Mark Driscoll ‘Apologizes’ for SUV Comment: ‘I Am Sorry That You Do Not Have a Sense of Humor’

At a recent Christian conference, shock jock Pastor Mark Driscoll opened up with some comments about men who wear skinny jeans (they’re not real men, of course). At one point, he remarked, “If you drive a minivan, you’re a mini man” (Again with the “All men act like me!” routine). And he also said this:

“I know who made the environment and he’s coming back and going to burn it all up. So yes, I drive an SUV.”

Ah, yes… The old “Who cares about the environment because Jesus is coming back soon” line. It’s been used by evangelicals before.

Driscoll has been roundly criticized for the remarks — and reports say that some Christians even walked out of his talk after he said that.

Now, Driscoll is offering a fake apology for his comment: He’s not really against the environment, you guys. He was just joking around.

I call it a “fake apology” because he blames everyone except himself for just not getting it:

Did you hear the one about the preacher who told a joke?

It must be a slow news week… apparently I got in trouble for making a burger out of a sacred cow.

According to people who, unlike me, go on the Internet, some did not understand I was telling jokes and people were laughing.

To those who misunderstood the context, I am sorry if you were troubled. To those who understood context and still ranted, I am sorry that you do not have a sense of humor.

Worst. Apology. Ever.

It’s all our fault for not understanding that he was just joking when he said the kind of thing he says all the time.

I guess his anti-gay remarks are jokes, too? No, of course not, because Driscoll is proudly anti-gay.

What about his comments about women? Not jokes, because Driscoll demeans women all the time.

Was Driscoll joking when he warned parents not to let their children see the Twilight movies? No, totally serious.

Was Driscoll joking when he told people yoga was anti-Christian? Nope.

So why should we think he’s joking when he makes comments about the environment that fall in line with crazy evangelical thinking?

Driscoll added that he loves the environment. He even recycles and buys organic food, so screw all of you who think he’s against it.

Then comes the best part.

He explains how humor works. (Because, you know, he’s the expert.) He literally writes, “I may as well teach a bit on comedy.” (You already do, Mark. Every Sunday morning. OH SNAP!)

Jesus was funny. This fact is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of Jesus’ entire earthly ministry.

Yes… Driscoll is just like Jesus, that King of Hilarity.

You know, “I’m sorry” would’ve sufficed. Try that next time.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Daniel Brown

    Ah, the old “It was a joke” defense when what you say backfires.

    Was using the phrase “scared cow” a way to keep the insults coming? It’s a reference to Hinduism, and it would seem he’s using the term for his own benefit.

    Sure, most people use “sacred cow” without understanding it’s origin and thus aren’t using it for religious reasons… but he chose to lead in Christianity so he is someone who should have done his homework on all religions to be able to be so certain on the one he choice. And to be certain on all religions, means to understand Hinduism and what it contains.

    • kagekiri

      Huh, is it Hindu? I always assumed it was from the Bible, where the Israelites make a cow idol out of gold jewelry while Moses is getting the 10 commandments or whatever. Or maybe that’s “Holy cow” (which was considered swearing by my conservative church…same with Holy Smokes and jeez).

      • Mario Strada

        I thought the biblical idol was a mutton, or something like that. But I am too lazy to google it right now.

      • MargueriteF says the term originated “in reference to the traditional inviolability of the cow among Hindus.”

      • Paul D.

        “Sacred cow” is a reference to attitudes towards cows among Hindus, and is sometimes used as a metaphor in English for something stupid that a person foolishly holds as sacred.

        In other words, Driscoll thinks that protecting the environment is a “sacred cow” — something people are foolish to regard as so important.

        • Ambaa

          Even more sad because the non-Hindus looking at the Hindu way of life decided they were foolish for caring for their cows :(

      • fsm

        It really came into popular culture with a management book written during a time when hunger in India was rampant and yet, they had cows wandering the streets. The book told managers that every company had ‘sacred cows’ that cost them money but they would not get rid of because of tradition.

        Sadly I read the book 30 years ago and do not remember the title.

  • E. Cedric

    Well, even a broken clock is right a couple times a day…..I mean SKINNY jeans? Why would anyone wear skinny jeans?!?

    Bad fad = skinny jeans. Male, female – doesn’t matter. I think there are only, at best, six people in the world that can pull off skinny jeans, and they are all Somalian.

  • Space Cadet

    “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and
    wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life
    also, he cannot be my disciple. Don’t forget to tip your waiter.”

    Oh stop it, Jesus, you’re killing me! My sides! I can’t stop laughing! Do the “I come not to bring peace” bit. That one is hilarious.

    • Brian Westley

      “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

      (rock sails in from stage left and hits the adulterous woman)

      “Mom! I’m trying to make a point here!”

  • Michelle

    Well, I think it would be wise for parents to not let their kids watch Twilight unless they are forewarned that young men sneaking in your room watching you sleep is sorta creepy… And that if men get jealous and possessive you should ditch ‘em… And that abortion debates shouldn’t be about fetuses who are KICKBREAKING YOUR SPINE… That abstinence before marriage is not a must…. And so forth for a lot of creepy things in Twilight.

    But somehow? I got the feeling he wasn’t objecting for those reasons.

    (I’m must point out… a Twilight fan. For the good reasons. OH MY GOD IT’S AWESOMELY HILARIOUSLY BAD. Rifftrax I love you.)

    • Baby_Raptor

      They don’t want to allow abortion for any of the other ways a pregnancy can kill a woman, why would they care if the fetus was trying to wreck your spine?

      • Michelle

        Well maybe if you tell them the dad is a soulless, hell damned vampire … They’ll burn her at the stake along with it?

  • Stev84

    The only time for a narcissist when the universe doesn’t revolve around him.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I love Christian humility.

    • Paul D.

      Who needs humility when God is your personal friend and He tells you you’re right all the time? Heck, apologizing is practically *blasphemy* if you’re tight with the Almighty like Bishop Driscoll is.

  • Qp83

    Yea, funny joke. He drives an expensive SUV polluting he environment which in turn hurts the already poor and starving people on the other side of the planet. It’s easy to be rich and mobile in a changing climate, not so much, if you’re poor and have nowhere to go. Jesus must’ve really cracked up at that joke in heaven, with all that “what you do for the least, you do for me” thing… Quoting that from memory, so maybe I got it wrong.

  • CBrachyrhynchos

    Didn’t the SUV go out of style with the recession?

  • Owen

    If his apology was disingenuous he should have never made it. Im sick of people apologizing for things they really arent sorry for just to appease the eternally offended. Sure he is a jerk but he has every right to be a jerk.

  • A3Kr0n

    Wait, something’s not right. I’ve heard Christians say we won’t destroy with Earth because God wouldn’t let us do that to his creations. Now here’s this Christian guy saying God’s going to burn it all up, so he drives an SUV?

    Hey. What’s this “upload images” button doing her?!

    • Rain

      It’s actually Biblical…

      “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

      Yeah nice guy that Jesus…

    • Ash Whirt

      What is this a picture of? please email me

    • Spuddie

      Is the octopus giving people the middle tentacle?

  • Rain

    He forgot to say attention K-Mart shoppers. That’s what Johnny Carson used to say when he had to ‘splain a joke to the audience. Some comedians give it everything they have. When Henny Youngman flopped he would tell everyone to “Take my wife please.” When you put your wife on the line, then that is some real dedication and commitment.

  • Andrew Hall

    If he were a comic, the man would be a total hack.

    • Artor

      He’s not a comic, but he still is a total hack.

  • Tanner B James

    Washington state is pretty much the most liberal state in the union and then there is Mark Driscoll.

    • ShoeUnited

      Every bell curve has to have an extremity.

    • wmdkitty

      On behalf of my state, I’d like to apologize for this… “pastor”.

  • 2zewloso53

    There’s a nice portmanteau word for the Driscoll kind of action: Fauxpology. (

  • LesterBallard

    Yeah, he’s a tough guy. I’d love the chance to stomp his ass. He just rubs me the wrong fucking way.

  • smrnda

    The problem is that things are usually *funny* (outside of three stooges style slapstick humor) *BECAUSE* they express some uncomfortable truth. When you make a joke, it implies that you somehow find it to say something that you agree with. So, the idea that manly men treat the planet like a garbage can is really what Driscoll thinks. Of course, the fact that we all have to LIVE HERE for quite some time (Jesus himself was telling people the world was going to end any minute, and he was way off) is irrelevant. Driscoll wants to trash the place, and if this causes you health problems or a drought or the end of sustainable fishing, he doesn’t *care.*

  • Kimpatsu

    Jesus wasn’t all that funny. In fact, his routine was so bad, they positively crucified him for it.

    • Miss_Beara


    • ortcutt

      With so many great Jewish comedians, it is remarkable that Jesus never told any jokes or said anything remotely funny. Maybe Jesus was a laugh-a-minute, but the killjoy Gospel writers considered it unfit for the Son of God.

      The fragmentary Gospel of Jesus Wife might contain Jesus’ one recorded joke. One line in it reads “Jesus said to them “My wife …” Feel free to finish this with your best Galilean Borscht Belt joke.

      • dats3

        Or maybe everything that Jesus was reported to have said and done was the joke and intended to be a joke. Maybe the writers of the bible just didn’t get it.

        • Spuddie

          This is why we have Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

          They put back the jokes that the Bible’s writers left out.

      • Gary

        No! Henny Youngman was a young man at the time. Jesus overheard him saying, “take my wife. Please!” And the rest is history.

  • JA

    “Was Driscoll joking when he warned parents not to let their children see the Twilight movies? No, totally serious.”

    I dunno…even a complete dumbass can say something that a lot of people would agree with, even if they don’t agree with his other views.

    • Nox

      True, but he didn’t say Twilight was a sh*tty book. He said it was going to turn kids into devil worshipers.

      • JA

        Good point.

  • Keulan

    How about we stop demanding that these bigots apologize for saying the bigoted things they really think? It’s almost certain that their apologies will be fake.

    • Michael W Busch

      Perhaps their apologies will usually be fake.

      But it is still important to not let bigotry and harmful nonsense go unchallenged. Driscoll may brush off criticism with the “I was joking” non-defense, but calling him on his nonsense publicly minimizes the damage that he does.

  • Renshia

    Lieing for jesus, lying for Mark, seems just about the same. Fucking bible thumpers your all the same.

  • A Christian

    I’m afraid I’m a bit cynical toward megachurch pastors. I’ve heard several of them preach, and they always come off as very arrogant and haughty to me. I heard one brag about his income and tell his congregation he was overpaid, and they laughed!

  • Compuholic

    To those who understood context and still ranted, I am sorry that you do not have a sense of humor.

    Well, that is one possibility. The other is that you suck as a comedian…

  • Hat Stealer

    Any word about whether he’s apologized for being an asshole?

  • SeekerLancer

    Well at least we can agree that nobody should watch Twilight but I doubt we have the same reasons.

  • Matthew Baker

    Why is it always negative news when I see Mark Driscoll’s name in the headline. Just once I would like to see a headline “Mark Driscoll isn’t as big of a jerk as he makes himself he did something nice today.” It doesn’t even have to be anything big maybe he let an old lady cross the street and almost make it to curb before racing his SUV around her so he could catch the red light. You know baby steps.

  • cipher

    … Jesus was funny. This fact is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of Jesus’ entire earthly ministry.

    Yeah, all that stuff about going to hell was a riot.

    • allein

      I like the fig tree skit.

  • Sue Blue

    So…has he stopped driving the SUV? Does he really drive a Prius? I frigging doubt it. He’s the type that, when called on his “joke” would probably go out and buy two loaded Hummers and an armored Escalade. Or an F-350 supercab with dualies and a tow package.

    I find it so ironic that people who don’t believe in evolution or an old earth can’t live without “fossil” fuel.

    • Sue Blue

      And Mark Driscoll wouldn’t know humor if it bit him in the ass. I’ve found evangelical christians to be some of the most humorless people on the planet. Concrete black-and-white thinking, judgmentalism, and fear don’t tend to give one the flexibility of mind to acommodate humor.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    Does… does Mark Driscoll have a fauxhawk?

    And he’s claiming total authority over the definition of masculinity?

  • fenfab

    “He who is without sin…throw the first stone.”

  • Lance Cummins

    I am not a fan of Driscoll at all. But to be clear, Twilight both the books and the movies were horrible and no one should have seen or read them. So he got one thing right.

  • George B

    “fall in line with crazy evangelical thinking?” So in ranting against a joke you resort to stereotyping? I guess you really don’t have much of a sense of humor. Too bad.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      He and most of us do have senses of humor. That’s how we can tell when something isn’t funny. You may wish to work on that*.

      We also know how to read entire articles and the associated links and previous points before commenting on them, so we don’t come off as being highly ignorant of the context. It’s something else you may wish to work on.**

      *Sadly, you can’t.

      **Sadly, you won’t.

  • Mark W.

    This guy is like some kind of frat boy preacher. I expect him to start in with some slang nonsense like,”Hey, Brah, you been PWN’d by Jesus, U MAD Brah? U MAD!?! Do you even lift Brah? ‘Cause Jesus and me lift, and a dweeb like you couldn’t possibly lift like me and my Brah, Jesus.”

  • Ryan F

    Our culture is pathetic. Amidst Driscoll’s sarcasm that’s what seems irksome—the ring of truth. Hopefully there will be more than simple wit as a catalyst; yet beggars can’t be choosers.

    Funny. I’d like to hear more Mark.

  • Sharla

    This guy IS funny! I have been known to attend his sermons just for giggles. I almost had the balls to get baptized once.

  • MichaelL65

    As a former Christian of the Evangelical persuasion, I can tell you that this line of thinking is not that uncommon. Thankfully I left the Christian faith and my eyes are now open.

  • Alice

    Apparently he missed all the Biblical warnings about careless words.

  • DT Braven-Giles

    I am firmly of the opinion that Mark Driscoll is a plonker of gargantuan proportions, but sometimes his critics do need to lighten up. This is one of those times. Let it go.

  • Christopher Curzon

    The message is decidedly mixed. But my question is simple: Does Mark Driscoll call this an apology? Or an explanation?

    If the former, then he failed.

    If the latter then …. well then what? One can hurl complaints at Driscoll for insensitivity, and he can respond saying that no message will be received by everyone. And then … SIGH … the usual finger pointing.