'God Squad' Priest Takes Logos Off Car
A God Squad car with Fr. Luke Strand (right). | Photo: Three Holy Women Parish
FOND DU LAC - A priest working in Fond du Lac has removed "God Squad" logos on his car after being sent a cease-and-desist letter by Best Buy.
"I actually this morning took off the decals from both of the doors of the car," said Fr. Luke Strand in an interview with Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Jeff Wagner. "I understand that Best Buy needs to protect their (Geek Squad) trademark."
"I'm not going to make a big huge stink about it. I was surprised to receive the letter, but you know what, we can find other creative ways to spread the Gospel. Maybe we can come up with an even better God Squad logo."
Fr. Strand has used the "God Squad" nickname as a campaign to spread the Catholic faith to others, especially youth.
"This is more than just sitting and talking about a vehicle," said Fr. Strand.
"This is about promoting the Gospel, and in a particular way, Catholic Youth Expeditions, an organization I'm involved in has used these vehicles for a number of years to serve young people, hundreds of them, every single summer. This is a way to inspire people."
Fr. Strand admitted to Wagner that the Best Buy "Geek Squad" campaign inspired the God Squad promotion, and that the God Squad logo came directly from the Geek Squad campaign logo.
"The font type is the same. The size is about the same. It's obviously. We saw the Geek Squad and we said, 'Let's start the God Squad'. Obviously, the idea didn't come out of thin air. It came out of the Geek Squad logo. That's what they're concerned about."
He said that Best Buy has not given any complaints about using the name God Squad, which more resembles the late 1960's TV show "The Mod Squad."
"My impression is that it's not about the God Squad wording itself. At least they haven't made me aware of that."
Fr. Strand also admits that people have taken more than a double take when they see him come out of a God Squad car.
"There's been a number of instances when I've walked in to a gas station and they've said, 'You know, we don't have any computer problems,' and I say, 'Hey, you might want to take a second look at the vehicle,' that they saw it was the God Squad," said Fr. Strand. "People have mistaken me for the Geek Squad. I don't think they've ever expected for me to come in when I'm in my Roman collar and fix their computer."
He even says he's received non-verbal responses from Geek Squad workers.
"Every time I pass by a Geek Squad on the highway, they always give me kind of a bizarre look."
Fr. Strand's God Squad car isn't the only one running in Wisconsin.
"A friend of mine, Fr. Quinn Mann of the Diocese of Green Bay came up with the idea, and he was initially driving the God Squad (car). About two and a half years, ago, he gave me his God Squad and he got one as well," said Fr. Strand.
"We use it as a means of evangelization. People aren't always flocking to steeples these days, but they love vehicles. What an awesome way to start conversation with folks."
He said those conversations have even included deeper faith sharing experiences.
"Countless people have told me about a conversion they experienced by seeing the God Squad on the street when they were in a difficult period going on in their life, especially amongst the young people. They see it and say that the Church is taking the Gospel to the streets."
Fr. Strand hopes the controversy actually helps his efforts, and that he and Best Buy can even lend their hand as the two sides come together for a workable solution.
"I'm hoping the exact same thing. We're doing so much right now, that any support we can receive for young people and the Church to spread the new evangelization, we need that. If Best Buy can reach out in that avenue, we would not fight with that."