Everyone of the Devil, put your hands up!
July 10, 2009 3:07 PM   Subscribe

A church in Gainesville has put up a controversial sign.

The church's website claims it is doing this "To expose Islam for what it is. It is a violent and oppressive religion that is trying to mascarade [sic] itself as a religion of peace, seeking to deceive our society."

Realizing that people are upset by its hateful message, the church promises to add more signs in the future regarding voicing its opinion on abortion and same-sex marriage.
posted by hal_c_on (71 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: this is sort of LOLXIANSANDHATERS no? -- jessamyn



 
Love one ano.. eh, forget it. Devils!
posted by filthy light thief at 3:10 PM on July 10, 2009


That kerning is of the devil!
posted by mr_roboto at 3:12 PM on July 10, 2009 [13 favorites]


Its not a very good sign.
posted by Bovine Love at 3:12 PM on July 10, 2009 [12 favorites]


I kinda prefer it when idiots wear their stupid on their sleeves. Makes it so much simpler to identify them.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:14 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


"The Dove World Outreach Center in northwest Gainesville..."

And that's where I stopped reading, because nothing interesting or useful ever comes from Gainesville.

Suck it, Gator fans.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:14 PM on July 10, 2009


Way to reach out to the world, World Outreach Center.
posted by yellowbinder at 3:15 PM on July 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


How nature says "do not touch".
posted by jrochest at 3:16 PM on July 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, I think it's a terrific sign! The letters should be dripping blood, though. It's...supposed to be funny, right?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:17 PM on July 10, 2009


[Florida]
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 3:17 PM on July 10, 2009 [14 favorites]


Way to reach out to the world, World Outreach Center.

If I were to punch you in the nose, I would still be reaching out to you, right? I think this is their logic.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:18 PM on July 10, 2009


"We are definitely trying to open up dialogue, create interest, create awareness, get people to think,"

Opening up Dialogue is of the DeVil

And don't even get me started on 'getting people to think'...
posted by pokermonk at 3:21 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Florida...whatever.
posted by Liquidwolf at 3:21 PM on July 10, 2009


And a fine sign it is.
Quake at the economy of prose.
Bristle at the old-world craftsmanship.

Though I must say I was genuinely surprised that it wasnt horribly mis-spelled.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:22 PM on July 10, 2009


If there's one thing I can't stand, it's intolerance.
posted by ottereroticist at 3:22 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also IN B4 inevitable deletion which if there IS a God will come in the form of a similarly well-crafted yard sign.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:25 PM on July 10, 2009


Subtle.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:27 PM on July 10, 2009


For future reference, there are seven Gainesvilles in the United States and it might be a good idea to mention this is the Florida one.
posted by crapmatic at 3:27 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Boy, I cannot wait until we achieve interstellar travel, and find all the other weird sentients out there.
posted by not_on_display at 3:28 PM on July 10, 2009


CROWD: The Devil! The Devil! Islam is of the Devil! The Devil

VILLAGER #1: Islam is of the Devil, can we burn it?

CROWD: Burn it! Burn!

REPORTER: How do you know Islam is of the Devil?

VILLAGER #2: They want to kill us!

REPORTER: What makes you think they want to kill you?

VILLAGER #3: Well, they killed our missionaries.

REPORTER: The missionaries were killed?

VILLAGER #3: They got better.

VILLAGER #2: Burn it anyway!

CROWD: Burn! Burn it!
posted by filthy light thief at 3:29 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Realizing that people are upset by its hateful message, the church promises to add more signs in the future regarding voicing its opinion on abortion and same-sex marriage.

We already know what the State of Florida thinks of gay people.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:30 PM on July 10, 2009


If there's one thing I can't stand, it's intolerance.
posted by ottereroticist at 3:22 PM on July 10 [+] [!]


And the Dutch.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 3:31 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's a good thing they didn't use the kind of sign with movable letters, or else someone might change it to VIOLIST DEFILES HAM, or FOIL MEDIEVAL SHITS.
posted by box at 3:33 PM on July 10, 2009 [12 favorites]


That's it. I'm joining.
posted by gman at 3:35 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah, those People of the Book. They practically believe the same damn thing, can't they just get along?
posted by Nelson at 3:38 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


"We are definitely trying to open up dialogue, create interest, create awareness, get people to think," Jones said.

The only dialogue this sign is opening up is discussions about how dumb it is.
The only interest there is in the sign is how quickly it will be removed.
The only awareness it is creating is that this church has no clue what it means to love their community and reach out the way Jesus did.
The only thinking people will be doing is that of wondering why anyone attends this church.

Perhaps the church members could have tried, um, *talking* to neighbors who are believers in Islam and having them over for coffee/tea/snacks/dinner at their houses - you know, actually try to become friends and actually try to listen to what they are saying and show that they truly do care about them vs sticking up a sign which will only provoke negative, defensive reactions?

Jesus did not put antagonistic signs like "gentiles are screwed & Jews are toast" whenever he entered a town. He demonstrated love and compassion for the community and showed he really did care about even the lowest on the societal chain.

Hammering a sign into the ground is a cop out on the Great Commission and other Christians should be calling them on the carpet for it.
posted by hrbrmstr at 3:42 PM on July 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Just to be clear this is the same part of the world whose plan to get dangerous assault weapons off the street was to offer a new pair of sneakers in exchange for every gun turned in. No questions asked. Carry on.
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 3:45 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


LolFlorida
posted by cazoo at 3:46 PM on July 10, 2009


Yeah, even other Christians are embarrassed by stupid Christians.

I once was traveling on the train near Lausanne, listening to my Walkman. And the most obnoxious American couple were complaining loudly about everything and everyone they'd encountered thus far on their trip. They were LOUD. And must have been assuming that no one spoke English. It was painful to listen to them. At one point, they walked up the aisle looking for someone to explain something about their map to them. No one admitted to speaking English. Not even me, a girl who was born in NYC and hadn't taken French past the seventh grade.

This is another one of those circumstances for me. Except I'm not quite sure how to register my disgust. There is no central Christian "authority" if you aren't Catholic. No one in absolute power who can say, "Listen, shut up and sit down. You're doing it wrong." Makes me kind of wish that Christ would get back her and deliver some righteous bitch slaps, throw over some tables in the temple, etc. etc.

Gah.
posted by jeanmari at 3:48 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


That church could use some Jesus.
posted by yeloson at 3:48 PM on July 10, 2009 [10 favorites]


In related news, they're renaming themselves "The Dove World Outreach and Strangle Center".
posted by wendell at 3:52 PM on July 10, 2009


I read that sign in Torgo's voice.
posted by EarBucket at 3:52 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


That church could use some Jesus.

Republican Jesus beat him there.
posted by maxwelton at 3:52 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wait, grownups still believe in the devil?
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:55 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


OF THE DEVIL

ON THE LEVEL
posted by Sys Rq at 4:07 PM on July 10, 2009


Wait, grownups still believe in the devil?

Yes, they really do. That took me a long time to process, since as a kid it was abundantly clear that God and the Devil were no different than Santa Claus, a mechanism to get people to behave a certain way. But surely it's just something they tell us kids, right? They couldn't actually believe in it themselves... could they? I guess some people just never make that leap of logic. Some kids never realize that it's obviously mom's handwriting on the Christmas presents, and likewise some people never realize that the easiest way to get people to stop dying from eating shellfish and pork before the advent of refrigeration is to tell them a magical man who lives in the sky said not to do it or else. The only difference is there's no equivalent of mom and dad admitting that there's no Santa Claus to point it out to them.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:09 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am a little surprised I have to be the one to do it, but here goes:

If you believe that Jesus was the Son of God, and His forgiveness is how you enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and that's the only way, then this sign makes sense. If you follow Islam, Jesus was a prophet and a great guy, but not the Son of God, and therefore you do not need his forgiveness any more than you need a good word put in for you from Moses. Therefore, if you believe the former, that automatically leads you to believe that the people who are into the latter are, in fact, going to burn in Hell. You love people, as Jesus told you to, and therefore you would not want random folks over the world misled into burning in Hell. The point of the entire religion of Islam would be to get folks to march into Hell, forsaking the blessings of Jesus Christ — sounds very devilish to me.

So, yes, that would be outreach entirely consistent with the core beliefs of Christianity. I'm not even remotely Christian, but even I know enough to realize that this sign is not out of keeping with sincere Christian belief. It doesn't fit with the fuzzy-wuzzy "screw it, we can ditch Original Sin, nobody wants to say babies are tainted with the ancient transgressions of Adam and Eve" and it doesn't fit with the "I'm uncomfortable with Hell, let's just skip that bit" buffet-style Christianity, but as far as believing in an Adversary whose job it is to tempt, betray, and mislead folks who might be part of the Heavenly flock, it's right on the money.

This sign says less about the people who put it up than it does about the directives of the religion behind their act.
posted by adipocere at 4:09 PM on July 10, 2009 [11 favorites]


I believe Bad News Hughes comes from Gainesville, FL, so it's not like the city is a complete waste.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:12 PM on July 10, 2009


I kinda prefer it when idiots wear their stupid on their sleeves

Yep
posted by Dumsnill at 4:17 PM on July 10, 2009


If there's one thing my admittedly short travels in northern Florida taught me was that anything ending in -ville was more than likely to be full of religious nutters. Or maybe that was just northern Florida as a whole?

Ah well. The people I knew there have escaped to Hawaii and seem about a zillion times happier so I doubt I'll be back to northern Florida. Especially not now.
posted by i_cola at 4:20 PM on July 10, 2009


And that's where I stopped reading, because nothing interesting or useful ever comes from Gainesville.

tom petty
posted by pyramid termite at 4:21 PM on July 10, 2009


ottereroticist: If there's one thing I can't stand, it's intolerance.

Pantengliopoli: And the Dutch.

Redundant much?
posted by jock@law at 4:28 PM on July 10, 2009


I'm sure if their neighbor put up a sign saying "Christianity Is Evil" or something along those lines, the members of this church would reach out to them with love and fellowship and burn their home down.
posted by jamstigator at 4:29 PM on July 10, 2009


Actually, adipocere, it's not Jesus whose forgiveness you need. Depending on your denomination's understanding of the Trinity, you believe that either (a) Jesus was the son of God, or (b) Jesus was the son of God and was/is God.

Either way, the Christian theology behind this sign is that you need to repent of your sins, accept Jesus as your savior, and take the Holy Spirit into your heart. Or you'll go to hell.

I wasn't surprised by the message. In fact, if my Orthodox Presbyterian minister father was still alive today, he'd probably want to put up a sign just like it. And he would agree that it was a message of love.

When I was a kid, I'd always try to "save" my friends. I honestly, earnestly didn't want them to go to hell. And I believed it was my job as a Christian to do whatever I could to help my friends see the way, the truth and the light.

Of course, nowadays people keep trying to make me go all googly-eyed over Christianity. And you know? It's really annoying. It feels insulting, too, but ... I have to remind myself that they don't mean it that way.

(I'm not in any way endorsing this sign; it's unfortunate that in protecting peoples' rights to free speech, we also have to protect speech that is stupid and hurtful. But you know what? I bet if you showed up at Dr. Terry Jones's door, he would indeed invite you in for tea and cookies. And while he was feeding you, he'd be trying to Christianize you.)
posted by brina at 4:29 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


It sucks that my first reaction was to be thankful it was Gainsville, Florida and not Gainsville, Georgia. And my second reaction was, "Fucking Gators."

*sigh*

I begin to wonder if lack of reading comprehension is a prerequisite for baptism and/or membership in certain religious communities. Folks, if we're going to bother writing the shit down, at least bother to read it and pay attention to what it says.
posted by elfgirl at 4:30 PM on July 10, 2009


Oh! And Tom Petty is from Gainesville, too.
posted by brina at 4:31 PM on July 10, 2009


^Gainesville. Fucking Gators.
posted by elfgirl at 4:31 PM on July 10, 2009


Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries,
the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the Word of God.
-Thomas Paine (who I bet at least some members of this church think Glenn Beck is the second coming of)
posted by Flunkie at 4:35 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Even if their beliefs support the message printed on the sign, this doesn't necessarily mean that their beliefs dictate that they should actually go stick it in the middle of their lawn. An act like that declares a lot more than the fact that the owners of the sign believe its message. It declares that this fact is of much greater importance than any of a thousand other messages that they could have printed.

Even if they really did feel that this topic was so important as to deserve such prominent placement, they could have gone about it better. This message literally demonize a large group of people. It's certainly not going to win any of them over to Christianity. And amongst those who are likely to be sympathetic to the sign, it's not going to encourage them to try and convert Muslims. If anything, it will encourage them to treat Muslims as if they were inherently evil people, tainted by the Devil. A message along the lines of "Muslims have been lead astray by the Devil", which while still offensive in its singling out of one particular group of people, would be much more sensible message from a strict fundamentalist Christian point of view.

If what they wanted to do was communicate that achieving the forgiveness of Jesus, the son of God was the only way to get to heaven, then they should have printed that. I've seen messages like that on dozens of other church signs, and while I still think it's a load of hooey, it's not a particularly offensive way of getting that message across.
posted by ErWenn at 4:35 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


And you thought "CH _ _ CH What's missing? UR" was dumb.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:38 PM on July 10, 2009


Do Christians even read Matthew 7? Growing up, that was, for some reason, always my favorite passage in the Bible. (Though, I suppose, that didn't stop me from being judgmental of all the non-Christians around me until much later. I guess it's one of those passages the individual kinda has to stop and think/pray about, since it doesn't seem to be preached very often. Of course, this is the sort of examination that led me out of Christianity entirely.)
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:40 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


If there's one thing my admittedly short travels in northern Florida taught me was that anything ending in -ville was more than likely to be full of religious nutters.

To be fair, Gainesville is a college town, and has pretty much the demographics you'd expect from any other college town. It just sits in the middle of Northern Florida and thus has a higher religious nutter background than most.

Also, Go Gators!
posted by dirigibleman at 4:42 PM on July 10, 2009


I am kind of, like, near the devil. Can I be in?
posted by everichon at 4:42 PM on July 10, 2009


There's no actual message there, it's just designed to be inflammatory. Much like the Obama birth certificate billboards, it's preaching to the choir. No new potential client will actually walk past this and think about walking into the building and give their soul up to Christ. You catch more flies with honey and those awesome oranges they (well, the Church of England anyway) give you at Christmas.
posted by saturnine at 4:52 PM on July 10, 2009


ottereroticist: If there's one thing I can't stand, it's intolerance.

Pantengliopoli: And the Dutch.

Redundant much?
posted by jock@law


Yeah, baby, yeah!
posted by gman at 4:53 PM on July 10, 2009


Doesn't bother me much. I mean, yeah, the devil doesn't actually exist. And, yeah, Christianity is no more true than Islam. But as others have pointed out, if you actually believe what Christianity teaches then you pretty much have to believe that followers of Islam are not going to go to heaven. You might not believe that there is an actual devil but I'll take that as hyperbole to make a pithy point.

It's true that various denominations of Christianity have somewhat different requirements for getting in to heaven. Faith-vs-works and so on. But actually, you know, believing that Jesus was the son of God and died for the redemption of humanity's sins is fundamental to all of them. If you don't believe in the whole Jesus thing you don't go to heaven.

I think that's really dumb. But it is slightly less dumb than the modern I'm-okay-you're-okay hugs and kisses kind of theology (and I use the term loosely) where nothing is more or less true than anything else and everybody will have puppies and rainbows after they die no matter if they believe in Jesus, Allah, Vishnu, the angel Moroni, Xenu, Thor, Eternal Elvis, or none of the above. At least the fire and brimstone Jesusy thing is internally consistent.
posted by Justinian at 4:58 PM on July 10, 2009


And you thought "CH _ _ CH What's missing? UR" was dumb.

Only because the real correct answer is, of course, "EE."
posted by Sys Rq at 4:59 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I certainly can't defend this church for anything it does, because they have shown in the past they are quite intolerant, but, honestly, can anyone here really quote verses from the Koran that paint Islam as being something other than overly aggressive against any religion that isn't Islam?

Again, so you people can actually read this, I am not in any way defending this church. I personally think they're tossers. I'm just asking a very simple question.

This also isn't a defense of Christianity, which I also find quite annoying.
posted by CountSpatula at 5:01 PM on July 10, 2009


Jesus did not put antagonistic signs like "gentiles are screwed & Jews are toast" whenever he entered a town.

Jesus and the Disciples as roving graffiti artists... it's a concept that could work.
posted by Leon at 5:03 PM on July 10, 2009


@adipocere While the sign's message is accurate from a a Christian doctrine perspective, it is in no way, shape or form something that the church should have put up. Christianity is not supposed to be a billboard religion, it's supposed to be a 24x7 demonstration of faith in action through love. I don't care how the pastor or church board slices and dices their words in an explanation of it, there is zero love in that sign. If anything, it's a deliberate, overt expression of hate. (Mind you, I'd probably not say it was hateful if they used a nice, bold Helvetica with proper kerning...it would still be wrong, but would come across as just blatantly clueless than hateful).
posted by hrbrmstr at 5:04 PM on July 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


CountSpatula: I certainly can't defend this church for anything it does, because they have shown in the past they are quite intolerant, but, honestly, can anyone here really quote verses from the Koran that paint Islam as being something other than overly aggressive against any religion that isn't Islam?

Islamic views on religious pluralism.
posted by gman at 5:07 PM on July 10, 2009


can anyone here really quote verses from the Koran that paint Islam as being something other than overly aggressive against any religion that isn't Islam?

I can't. (Never read it.) But historically speaking, Islam is much, much, much more tolerant than Christianity. Compare, for example, the Ottoman Empire with the Holy Roman Empire. Or, hell, just look at Spain as a quick case study.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:09 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


MORANS
posted by Ron Thanagar at 5:09 PM on July 10, 2009


Well, ol' Charlie Daniels said the Devil went down to Georgia, so, I guess there's, you know, a lot of Islam down in Georgia. i do know that it's a rainy night in Georgia. And also that Georgia's on my mind. Come to think of it, nobody ever sings about Florida.

But I digress. Mainly I came here to say that the people who put up that sign are some ignorant-ass hicks, but you gotta remember, they don't know no better. Their education was severely lacking, and they've been brainwashed. Their mental and spiritual horizons are very, very limited. These people plain DUMB, brother! It's just such a shame that they feel the need to display how stupid they are, to trumpet it to the world. They're actually proud of their embarrassing, stunted and hateful mindset.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:09 PM on July 10, 2009


But it is slightly less dumb than the modern I'm-okay-you're-okay hugs and kisses kind of theology

Who in the thread so far has advocated for this?
posted by jeanmari at 5:11 PM on July 10, 2009


I always love me some good ol' hateful in-yore-face Christianity. 'Cause you know that's the way Jesus liked it.

At least they're spending their time painting hateful signs instead of driving around hitting sinners with baseball bats. Hopefully, anyway.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:12 PM on July 10, 2009


I'm gonna commit me some great acts of love.
posted by Artw at 5:13 PM on July 10, 2009


Bugs Bunny has a comment.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:16 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't. (Never read it.)

Makes you a really great representative of Islam, eh?
posted by CountSpatula at 5:18 PM on July 10, 2009


This would of course be the Islam that had a multicultural society before most Christians learned that living in your own filth might give you diseases.
posted by Artw at 5:21 PM on July 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Makes you a really great representative of Islam, eh?

Yeah, sorry. I hadn't realized that commenting on a message board about some random issue required being a sanctioned mouthpiece of some group or another. Pardon me for tainting the thread with factual information.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:23 PM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Who in the thread so far has advocated for this?

Nobody in particular. I'm not saying the sign is a good idea, I'm saying it's sort of accurate (if anthropomorphisized with the reference to an actual devil) from a theological point of view. Christian theology, anyway.
posted by Justinian at 5:25 PM on July 10, 2009


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