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(Washington Post)   Church, in trouble with zoning officials because their electronic sign changes more than twice in a 24-hour period, says that god would want their sign to change more frequently and is suing for religious discrimination   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 85
    More: Asinine, religious discrimination, zoning, free speech, orbital period, Institutionalized Persons Act, undue burden, Religious Land Use  
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4405 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Aug 2012 at 11:06 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-30 12:26:08 AM
You know what this is going to lead to? Lightswitch raves, that's what. Soon all the cool kids will be showing up to church shirtless and wearing luchador masks and boxing gloves, and as a society with strict church/state separation, we can't have that.
 
2012-08-30 01:40:56 AM
Thou shall not change electronic signs more than twice a day.

That allows for 3 messages. I think someone (probably the article's author) has farked up.

It is a stupid law though. I can understand why they might not want something that would distract drivers, but if that's the case limiting changes to once every minute or even 5 minutes would be sufficient.

I'm really surprised anyone even noticed.
 
2012-08-30 01:43:57 AM
I'm not religious at all and I think this ordinance is retarded. Of course I'm used to driving on I80 into San Francisco where there are fully animated digital billboards every few hundred feet or so.
 
2012-08-30 07:14:12 AM
God's going to need to apply for a variance just like everyone else. Even God hates city councils.
 
2012-08-30 07:57:19 AM

fusillade762: I'm not religious at all and I think this ordinance is retarded. Of course I'm used to driving on I80 into San Francisco where there are fully animated digital billboards every few hundred feet or so.


I'm not religious at all, either, but I live in Vermont where any and all billboards are illegal.
55 years of pop-up free driving.
We're not all in-your-face about religion here, either. Although, a Vermont postcard without a steeple sticking out of a bunch of trees is kinda lame.
 
2012-08-30 08:20:04 AM
Whiners. The Amish seem to be able to work within this law, why can't this church?
 
2012-08-30 08:23:02 AM
i232.photobucket.com
 
2012-08-30 09:21:36 AM

I_Am_Weasel: Whiners. The Amish seem to be able to work within this law, why can't this church?


Yeah, but they have a guy outside the church to change the sign, and he can only manage to change it twice a day,, making the Amish compliant with this law.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2012-08-30 10:06:24 AM
It doesn't really matter what they think of the law, everyone else has to follow it, they should too.

If the law needs to be changed then change it for everyone. The only way it could be religious discrimination is if it only applied to churches.
 
2012-08-30 10:59:40 AM
Fine. Have God show up in person deity to testify at the hearing. Or provide a signed, notorized deposition of God's preference in the matter. Your opinion of God's preference is not admissable.
 
2012-08-30 11:09:56 AM

vpb: It doesn't really matter what they think of the law, everyone else has to follow it, they should too.

If the law needs to be changed then change it for everyone. The only way it could be religious discrimination is if it only applied to churches.


Making a constitutional free speech (as well as a free exercise of religion claim) DOES change it for everyone. The Constitution applies to all of us. Assuming a judge agrees with their claim, and makes a broad ruling, it would apply to everyone's digital billboard (on the free speech claim). FYI

On another note, I could have sworn I've seen constantly switching digital billboards for banks in Fairfax County. Maybe I'm imagining things.
 
2012-08-30 11:12:04 AM
What a sign that doesn't change for 12 hours may look like.

i216.photobucket.com
 
2012-08-30 11:12:11 AM
and so the war on christmas begins.
 
2012-08-30 11:12:54 AM

Tell Me How My Blog Tastes: On another note, I could have sworn I've seen constantly switching digital billboards for banks in Fairfax County. Maybe I'm imagining things.


FTFA: "The church's attorney, Michael York, said the limit is applied arbitrarily. Electronic signs that display the time or weather information, for instance, are exempt."

And that's what all the bank billboards have. So put weather and time on your billboard, and call it a day. Geez, I hate it when people are obtuse.
 
2012-08-30 11:13:24 AM
If the idea is to prevent flashing signs, nobody in their right mind would watch it and call it flashing if it changes even 15 or 20 times a day (unless they all occurred within a few seconds).
 
M-G
2012-08-30 11:15:33 AM

vpb: It doesn't really matter what they think of the law, everyone else has to follow it, they should too.

If the law needs to be changed then change it for everyone. The only way it could be religious discrimination is if it only applied to churches.


THIS.
 
2012-08-30 11:15:58 AM
I drive about an hour to and from work each day. In that hour's trip I pass two churches- one near where I work, and one a block from home- both of which have an older sort of message sign out in front of them, of the sort that's backlit and has transparent letters you arrange on it to form your message.

About we week ago, both of them read the same thing:

CH CH

WHAT'S MISSING FROM THE ABOVE WORD?

U R!


One was a Salvation Army chapter, the other was a Baptist church, so this was just coincidence, I suppose. But evidently both of them thought this was pretty pithy and clever. Just makes me want to find an H, M, and O that I could modify the "U R!" with.

Incidentally the latter of these places had a message on the other side of the sign that, about two weeks ago read:

FREE LOVE INSIDE

INQUIRE WITHIN


And as of about a week ago was changed to read:

GOD'S LOVE INSIDE

INQUIRE WITHIN


At a guess, I'd say they never heard of Hippies till last week.


Oh, the article you say? Yeah, it's pretty silly. Didn't have to read it to see that.
 
2012-08-30 11:16:16 AM
*raises finger*

What does god need with an electronic sign?
 
2012-08-30 11:16:24 AM
Neighbors, even those who said they don't like the sign, said it seemed a waste of government time and resources to worry about the number of messages on a church sign.

Make that "any" sign and count me among the neighbors.

Does this also apply to gas stations that need to update prices? How's that work?

Dumb law.
 
2012-08-30 11:16:25 AM
We had a giant LED billboard out here. It proved too tempting of a target for airsoft weaponry.

/no one misses it and all the light pollution is caused
 
2012-08-30 11:18:12 AM
And lo God said unto them, ye signs of light shall change to my needs every half day, and ye shall change thine bulbs upon darkening at regular intervals.
 
2012-08-30 11:18:56 AM
Subby needs to show some respect. It's not "god" it's God or GOD.
 
2012-08-30 11:20:35 AM

gerrymander: You know what this is going to lead to? Lightswitch raves, that's what. Soon all the cool kids will be showing up to church shirtless and wearing luchador masks and boxing gloves, and as a society with strict church/state separation, we can't have that.


media.tumblr.com
 
2012-08-30 11:20:54 AM

vudukungfu: I'm not religious at all, either, but I live in Vermont where any and all billboards are illegal.


If I can't see around your stupid sign to merge into traffic safely, I'm kicking the bastard over.

/three so far
 
2012-08-30 11:21:23 AM
Well, I hope your God pays your fine for you! It's the least he can do. Literally.
 
2012-08-30 11:23:02 AM
Why is this is a constitutional issue? Seems like a content-neutral regulation of time, place or manner to me.
 
2012-08-30 11:23:19 AM

dac74656: Subby needs to show some respect. It's not "god" it's God or GOD.


The creator of all cosmic things, the one responsible for and aware of everything that has existed or happened before or since unto infinity, genuinely cares about a naked ape on a ball of iron in a disused corner of the universe using a specific glyph on a pitiful electronic clacking machine.
 
2012-08-30 11:23:51 AM

namegoeshere: Fine. Have God show up in person deity to testify at the hearing. Or provide a signed, notorized deposition of God's preference in the matter. Your opinion of God's preference is not admissable.


You're absolutely right.

But George Burns is dead.
 
2012-08-30 11:24:40 AM
You know, before I read the article, I was expecting a giant electronic billboard and was prepared to be on the city's side. But that's not that big a sign. Actually, it's like a hundred different signs, church and non-church, in my area. Somehow they all manage to display different messages, sometimes all in a row, without anyone giving even a single damn. It's not a first amendment case, but it is a "City Council are morons" case.
 
2012-08-30 11:25:30 AM
The law is stupid.

However, the Church is trolling by claiming this is some sort of infringement on free speech or religious freedom
 
2012-08-30 11:25:37 AM

Flakeloaf: dac74656: Subby needs to show some respect. It's not "god" it's God or GOD.

The creator of all cosmic things, the one responsible for and aware of everything that has existed or happened before or since unto infinity, genuinely cares about a naked ape on a ball of iron in a disused corner of the universe using a specific glyph on a pitiful electronic clacking machine.


not to mention how much this creator cares if you eat a bologna sammich on a friday during lent.
 
2012-08-30 11:25:44 AM

SN1987a goes boom: And lo God said unto them, ye signs of light shall change to my needs every half day, and ye shall change thine bulbs upon darkening at regular intervals.


I am the way, the truth and the light. Bingo Thurs. Night 8:00pm.
 
2012-08-30 11:26:01 AM

qmart: Why is this is a constitutional issue?


Because Christian Persecution in America, of course.
 
2012-08-30 11:28:19 AM
What I want to know is 1) who complained about LED signs in the first place, and 2) why didn't the ninnies on the Fairfax county commission tell the complainers to STFU and GTFO instead of passing such a ridiculous ordinance?
 
2012-08-30 11:29:11 AM
The church will win and anyone who rtfa knows it.
 
2012-08-30 11:30:00 AM

THX 1138: gerrymander: You know what this is going to lead to? Lightswitch raves, that's what. Soon all the cool kids will be showing up to church shirtless and wearing luchador masks and boxing gloves, and as a society with strict church/state separation, we can't have that.

[media.tumblr.com image 500x362]


Is that legit? I thought The Cheat was dead!
 
2012-08-30 11:30:02 AM

vpb: It doesn't really matter what they think of the law, everyone else has to follow it, they should too.


That's just what Bashar al-Assad wants his people to think.
 
2012-08-30 11:38:49 AM
The suit says that the county's ordinance violates a 2000 law, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which prohibits zoning rules that place undue burdens on religious institutions.

Yes, because changing the settings on your digital LED sign so that it doesn't spam the area with flashing messages every few minutes is such a burden.

Waaaah! God is on our side, so we dont' have to follow the rules. Help, we're being discriminated against!
 
2012-08-30 11:41:23 AM

Englebert Slaptyback: *raises finger*

What does god need with an electronic sign?


You'd think that if God really wanted the church to have a big bright sign that changes whenever they want it to, he could just make the clouds form words.

/that or send a giant spider.
//some church
 
2012-08-30 11:47:39 AM

Flakeloaf: dac74656: Subby needs to show some respect. It's not "god" it's God or GOD.

The creator of all cosmic things, the one responsible for and aware of everything that has existed or happened before or since unto infinity, genuinely cares about a naked ape on a ball of iron in a disused corner of the universe using a specific glyph on a pitiful electronic clacking machine.


That's one of the cool things about God. He's both a big-picture thinker and a small-picture thinker at the same time.

/church needs to STFU and follow the law
 
2012-08-30 11:55:12 AM

Tell Me How My Blog Tastes: Tell Me How My Blog Tastes: On another note, I could have sworn I've seen constantly switching digital billboards for banks in Fairfax County. Maybe I'm imagining things.

FTFA: "The church's attorney, Michael York, said the limit is applied arbitrarily. Electronic signs that display the time or weather information, for instance, are exempt."

And that's what all the bank billboards have. So put weather and time on your billboard, and call it a day. Geez, I hate it when people are obtuse.


Interesting spin/argument from the attorney, but I suspect it will not be successful. The law seems to be reasonable time, manner, place restrictions. A content neutral law with the exception of listing the current time or temperature is reasonable, given the fact that the time and temperature changes throughout the day.

The church would have a stronger argument if they were be told they could not update the sign to reflect a changing number, such as the number of souls saved throughout the day.
 
J3
2012-08-30 11:56:58 AM
There actually could be a Constitutional issue here. Just like the media, churches have special First Amendment considerations that have to be taken into account. And because of the liberal favorite "wall of separation" interpretation the government has to have an especially compelling need to enforce speech regulations on a church.

I don't know enough about this specific case to comment further but people saying the church should have to follow the same laws as every one else could be very wrong. On most things yes, but things get tricky if the First Amendment is involved.
 
2012-08-30 11:58:06 AM

BitwiseShift: What a sign that doesn't change for 12 hours may look like.

[i216.photobucket.com image 200x176]


Nice.
 
2012-08-30 12:03:36 PM
It is a stupid law and I think it was put there for Luddite reasons (why does it only apply to electronic sign?) but I don't believe the two-message limit violates the church's rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion.

Also does "electronic" have a legal meaning? Does it mean the law applies only to sign that use semi-conductors (or vacuum tubes)? How about purely electrical part like motors, relays and light bulbs? How about a purely mechanical sign that use no electricity at all? 

FTA: "The two-lane thoroughfare predates the Civil War and is officially designated a Virginia scenic byway. More than one civic group works to preserve it."

Yeah, the area really looks like the middle of the 19th century, an electronic sign that displays more than two different message a day will totally ruin the illusion of being in the past.
 
2012-08-30 12:15:12 PM
I would like to see the original reasoning behind why this law was put in place.

How are drivers negatively affected by more than two messages? Is more than two messages more dangerous?

I am really failing to understand why this law exists in the first place...

I am having a difficult time grasping how the world is a better place because of this law.
 
2012-08-30 12:16:01 PM

J3: There actually could be a Constitutional issue here. Just like the media, churches have special First Amendment considerations that have to be taken into account. And because of the liberal favorite "wall of separation" interpretation the government has to have an especially compelling need to enforce speech regulations on a church.

I don't know enough about this specific case to comment further but people saying the church should have to follow the same laws as every one else could be very wrong. On most things yes, but things get tricky if the First Amendment is involved.


What specific considerations must be taken into account when dealing with the speech of Churches v. the speech of non-Churches?

Also, what are examples of where Churches have heightened First Amendment free speech rights?
 
2012-08-30 12:18:42 PM
Anti- technology bill. There is no advantage in using the latest technology if you are restricted to the levels used by the previous technology.

They were worried that folks would try to get away with increasingly faster and faster messages which, I guess they believed to be disruptive to driving.. so they put the limits very low, to discourage it entirely.

It's also possible that the old govenor's daughter was involved in a car accident while trying to read a sign that Billy bob was in the process of changing.

It vaguely reminds me of local laws they used to have around here which required drivers of an automobile to honk the horn at an intersection, then get out of the car, and wave a flag in the intersection while looking both ways, and then driving across.

It's funny though.. the church attorney asks "so how come the date, temperature, and time clocks are exempt from this restriction?"

Well duh.. kind of a useless clock if it only changes twice per day, though I doubt the date on a sign would change more than once per day, under normal circumstances.
 
2012-08-30 12:19:27 PM
I would also like to state that I am pretty upset as a Fairfax County resident and tax payer that my tax money is going to some code enforcement officer's salary to watch electronic signs. That is an insane waste of my money.
 
2012-08-30 12:20:27 PM
REPENT OR BURN IN HELL!

79 F, 11:50AM
 
2012-08-30 12:21:00 PM
So I take it "separation of church and state" doesn't apply when the church benefits from it?
 
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