SUV Owners of America Statement in Response to 'What Would Jesus Drive?' Campaign's Latest Michigan Version

TROY, Mich., Sept. 15 -- Today in Lansing, Michigan, the small but vocal Evangelical Environment Network, along with the Michigan Interfaith Climate and Energy Campaign, will start another round of silliness, this time called "What Should the Governor Drive?" in conjunction with the "What Would Jesus Drive?" campaign. The following statement is attributable to Jason H. Vines, SUVOA president:

"It is apparent that the 'What Would Jesus Drive' campaign has changed course since SUVOA answered their question with our 'What Does Jesus Rivera Drive?' announcement and advertisement this past July.

"What also is apparent is that since the EEN started their misguided campaign to demonize SUV owners, they have done nothing more than turn off people. However, despite the ridiculousness of their efforts, including those today in Lansing, there is a horrible side effect to their campaign. (See timeline below.)

"Since launching their campaign on November 20, 2002, this country has disturbingly seen an upswing in the number of domestic terrorism attacks on SUVs and SUV owners. In fact, there have been five major attacks, including a horrific fire in California just last month. With their misguided efforts and often times fact-challenged statements, people like Arianna Huffington of the Detroit Project, Rev. Jim Ball and Rev. Bob Edgar of the EEN and Robert Kennedy Jr., of the Natural Resources Defense Council, are doing nothing more than encouraging the dangerous and criminal antics of out-of-control zealots.

"While we believe these groups do not condone such activity, those who have generated the greatest amount of media coverage are creating an atmosphere where it is open season on SUV owners and their vehicles. It must stop.

"Sadly, since these incidents of domestic terrorism have increased, EEN and some of their like-minded extremists have not uttered a single word condemning this terrorist activity against SUVs and SUV owners. We ask, why not?

"It must be noted that the 'What Would Jesus Drive?' campaign and Arianna Huffington's Detroit Project are run by the same publicity firm, Fenton Communications of San Francisco, California.

"Our answer to EEN's 'What Should the Governor Drive?': whatever Governor Jennifer Granholm believes will get the job done in the most effective and efficient manner for the people of Michigan she serves and her family. If that is an SUV because of its superior safety, utility and versatility -- then so be it. Of course, she would not be alone. More than 24 million Americans including well over one million Michiganders enjoy their SUVs every day."

                         The SUV-Bashing Timeline
                 (Domestic Terrorism Events Asterisked*)

  1999                SUVOA founded by a retired businessman from Wisconsin
                      tired of SUVs constantly getting attacked in the
                      media.

  October 21, 2000    Robert Lind of San Francisco discusses his vigilante
                      bumper sticker campaign against SUVs on National
                      Public Radio.

  March 30, 2001      *More than 30 Chevrolet Suburbans and Tahoes scorched
                      or destroyed in $1 million Oregon fire.  "Anonymous"
                      group takes credit.

  June 20, 2001       Union of Concerned Scientists releases "Drilling in
                      Detroit," criticizing SUVs.

  July 4, 2001        *The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) takes responsibility
                      for the destruction of eight Ford Expeditions by arson
                      at Michigan Ford dealership.

  November 24, 2001   Robert Kennedy, Jr., senior attorney for the NRDC,
                      joins the anti-SUV camp, speaking out against SUVs in
                      a New York Times op-ed.

  July 2002           *The ELF continues campaign of domestic terrorism on
                      SUV owners by launching a wave of destruction in
                      Richmond, Virginia.

  September 17, 2002  Release of new book attacking SUVs: "High and Mighty:
                      SUVs: The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They
                      Got That Way."

  October 21, 2002    Columnist Arianna Huffington writes a column
                      suggesting a link between SUVs and terrorism.

  Fall 2002           Americans for Fuel Efficient Cars (AFEC) is co-founded
                      by Arianna Huffington.  The group attacks SUVs,
                      linking SUVs to funding terrorism.

  November 20, 2002   Rev. Jim Ball and the Evangelist Environmental Network
                      (EEN) jump on the anti-SUV bandwagon and launch the
                      "What Would Jesus Drive?" campaign.

  November 25, 2002   In her column, Huffington writes: "How nice it must
                      feel for SUV owners, knowing that their swaggering
                      imprudence is helping the world's anti-democratic oil
                      sheiks sleep just a little better at night."  (She
                      later tells the New York Times, "I have nothing
                      against SUV owners."  Sept. 2, 2003)

  November 27, 2002   *The ELF takes credit for the destruction of 40 SUVs
                      in Richmond, Virginia (dating back to July 2002).

  January 2003        The Detroit Project, started by the AFEC, releases to
                      media copy of commercial linking SUVs to terrorism.

  January 2, 2003     *The ELF takes credit for the destruction of SUVs at a
                      Pennsylvania dealership.

  January 29, 2003    Bashing SUVs, Robert Kennedy, Jr. appears on the Today
                      Show.

  May 7, 2003         The Detroit Project and the NRDC release an ad
                      claiming Detroit has the answer to increase fuel
                      efficiency, but is keeping it a secret.

  May 28, 2003        "What Would Jesus Drive?" begins a tour of the "Bible
                      Belt."

  July 14, 2003       "What Would Jesus Drive?" tour is scheduled final stop
                      in Washington D.C.

  August 1, 2003      *The ELF takes credit for torching a huge apartment
                      complex under construction in San Diego, California.

  August 22, 2003     *The ELF destroys 20 SUVs and a building in arson fire
                      at an auto dealership in West Covina, California.

  September 2, 2003   *Vandals shoot-out windows, slash tires and "key" 22
                      vehicles at Houston, Texas dealership.

  September 6, 2003   *A Santa Fe, New Mexico Land Rover dealership is
                      vandalized, the letters ELF are spray painted on
                      several SUVs.

SUVOA was formed to give voice to the 24 million SUV owners whose rights are being trampled by special interest and activist groups, as well as to provide consumers with practical information about their SUVs. Founded in 1999, the group actively defends the rights of SUV owners and rebuts false charges regarding the safety and environmental record of SUVs. For more information, visit www.suvoa.com .

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