And The Sign Said…

And The Sign Said…
Rachel Birdsell

Rachel Birdsell

Once upon a time, I had a blog and on it, I often wrote about the ridiculous church signs I would see. They were one of my favorite subjects to write about. Partly because at the time I lived in a rural area in Arkansas, so there was no shortage of material, and partly because church signs are so obnoxiously crass to me that dissecting them caused me to become so giddy that I damn near had the vapors.

So last week, when I came across a news story about a particularly bad church sign message, I was both appalled and atwitter, and had to loosen my corset lest I have a fainting fit.

This near-vapor-inducing sign was outside the Knoxville Baptist Tabernacle, obviously in Knoxville, Tenn., and read, “Remember. Satan was the first to demand equal rights.” Residents took umbrage to the sign’s message, wondering which group of people shouldn’t have equal rights.

As a woman who was raised in the Baptist church, where the only good woman is a submissive one, I immediately took it to mean women’s rights. There were those in the LBGT community who thought it was about them. Perhaps black residents took it to mean their rights, or maybe immigrants took it to mean theirs. Any group that’s been discriminated against could feel their rights were the ones being compared to Satan’s. In other words, pretty much any group other than straight, white males.

But, according to the church’s pastor, Tony Greene, everyone is just misinterpreting the sign’s message. Tony reassured us that, “Our sign referencing Satan demanding his equal rights to ascend into the heavens and be God was simply ‘I’ and all about that individual. It was not a statement against any one group in particular. You know, what about the rights of the unborn babies, the rights of children, the rights of everyone?” Then, without even the tiniest whiff of irony or self-awareness, he added, “My heart breaks in the dividedness of our country.”

Oh, Tony, Tony, Tony. I don’t know where to begin with your argument, because it’s not even an argument. It’s a bunch of words that are supposed to resemble an argument, but instead look like someone puked up the alphabet. Your letter barf is the Donald Trump of hair, the Fox News of news, the Mike Huckabee of presidential hopefuls.

Seriously, dude. Were you accidentally microwaved as a toddler? We all know that you weren’t talking about the rights of unborn babies or the rights of children, so don’t insult our intelligence. The thing is, you put something offensive on the sign. Everyone knows that, so at least have the balls to own it once it bites you in the ass. If you’re going to be discriminatory, just be discriminatory. Come out of out the closet with that shit. Wear it like a badge. Embrace it. Whisper in its ear. Caress it. Hug it. Pet it. Squeeze it, and call it George. Shout it from the rooftop.

And, if you don’t believe in what you’re putting on your sign enough to do any of these things, then maybe you should sit down, shut up, and keep your smug intolerance to yourself.

Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and graphic artist. You can reach her at

Categories: Commentary