Is Pun.ctu-ation Im!portant?

Is punctuation important? For the First Christian Church in Gulfport, Mississippi, it’s a question mark.

(Photo by Courtney Kirkham)

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • Matt Eggler


  • Mr. Pantaloons

    No, it’s perfect as is. A morally bankrupt God does, in fact, offer instant credit.

  • sam

    Wasn’t there a movie in the 90s about an advertising executive played by Dudley Moore who goes mad and starts incorporating honesty into his advertising campaigns? Is this life imitating art?

    • suzeb1964
      • blasphemous_kansan

        “Sony. BGRRRRRRP!!!”

        -Christopher Lloyd.

        What a great movie.

        • suzeb1964

          Metamucil: It helps you go to the toilet. If you don’t use it, you’ll get cancer and die.

  • Carmelita Spats

    This is easy to solve if you are a follower of Marcion. A morally bankrupt God offers instant credit but Jesus saves at Citibank.

    • Matt Eggler

      Jesus saves but the mongol hordes.

      • wmdkitty

        Jesus saves, the rest of you take 2d6 damage.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    I wonder what the APR goes up to if you miss a payment.

    • WoodyTanaka

      Given that you get eternal damnation for manipulating your genitals, I don’t want to know.

  • M. Elaine

    “Go eat my child” vs. “Go eat, my child.”

    • CoboWowbo

      For a second there, I thought you were inviting me to dinner. :)

  • cryofly

    They take pride in truthiness!

  • suzeb1964

    At least they got the “morally bankrupt” part right.

    • kelemi

      In cahoots with morally bankrupt bank?

  • Susie

    Perfect? Oh, yes, perfect.

  • CelticWhisper

    Morally bankrupt, god offers instant credit! Film at 11.

  • The Other Weirdo

    What I got from that, apart from their appalling lack of punctuation awareness, is that their god will offer instant credit to the morally bankrupt to carry on as they did in the past without change for a chance at future salvation in another life. Yes. Christian morality at its finest.

    • Thalfon

      Yeah, this is what stood out to me after looking at it. Whether you read it as “Morally bankrupt? God offers instand credit!” or “Morally bankrupt god offers instant credit!”, it’s still a pretty terrible thing to be advertising. The latter for the obvious reasons, the former because it’s basically saying, “Do whatever horrible things you want, we’ll bail out your soul!”

  • TCC

    Worst haiku ever.

  • Jon Peterson

    Because the church is SOOOO moral؟

    • kelemi

      Maybe the person making the sign was a banker.

  • allein

    I have worked as a professional proofreader and I’m not seeing a problem here. ;)

    • JohnnieCanuck

      You’d have to have had a lot of hours of experience with PhotoShop. The pixels give it away. :-}

      • allein

        well that explains it…my photoshop skills are very basic. :b

  • meekinheritance

    Funny how you don’t see organized groups of secular humanists making silly signs like this.

    • JohnnieCanuck

      Joe, Klein on the other hand might.

  • GloomCookie613

    Punctuation is very important.

  • Joel

    Is this a question about the church in general?

  • UWIR

    I recall reading about how the lack of modern punctuation marks makes some of the Bible ambiguous, such as:
    A voice cries out in the wilderness “make way for the Lord”.
    A voice cries out “In the wilderness, make way for the Lord”.

    And then of course, there’s the Simpsons:
    “Free consultation? No! Money down.”

  • jcm

    The lack of proper punctuation makes it a good example of an amphiboly.

  • wmdkitty


    “Let’s eat Grandma!”

  • Randay

    There is a funny book about punctuation by Lynne Truss. It has a panda on the cover and the title, “Eats, Shoots & Leaves”. Click on “Look Inside” for the Panda story. When I have doubts about punctuation, I consult a handy book, “The Merriam-Webster Concise Handbook for Writers”. It is, let’s say, more concise than the usual massive style manuals. Though I do wonder if it shouldn’t be “The Merriam-Webster’s”?

  • kelemi

    Maybe they were thinking of Banks which are Morally Bankrupt.

  • kelemi

    A man in czarist Russia wrote this about a political prisoner.

    Pardon impossible to be sent to Siberia.

    Meant to write this:
    Pardon impossible, to be sent to Siberia.

    Someone grabbed a pen and the text was this:
    Pardon, impossible to be sent to Siberia.

    From Ripley’s Believe it or not.

  • baal

    My favorite punctuation example involves an uncle jack. It’s vulgar so I’ll leave it at that.