Why Do Churches Even Bother Putting Up Signs…?

Reader Donna spotted this church sign outside United Pentecostal Church in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia:

The person without faith has a greater handicap than the person without feet.

Besides the fact that it’s just offensive to disabled people, how do you respond to something that idiotic?

I didn’t know. So I asked Twitter. The responses were hilarious and insightful :)


How would you respond to the church’s message?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Brian Westley

    Two words: Emi Ibarazaki

  • Legion Iscariot

    I don’t have faith in a god, but i do have in myself.

  • TiltedHorizon

    I’ll print out that image and leave it on my dashboard when I park in handicap spots.

    • Anonymous

      *tittering*  I love that idea :)

  • The Other Weirdo

    Great! And I freaking live across the bridge from there. As I never tire pointing out to my fellow Canadians who are obsessed with all the crazy religious crap that goes on in the US that they need to look closer to home for problems.  Canada is no better than the US in this regard; it’s merely a matter of scale.

    • Anonymous

      Well, Pentecostals are a US export. Only the US could come up with a sect that’s so obviously insane

      • John Hamhock

        Hey, now, while I agree that we here in the U.S. have a serious problem with religion, we’re definitely NOT the only country that could come up with insanity on the Evangelical Christian or Pentacostal scale. Ever hear of Islam? NOT made in America, my friend.

        • NickDB

           You’re right, but from an outside perspective, you’re almost the same level as Iran and the very extreme muslim countries. Only difference is your government has that whole church seperation thing going for it. Which a lot of you (talking about Americans in general) seem to want to get rid of. Which quite frankly scares the shit out of me. One Iran is enough, having another fundamentalist country, with nukes, that has a conflicting belief system is not on.

    • Anonymous

      Canada is no better than the US in this regard; it’s merely a matter of scale.

      It’s precisely that matter of scale that makes Canada better than the US in this regard!    Of course we have some elements of religious nuttery in our own backyard, but not nearly to the degree that the US has….

      For example, if any politician wore their religion on their sleeve the way that US politicians must, they’d be called out on it and quickly.

      Some posters on another board were gobsmacked when I told them that I, as a Canadian, have never EVER witnessed a group activity (business-related or otherwise) start with a prayer.

    • http://twitter.com/ThyGoddess Michelle

      I disagree. I live in Quebec, and I can advertise myself as an atheist anytime and almost 100% everyone will go “So fucking what?” (Often in those specific words. We like speaking random english.)

      I’m not persecuted for it, and most people are just not thinking about religion. Wherehas in the states, I have the feeling I could get hanged publicly for it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Meghan-ODonnell/304800100 Meghan ODonnell

    Where can a reader submit stuff to possibly be used here? Just curious in case I ever come across something.
     

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      His email is in the ‘contact’ tab at the top.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Email is friendlyatheist at friendlyatheist.com

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Meghan-ODonnell/304800100 Meghan ODonnell

         Thanks, I saw your email address, but wasn’t sure if that was the best way to get something or if there was a spot on the forum to do it, thanks!

  • http://www.freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd Ziztur (Christina)

    A person without feet is impaired by hir environment, not by hir lack of feet.

    Just like a person without faith is impaired by hir environment, not by hir lack of faith, as we’re living in a world full of faith.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=700851737 Sam Kay

      Did you really just repeatedly misspell “her”?

  • Amey

    I took a picture of a church sign that said “Be bigger than small people.”  As someone who is short, I was offended. ;)

    • Graham Martin-Royle

      I read that and thought, I can’t be any bigger than I am. Then I realised what they were trying to say. Big fail in that sign, -lol-.

      • Thackerie

         If we’ve learned anything from The Simpsons, it’s this: “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.”

  • DBergy65

    Hey, I can now park in the handicap parking spaces. I just have to hang my “A” tag from the mirror.

  • Jatterbu

    Could still walk taller than someone spending their life on their knees.

    • Satunian

      Ooo that’s a good one!

  • george.w

    Two words: Oscar Pistorius

  • Lgirl

    One more embarrassment from the city I live in. If you don’t get shot, the churchies will get you. ;-)

  • george.w

    Also, Aimee Mullins. So there.

  • T-Rex

    Because Jesus doesn’t heal amputees.

  • Steven

    I went to the church website to contact them about their sign and saw this comment, which upsets me:  ”
    Nice church sign you stupid ass ignorant Christians!”  

    Really? 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CO4XFS7IXIESALGRH5RJLDUTHE p

    And even Christians with both feet usually end up with one or more stuck in their mouth soon as they open it to start evangelising .

  • Anonymous-Sam

    I have faith in the fact that I have feet. I can see ‘em. They’ve carried me many thousands of miles in my short life. That’s more than I can say about God, who apparently doesn’t give a damn whether I have feet or not (much less working internal organs). Since God has never done anything for me, I’ll remain over here in my little corner of the Internet, enjoying my fucking awesome feet.

  • http://twitter.com/terriaminute terri jones

    I wrote a LiveJournal post from this.  http://terriaminute.livejournal.com/149699.html

  • http://lizheywoodwriter.blogspot.com/ Liz Heywood

    As an amputee I’d like to address the Church Folk & say WAKE THE HELL UP. Walk a mile on my prosthetic foot (a result of my parents RELIGIOUS FAITH when I had a childhood bone disease) and then preach at me.

    NO FAITH. NO FOOT. NO PROBLEM.     :-)

    • Kevin_Of_Bangor

      That is one bad ass looking prosthetic leg.

      • http://lizheywoodwriter.blogspot.com/ Liz Heywood

        Thanks! They called me “Dragon Lady” at the prosthetic’s…The on I have now is “only” tie-dyed, but I try to keep the badass thing going…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephan-Goodwin/676660806 Stephan Goodwin

      This is one of the best things I have ever read on the internet.  Period.

      • http://lizheywoodwriter.blogspot.com/ Liz Heywood

        Right back atcha, Stephan!

  • Jaclyn

    Am I the only person thinking of lieutenant dan from Forrest Gump?????

    • Coyotenose

       God will give you magic laigs!

      …of Faith!

  • Ookieh

    Simply change all WITHOUTS to WITH….
    The person WITH faith has a greater handicap than the person WITH feet. 

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

    Those Pentecosts should hold their tongues. I say this tongue-in-cheek, of course. I deserve a tongue-lashing. I wonder, was MushMouth from ‘Fat Albert’ a Pentecost?

    The church sign across the street from my son’s school says:

    “The Lord takes pleasure in those that fear Him and hope for His mercy.”

    This message (Psalm 147, I think) has been up there for a few months now. I wonder if they are seriously questioning why their pews are empty. They must think everyone is a spiritual masochist like them. Maybe they lost their box of sign letters.

    • PJB863

      Cut out their tongues too.  That’ll silence them………

  • Greg Peterson

    “Damned right!  Wait, what?  Oh, ‘faith.’  I thought you said ‘face.’  Well that’s just stupid, then.”

    Or

    “One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.Sometimes there were two sets of footprints.Other times there were one set of footprints.This really upset me, so I’m like, “Lord…WTF?”And the Lord goes, “Oh, those are the times I hacked off your feet because that’s just fucking hilarious to me.  Plus, faith.  Better than feet.”
    One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
    Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
    In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
    Sometimes there were two sets of footprints.
    Other times there were one set of footprints.
    This really upset me, so I’m like, “Lord…WTF?”
    And the Lord goes, “Oh, those are the times I hacked off your feet because that’s just fucking hilarious to me.  Plus, faith.  Better than feet.”

  • PJB863

    I don’t know why, but it reminds me of a story I read several years ago about when the Taliban was in charge in Kabul, Afghanistan:  a children’s soccer league had to cancel practice because the stadium venue where they practiced had been used by the Taliban the day before for a “justice session.”  They somehow managed to leave a barrel full of severed feet in the middle of the playing field.  I imagine the former owners of those feet had a lot more faith afterwards (not).  

  • Pickle

    A church close to my home had a sign up the other day that said something like “Be prepared to receive God’s unspeakable gift”*  The mental image THAT produced was horrifying!

    *I don’t remember the exact wording, but that’s close.

    • Bryan

      You know, there is a reason they spend so much time on their knees…

    • http://lizheywoodwriter.blogspot.com/ Liz Heywood

      The bible quote is “Thanks be unto god for his unspeakable gift.” My religion sometimes ended the service with that one. As a kid I always thought it was creepy.

  • Taxihorn

    With churches putting up signs like this, and with atheists trying to come up with the least offensive billboard signs as an experiment in theist relations, I wonder what the most inoffensive church sign would be. Any thoughts?

    • Anonymous-Sam

      Christianity.

      :p

  • Anonymous

    ick. these churchs always think they are so clever with their signs. i think they’re just dumb. sheesh.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Let’s just get to the actual point of the sign:

    A person without faith will not walk to the church bringing money, while a person without feet will still roll, hobble or crawl to the church bringing money.

    This is the reason that Christianity stresses belief over behavior as the way to salvation. People can be good to each other at home and out in the community, and so bringing money to the church is not necessary. But believing in invisible, intangible things needs constant reinforcement, so they have to come to the church frequently, getting their faith booster shots, and bringing money.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Sweet/1280927267 James Sweet

    If Jesus had no feet, could he still walk on water?

  • NewEnglandBob

    The one who is most handicapped is the one with no brain, due to faith shriveling it away.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    If you met a bear in the woods, would you rather not have feet or faith. 

    • Anonymous-Sam

       “Lord, I thank you for this meal I am about to receive…”

      • Al

        That funny story about a Christian bear saying grace before devouring his human meal was great. I used it once to open a banquet meeting and got a good response. And then the traditional blessing was called.

        • Anonymous-Sam

          I figured those seven Likes were from people who knew the joke. :D

          What’s especially great is that when I first heard the joke, it was phrased in the context of making fun of atheists. Now that I’m older, I can appreciate its other undertones…

  • Cutencrunchy

    There are some issues which no one seems to be considering. First my toe nails have this fungus and they’ve turned yellow and look like they are rotting – I mean what’s up with that? Am I dead or alive? My feet hurt and I get all sorts of tired what with walking up stairs and to things.  So you consider all the crappy obligations that come with feet like doing stuff and driving places and suddenly trading them in for some faith doesn’t sound so bad. but wait there’s more what do I get regarding this faith for feet exchange?  Like how many virgins and are they foot fetishists being punished by my company? Do I get to believe everything’s gonna be alright? Will every morning feel like Christmas morning? How far do you have to go for all these miracles? No more then a foot you say?

    • Anonymous

       Too much information

    • Anonymous-Sam

       Should trade in for a magic toenail instead.

  • Mary

    Whoever wrote that sign is not dealing with a disability. That’s all I have to say.

  • tamerlane

    Your legs are too short to kick-box with God?

  • Peer Reviewed

    Why won’t God heal amputees?  Google it.

  • Rob Thomas

    I’m an agnostic with one leg – am I in a better or worse position?

  • Parse

    Maybe it’s because the footless churchgoer has been playing golf longer?

  • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

    I don’t get why this would be offensive to handicapped people. 

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      To deeply religious disabled people, maybe not.  But to most, it’s like saying their missing feet are no big deal, compared to missing faith!

    • Thackerie

      I still have feet — but they don’t do me much good most of the time, with my knees and hips often paralyzed by multiple sclerosis. As a handicapped person who does NOT have faith — and doesn’t want it — I feel this church sign is belittling my physical debility. Being crippled has made a major difference in my life, and I don’t like it when someone who apparently has no idea of what it’s like pretends it’s insignificant and not even close to the “tragedy” of being unable to “believe” in religious crap.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson
  • http://twitter.com/ThyGoddess Michelle

    To them I answer this:

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/lev/21.html#17

    According to their fancy holy book thing, handicapped people are going to hell as much as we are. So there. :P

  • Anonymous

    I’m the one who took the photo, and I’d like to say thanks to all for the comments.  I’m preparing to contact the church directly, but I’ve had a bit of trouble marshalling my thoughts.  I seem to be stuck at the sputtering stage … you know, the “At what point was this a good idea????” response.  You’ve all really helped me focus.  :)

    I leave you with a quote from Rick Hansen: “My disability is that I cannot use my legs.  My handicap is your negative perception of that disability, and thus of me.”

    So …  My “handicap?”  Your “problem!”

  • Leoal Nelson

    OMG I think my friend goes to that church. I can’t believe it’s on here. I feel like a celebrity. If it helps, she’s very open to debate. Hoping to make inroads. 

    • Anonymous

      You might want to pass on to her that any posts made in the church website’s guest book regarding the sign are being deleted.  I posted – respectfully – and included my email address so that they could contact me if they wanted to start a conversation.  The post was deleted within hours, and I’ve heard nothing.  So your friend may be open to debate, but it’s pretty clear the church administration isn’t.

  • ReadingSpinoza

    It is rather perplexing because people without feet would have no soul!  ;-)   In fact they wouldn’t have two souls!

  • José

    This reminds me of the inspirational story peg holes in the sand.

  • http://www.facebook.com/antony.burt Antony Burt

    The person with faith has more of a handicap than a person without faith.

  • Dholifield

    People without feet are better off. At least they have legs to stand on.

  • Christi99100

    My husband was an atheist long before he became an amputee.  After he was hit by a car, he didn’t thank god for his survival or curse god for letting it happen.  He thanked the scientists at Bandit helmets, cursed the bitch that couldn’t look both ways, thanked the prosthetists that gave him the ability to run a marathon, and got on with his life.  To quote Liz: “no faith, no foot, no problem.”

    • http://lizheywoodwriter.blogspot.com/ Liz Heywood

      R’amen!!


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