For some years
now one has found along the roads and highways of Italy the
spray-painted message, Dio c’è. This is true
all over the peninsula as well as in Sicily and Sardinia.
More often than not, the message is painted on an official
highway sign, done hastily but legibly, and seemingly all
by the same hand. The existence of God as graffito. I try
to imagine him, driving north and south, east and west, spray
can at the ready, periodically stopping to insist in paint
that God exists.
Given the fact
that there are more churches than traffic signs in Italy,
that on its roads one constantly comes upon shrines, Madonnas,
crosses, the American tourist wonders at the need for those
sprayed reminders. It is easier to imagine some disgruntled
atheist covering the countryside with Dio non c’è in
protest against the countless religious reminders.
We live in a
time when t-shirts bear assertions, where bumper stickers
have legends displaying the political bent of the driver;
there are even signs in car windows telling us that there
is a baby aboard. At football games, blimps float overhead
flashing messages at the crowd and from time to time a plane
flies over trailing a banner on which some fellow proposes
marriage to a young lady below. Perhaps this is the context
in which we should regard that reiteration of Dio c’è
in Italy and ‘Christ is the Answer’ on American roads. They
are a profession of faith appropriate to the age of advertising.