is a Chrysanthemum flower, for example (Imperial Japanese symbol)? Or some Chinese lettering, perhaps? Or the Illuminati logo? Or a turtle? Are you mad because there’s a symbol (any symbol) printed there when you do not expect any?

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t want any symbols. I was not expecting them.

        Yes, I had to deal with people who thought I was going to hell because I am not Christian, and YES that complicates things immensely, but I wanted nothing there. No surprises, just some hooks to hold down my recycling.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Speaking of symbols on vehicles, what about Dodge’s adoption of a version of the Wehrmacht Balkenkreuz or the Chevy SS? I don’t think anyone at either company is deliberately trying to put national socialist symbols on vehicles, but it does make you wonder.

    The Dodge logo doesn’t really bother me, but I have to admit I’d have a tough time giving my holocaust survivor uncle a ride in a Chevy SS. It didn’t seem as bad when it was a model variant, but a dedicated SS model does seem to cross the line.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wehrmacht

  • avatar
    slow kills

    So the overt bull logo is untroubling and purely secular, but the non-despript fish (a tweaked oval) that can only be seen from unlikely angles is?
    Sensitive, aren’t we?

    • 0 avatar

      Yep. Welcome to the world of auto bloggers.

      • 0 avatar
        LALoser

        I agree with Sajeev. It is cheesy of them to put that on a finished product without making it clear to the buying customers. They know that if it were made clear upfront it would bring in some customers, and repel others. The same with In-N-Out; if they posted John 3:16 on the entrance door, some would love it, some would walk away, and most would not care…but the true impact is unknown as only the fringe on either side with make a stink or praise it.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Gordon

      Oh the bull, yes we’ll now we’re getting into Mithra(s) another Persian Zoroastrian diety that sajeev has overlooked.

  • avatar
    Szyznyk

    Don’t lump all branches of Christianity together. The Jesus Fish is one of those low-rent, Sarah Palin, snake-handling Protestant things that we Catholics just laugh at as we polish our St. Christopher medallions and ask St. Anthony to help us find our car keys.

    • 0 avatar
      Mathias

      That’s funny. St. Anthony was a favorite of my late grandma’s, especially as she got older. It’s good to have a system.

      I’m with Sajeev on this one. I don’t want religious symbols on my stuff any more than I want bumper stickers. It’s not that I think I’m special, but few of my opinions are simple enough to express in three words. And I do not want to make it easy for people to pigeonhole me. I’m a churchgoing catholic, I was raised that way, I’m neither proud nor ashamed of it, it’s just part of who I am. It doesn’t define me, and I’m not going to label myself.

      I certainly do not want to be lumped in with the anti-learning, anti-science, anti-evolution christian-right folks. You know, the people who want to dictate to God how to go about creation. That to me is wrong every which way.

      And that’s what I think of when I see the fish, rightly or wrongly. So go ahead, grind it off. It’s inconspicuous enough that it doesn’t really matter, but I agree, they should not put it on their sold product.

      Something just hit me. Having said all that, if it were my truck, and the symbol were, say, St. Christopher… I wouldn’t want to buy it for the stated reasons… but I don’t think I could bring myself to remove it. So much for being rational.

    • 0 avatar
      millmech

      Didn’t Saint Christopher get busted down to Mister sometime in the 1960s? Wouldn’t they now be Mister Christopher medals?

  • avatar
    dejal1

    Why don’t you ask them?

    Bull Accessories LLC
    (Manufacturer)
    179 Enterprise Pkwy
    Boerne, TX 78006
    Phone: 888-879-2855
    800 Phone: 888-879-2855
    Contact Person: Don Egigian
    Fax: 888-493-0909
    info@bullamerica.com
    http://www.bullamerica.com

    BTW, it is safe to use Proctor and Gamble products these days. They dumped their logo in 1985 because of people just like you knuckleheads.

    • 0 avatar
      JustinM

      Darkwing, this is exactly what I mean.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Finally . . . some sanity! I was waiting for someone to suggest the obvious: contact the manufacture and ask them WTF is that fish doing on my D-ring dohickey?!!

      If the answer is: because we want to plaster your vehicle with Christian symbols when it’s too late to do anything about it, then get pissed off, and then in a more reasonable tone say that you respectfully suggest that doing so: (1) is more likely to make Christianity repellent to non-Christians than attractive and (2) is disrespectful to customers who don’t share their religious beliefs or even those who do share their religious beliefs but don’t want them plastered all over the interior of their vehicle.

  • avatar
    hifi

    I believe most mass produced religious symbols are insincere, trashy and completely disconnected from one’s personal relationship with god. Bumper stickers, t-shirts, and cheap plastic junk with some sort of overt or inconspicuous religious thing isn’t illegal, but it’s disgusting. As a Christian, I’m getting increasingly worried about the collective mass of fundimental idiots that speak on behalf of most religions and appear to be twisting religion to serve an agenda. Especially Christianity. Unless I’m in a church, synagogue or other place of faith, I don’t care to hear about what anyone has to say about any type of religion. I’d probably return those tie-downs, or grind off the offending fish.

  • avatar
    hglaber

    The difference (for me at least) between, say, the In-n-Out wrappers and this situation is nobody would assume the printing on the burger wrapper was meant to be the consumer making a statement. Everyone with half a brain would know it was the owners’ of the restaurant’s statement, which is fine with me.

    However, when you affix symbols (or stickers or truck nutz or whatever) to your vehicle, especially aftermarket accessories, the general consensus is it is done deliberately as a statement BY THE OWNER OF THE VEHICLE. While admittedly this one is quite subtle, especially since the symbol is clearly statement-making is not the point of the device but attached to a device that is meant for another purpose, it is still a little too presumptive for me.

    Now, had they molded the fish into the underside, where the purchaser/installer would see it and understand the manufacturer was saying “We are a Christan company” but it would be hidden once installed so as not to imply the owner was trying to make a Christian statement, I would be fine with that.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Sajeev –

    “My truck my money”. If you can accept that they had the freedom to put the fish there, then surely you can accept that you have the freedom to scratch it off.

    Given that the manufacturer is ostensibly Christian and builds its products with a fish on it, is the objection that you shouldn’t have to pay for something with a religious symbol that you do not agree with? In that case, you should chuck the bullrings, because it is a non-negotiable on the part of the manufacturer… that’s who they are, that’s what they do.

    If on the other hand, you merely object to the presence of the symbol, and not what it stands for, then your logical course of action is to merely scratch the fish off.

    Recap – If it is offensive to you because what it stands for, then this really shouldn’t be an discussion, you would have returned or thrown away the offending part. If its is merely a matter of personal preference, then it is arguably not offensive in the first place.

    However, you got beat up verbally for not being a Christian. Some of us here got beat up physically as kids because we are. The world is not as aethist as you might think, after all, so many of our institutions, YMCA, Alcoholics Anonymous, Red Cross, etc were founded by Christians. Your objection is very much emotional, because it focuses on your response. However, it might be nice to flip the coin and consider it from the standpoint of the manufacturer… after all, I’d like to think that giving the customer a quality product is also a Christian value as well.

    • 0 avatar
      LALoser

      The emotional response from you or Sajeev being abused because of belief is wrong. Always has been, but enforcement of the rules were slow. Now, about scratching off symbols…and Sajeev please correct me if I am wrong: It would be like you StuntMonkey being sold a product and to your surprise it had “666″ or Isis on it, and when you complain people tell you to grind it off and/or get over it. Does that seem square? Should it have been made clear upfront so you could have made your own choice before spending money?

      • 0 avatar
        stuntmonkey

        > Does that seem square?

        Yes, because I was being very pragmatic and amoral about it.

        To be honest, in my value system, symbols stand for something greater, but they in themselves stand for nothing. If you wear a swastika, that’s asshattery, but I do not equate that with being an anti-Semite, it is the actions that speak, not the symbols.

        If you don’t believe that something has power over you, then your actions can follow accordingly. For example, I know many Christians who do yoga, karate, etc, despite the religious influences, without fear of compromising their own faith. And I admit that there are those who won’t associate at all, not even for the slightest hint of another religion. And you know, the faith makes allowances for both types, so long as it is for the benefit for the benefit of the faith and the community. If one group does karate for health, it is not for the abstain group to criticize them for dabbling in Shinto, because that is clearly not what is happening. Likewise, those practicing karate shouldn’t criticize those who abstain completely, if they do so in a way that strengthens what the community believes in.

        So in the same way, my suggestion is no a critique on what Sajeev believes, but an an examination of where the logical train of thought takes us. I would not be offended if he removed the symbol.. there is no point in him having it since he is clear that he doesn’t share in the belief. My point was that in this case, are we clear if the objection was to the process (he feels duped) or to what the symbol stands for? My point was, if it was only about the process and not the principle, then removing the fish wold be a perfectly rational thing to do.

        My only really difference of opinion is the manufacturer does have a right to put that there. In a free society, religious symbols do not qualify as either hate speech or endangerment. If they did, then you can kiss Hebrew National hot dogs goodbye. And just a bit of history, the fish isn’t a symbol of in-your-face proselytization. It was used as a means of identifying friends during the Roman persecution. As a choice of symbols, the cross would be a stronger more overt symbol, the choice of the fish is definitely more subtle.

      • 0 avatar

        The manufacturer has every right to put it there, but perhaps they should consider the diversity of their customer base.

        At least tell me about what I’m about to see. Nobody likes surprises when it comes to their religious beliefs.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        So hang on, not ten posts above you say it is symbols in general that light your fuse now it has reverted back to religion again?

        So once again is the issue?

        A) That there is a hidden symbol there or
        B) There is a hidden symbol there and you believe it to be religious or
        C) That you in general dislike religious symbols on consumer goods.

        Your position does not appear to be obvious and in fact seems to vacillate between the above three options.

  • avatar
    Pan

    Have a look at the radiator of a Dodge out of the 1920′s and see what the Dodge brothers had on their rad after borrowing a lot of money for their nameplate.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    This is an ENTIRELY appropriate conversation topic for a car site. I commend everybody here for approaching it in a sensitive way.

    I must admit that I really find myself conflicted here.

    I am Roman Catholic by upbringing, but I don’t follow the Church so much because it’s a very messed up organization with infighting, secrecy, and jealousy. The latter is a sin! And in my opinion, the Church never properly responded to the incidents of pedophilia. There are still too many cases of coverup and secrecy there for me to “come home” as it were.

    However, I do have a strong faith in God and I believe that when we listen, His word does improve life and make us better people; I just don’t go with the dogma of the churchgoing crowd.

    I will, however, attend church for functions with family or friends. I will not diss the Church to my family or friends because it would serve no greater good to do so and because it is not my desire to change anybody’s belief system to match my own.

    Likewise, I do not feel an affinity to people who are atheist, because I am simply not in their camp. I have friends who are, yes; but I won’t “pile on” when they start in on their thing.

    So here’s where my conflict comes in. Or maybe it’s not so much of a conflict. Symbols don’t bother me so much, if they’re not flying “loud and proud” on my person. But hidden symbols? Mostly they don’t bother me.

    Behavior has a lot to do with it for me, I think. I do not want the symbols of any organization (religion or “other”) that has expressed hatred and a desire to enslave or kill non-believers. I’ll give you a hint…it ain’t Spongebob Squarepants or the Mickey Mouse Club.

    But beyond that one exception, I don’t find it offensive for somebody to express their religion by applying a symbol on their product. There is/was a plastics company in rural Southern Ohio that had a HUGE cross on the front of their plant. I mean a monsterously HUGE cross. To me that in itself is not offensive unless the company engages in hypocritical behavior.

    Sometimes I think Hollywood and Washington are potentially more dangerous to the fabric of society than most religions. /jab

  • avatar
    Ex Radio Operator

    If you are so gdamd upset with the fish symbol put them back in the box and return them. I am sure there are other products that do the same job that are available. This is so childish it is asinine.

    • 0 avatar
      LALoser

      Why are you so upset? Your response to swear and be dismissive of someone’s concern insted of joining is along the same lines that helped bring Sajeev and StuntMonkey to their current stance. Is that positive?

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Do you think that this company will charge a restocking fee, make Sajeev pay shipping, or even refuse to refund based on his reason to return?

      • 0 avatar
        DaveDFW

        It doesn’t matter. Assuming Sanjeev paid with a credit card he has a 95% chance of getting a refund through the dispute process.

        If the fish company wants their stuff back, they’ll accept a return. If they balk, they’ll lose their payment and merchandise.

      • 0 avatar

        The Dremel is faster than the restocking process, even if I don’t need to get PayPal involved. Yes, I bought them on eBay from a distributor of Bull Rings, which complicates things immensely. Better just to remove the fish and move on.

  • avatar
    DaveDFW

    I suspected this was a product from Texas. Suspicion confirmed.

    You’ll find lots of this around here. Experience has shown me a high correlation between business displays of Christian fish and the likelihood that they’ll go out of their way to screw you. Seeing one of these out in the open really tells me, “shop somewhere else.”

    This one is more sneaky–it’s not prominently displayed; none of their promotional photos show it. However, there is one Amazon review complaining of the same thing.

    Return the product and tell them why.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “I was surprisingly upset when I saw the fish icon under the ring. I didn’t pay for this”

    To be fair, you’re paying for whatever the maker of the product is selling. If the company wants to print “Jesus was a Hippy Loser” or “Death to all Americans” on it, that’s their business; it’s your decision whether or not to do business with them.

    That being said, it’s not smart to offend some of your customers with stuff that produces no value for the product itself. Anecdotally, my experience with folks who tout their religion when selling a non-religious product is that they tend to use their holy marketing to draw attention away from an inferior product.

    In this case, however, it’s possible that the manufacturer didn’t intend to communicate the message that you think that it is. The company website has no religious overtones whatsoever, as far as I can tell. The Christian Ichthus also doesn’t have a closed tail, so this fish doesn’t exactly look the same as the religious symbol. Perhaps the intent was to go with an animal theme (bull, fish, etc.)

    • 0 avatar

      You are assuming that their promotional materials on the Internet (where I did my research and make the purchase) mentions their religious beliefs. It does not. I didn’t know “everything” they were selling until I was installing them.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “You are assuming that their promotional materials on the Internet (where I did my research and make the purchase) mentions their religious beliefs.”

        No, I said quite the opposite — I pointed out that the website had nothing Christian that I noticed.

        And that supports my contention that the fish symbol may not be intended to be a Christian symbol. If these guys were relentless Bible beaters, then I would expect to see it on their website, too.

        As I also noted, the fish symbol is not identical to the Christian Ichthus. It may not be intended to be a religious symbol, and you may be misinterpreting it.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      I agree with Pch101, this is not intended to be a religious symbol. If it was intended as such it is a very poor attempt. Sorry but I don’t see how this connection was made. Looks like a plain old fish to me.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        I agree, there is nothing in this that suggests it is intended to be a Christian symbol.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I agree with Pch101, this is not intended to be a religious symbol”

        That’s not quite what I said. I said that I didn’t know, but that I had some reasons to suspect that it wasn’t.

        Whoever suggested contacting the company had a good idea. And if the story proves to be inaccurate, then a correction is warranted.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    I’m amazed and dismayed by the amount of criticsm that Sajeev has gotten. This is important to him and should be treated accordingly, not dismissed as “childish” or “hypocritical”.

    If this symbol was near the Bull name, address or whatever, clearly associated with the company, I’d find it acceptable. It might prevent me from getting the product, but at least the inference is clear. This, OTOH, is way outside the pale.

    Sajeev, is there a similar product without the fish? Can you email the company and find out their story. It would be interesting to find out their reasoning and the responses that you’re getting in a followup article. They may be more responsive than we think.

    • 0 avatar

      I haven’t seen anything similar, and like I said in the post, my Dremel can remedy the problem. The mere fact that I have to Dremel this product to fit with my values/religion/culture/whatever is at the heart of this blog post.

      My truck, my money, my beliefs.

  • avatar
    millmech

    The tone cries out for this
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIRIgjLHUIw&feature=fvwrel
    If you prefer more jazzy/bluesy-

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Maybe the company just likes Pepperidge Farms products? Does anyone not eat Pepperidge Farms Goldfish due to a religious conflict?

  • avatar
    22_RE_Speedwagon

    Trout Unlimited strikes again.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Did nobody else get the irony of the article title? “In God We Trust” is emblazoned on U.S. currency, itself a contentious issue for some, given the separation between church and state. The thread is just a microcosm of an ongoing issue.

    • 0 avatar
      LALoser

      As is should be. When one private group gains too much influence over government it always goes bad for the people.It was true in the past and continues today in many countries. Please note the “private group” which could be anything, it’s just that religion is top of the list for many.

    • 0 avatar

      Thank you for noticing that. I hope the irony was entertaining…and nothing more.

  • avatar
    daiheadjai

    In the end, in North America, we live (thankfully) under the protection of various Constitutions and Charters, all of which defend one’s freedom of speech and freedom of conscience and religion (atheist/monotheist/polytheist et al).

    The owners of the company has every right to put symbols of their faith on their product, just as you, the end user, have the right to modify it to your liking or according to your conscience.

    The only “strike” I can see against this company is that they didn’t advertise that their products have this design – but perhaps they didn’t expect it to be offensive.
    Ultimately, in a free marketplace of ideas (and products) we are free to choose where to throw our support – if you find the religion of a business owner irksome, there is always the right to choose an alternative. As long as no one is forcing you to adhere to their religion (which is very different from proselytizing as you still have the right to disagree or ignore), I don’t think there is a problem – In your place, if I found a symbol or something that either bothered me, or that I disagreed with, I would do the same thing (i.e. remove it) and maybe purchase from other businesses.

    • 0 avatar
      JustinM

      It is typical of Christians in general and conservative ones in particular to think that nothing related to their religion could possibly be offensive to anyone.

      That alone offends me.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    This has been one hilarious read!

  • avatar
    Dukeboy01

    In the main photo of the ring on the company homepage, you can tell that there is an oval shaped design element under the hook, although it doesn’t show the fish’s tail. If you watch the “How- to- install” video on the company website, there’s a pretty clear shot of the Jesus fish at 00:29.

    So they didn’t blatently advertise that they are a Christian company? I don’t think that they tried to hide it either. Getting bent out of shape over it is silly either way. Grind it off, return it, whatever. Letting it consume your afternoon is a waste of time and happiness.

    • 0 avatar
      daiheadjai

      There’s no way to win with this issue.
      If they advertised themselves as a company owned/run by Christian or Muslim workers/owners (I tend to think other religions, being less prominent in North America and Europe, tend to get a free pass), you’d still have people complaining.

      And if they don’t advertise themselves as such, you’d still have people complaining.

      In a marketplace of ideas, products and worldviews, there is no “right” not to be offended – and if there were, there would simply be no ideas, no products, and no worldviews – perfect silence as it were…

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    you are all WAY too sensitive. If it was some other symbol, would you care ? And what makes you think automatically that the fish is a symbol of Christianity or ANY religion ? Maybe the maker of the product is a huge fishing fan. Maybe one of his/her children designed the company logo. There could be dozens of other reasons that there is a decorative fish on the product. And does it even show ? But even if it IS a Christian symbol, so what ? Does it so offend you that you worry for more than 30 seconds about it ?
    … But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also
    deny before my Father which is in heaven. …
    It is your choice, I can’t and won’t choose for you. This is still a semi-free country.
    By the way, I love Hebrew National hot dogs.

  • avatar
    Robert Gordon

    Egg on face time – it turns out Bull Ring tie downs are made by Keeper Corporation. The fish logo is a play on words with a ‘keeper’ also being vernacular for a fish that is good enough to keep.

    Pwned….

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      While that explanation definitely makes sense, did you write the company and get that response or find a link where that story is given?

      Searching around only finds references to a “Christian fish” on the tie downs, but it isn’t from any official source and I couldn’t find anything else from Keeper that used a fish symbol.

      Really, I think Sajeev should give Bull Ring a call on Monday and get the real story behind the fish.

    • 0 avatar
      DaveDFW

      As long as we’re just making up plausible explanations, the symbols could just as easily be interpreted as references to “my brother’s keeper.”

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Perhaps the manufacturer is an avid sportsman and is simply pushing a pro-Bass Anglers Sportsman’s Society (B.A.S.S.) agenda. As a trout fisherman, I am deeply offended.

    If it wasn’t for Sajeev’s disclaimer I would be mad at seeing this on here, but I was warned.

    We should only allow the true religions to be discussed on here…you know, Ford vs. Chevy, Stick vs. Auto, that sort of thing. I can read the discussions on Drudge if I want this sort of stuff.

  • avatar
    Mr Nosy

    Hey Sajeev,Did ya hear the one about the gay Catholic? He couldn’t decide whether the Pope was Fabulous,or Simply Divine! Ba-Dump-Bump! Now hear my tale of “Whoah”.In the mid 90′s when I & every other urban Heaux-Meaux was all Queer Nation ‘n’ stuff, I was going to send my baptismal certificate back to my local Archdiocese (All righteously defaced in some queer performance “statement”.)Upon digging it out from what the Germans refer to as “my papers”,I discovered that I was baptized at St Dorothy’s,with my(Still Turbo-Catholic,but cocktail loving.)Auntie “Em”(Emily) stated as my godmother-two Judy Garland references right there! Cosmic,kind sir.Now also, didja know my next door neighbors(Church going Mexican immigrants.)have a postcard of Ganesh tacked up on their front door,courtesy of their bratty,cosmopolatina national honor roll daughter?So ya see? It all balances out.Besides any modifications done to your tie-downs will void the warranty.Paint a red dot over the fishies,if it bothers you that much.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    Sajeev is right to be upset in that get got a product that didn’t mention it’s religious message.

    People have a right to have their message heard, not so sure they have a right to hide that message everywhere they can. They do, but suppose you are Muslim/Hindu/Shinto/Buddhist etc. Should they also be allowed to hide their hidden religious messages on their products. How about inside your iPhone, and how do you know inside your iPhone it isn’t hidden, made in China, where there is a huge Buddhist population.

    I think that IF he has a problem and it requires a warranty replacement the very least they can do is honor it because he was objecting on religious grounds. Something that the USA was founded on.. freedom of religion.

    Ehh, sadly there is no winner here, they have a good product with an objectional message. If I’m ever looking for something like this, I’ll go somewhere else, I wont’ patronize people who feel they have to hide their religious symbols in things they try to sell me.

    Nice thing about the USA is that I can choose, not everyone gets that choice in the world.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Some recent (2009 or newer) study pegged the atheist/non-denomination population at about 30%.

    Maybe we’ll finally get a seat at the table.

    “Take it outside, Godboy”. – Superintendent Chalmers

    “Look I’m glad you really like a book” – Patton Oswalt (?)

  • avatar
    Marko

    I’m not going to get into my personal beliefs, but how do you know what the fish is supposed to stand for? Just because it’s a fish on a car, doesn’t mean it’s an Ichthus. Perhaps it IS a religious symbol…of Trout Unlimited! Those Trout Unlimited fundamentalists are a scary bunch!

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    It must be a slow day at TTAC.

    In other news, this morning I saw my first 2013 Dodge Dart. These are starting to ship and one is parked in front of the local Dodge dealer. It is a Rallye model with the 1.4 liter MultiAir turbo engine and a six-speed manual transmission. I did not notice any religious symbols, but the dealer has added a $2,500 “market adjustment” to the price.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    Sajeev, I get where you are coming from. Dremel away.

  • avatar
    creedpunks

    I work for a company that sells Bull Ring anchor points under our own brand name. We recently discovered the fish after selling these for several years now. There is only one company makes “Bull Ring” as it is a patented design. They are sold under many different brand names, but Bull Ring makes them and packages them with the various brands graphics and packaging. If the Bull Rings are sold in a catalog or in a clamshell package it is impossible to know that the fish symbol is there before purchasing. I bet, 90% or more of the people who purchase them don’t even know the symbol is there. If it bothers you that much, return them. But a privately owned company can put whatever symbol they want on their products, but they face alienating some customers like the did to you. If you bought them form Ford, I bet Ford doesn’t know the symbol is there, but they are the best anchor point on the market and worth keeping. You will get over it or you could take a chisel and cut the symbol out if it bothers you that much.

  • avatar
    Mullholland

    Sajeev,
    Firing up your Dremel and spending even a moment grinding is a desire too engaged with the opposing/offending force. Eastern belief systems would encourage detachment.
    What you need to seek out is a sticker/badge of the world’s smallest Ford blue oval, but just big enough to cover the fish.
    Now, let’s have a deep cleansing breath.

  • avatar
    300zx_guy

    Sajeev, admit it, this is really about your distaste for black plastic triangles, and that’s what you see when you look at the fish’s tail.


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