Jeezus is just not selling me on this one.

I take tremendous pride in my half-assed, poorly executed, semi-regular attempts to extract $82 billion worth of benefits per year from the Religion-Industrial-Complex on behalf of atheist U.S. taxpayers. I find this to be a worthwhile endeavor not only as a stinging retort to the appalling injustice of $82 billion in yearly taxpayer subsidies to the R-I-C, but also because I thoroughly enjoy mocking one particular church sign in the small town in Northern Maryland where my mother lives. Granted, it may not provide the full $82 billion in amusement value. But we have to start somewhere, people.

Today’s church sign does not disappoint.




Now let me underscore here that literacy privilege is A Thing, and generally speaking we should not mock those who do not have it. Earth is home to an astonishing number of amazing and interesting people whose ideas are well worth engaging, even if spelling and grammar are not their personal forte. This could be true for any number of reasons that come to mind readily enough: learning disabilities; neurocognitive effects of injury, illness or environmental toxins; poor nutrition; mental illness, including trauma from homelessness or abuse; and of course late exposure to non-native English. But here in these exceptional United States we have another problem. My friend CaitieCat explains:

Particularly in a US context, where educational options are very strongly influenced by class (and race, in an intertwined manner), riding the xenophobes for misspelling ‘illegals’ as ‘illeagles’, or “Muslim” as “muslin”, what we’re saying is, “You should have been smart enough to get yourself born to the right kind of parents, who’d give you access to the best education, who were educated themselves enough to teach you ‘proper’ English, and who were rich enough to make sure you never had to work after school instead of studying!”

So yeah, let’s not do that. Tempting as it may be to go after the low-hanging fruit, we can and we damn well should mock xenophobes for being racist and conservative and terrible entitled assholes. This way, the splash damage splatters all over racists and conservatives and terrible entitled assholes, not shitty spellers. Really, that’s the very least of our problems with these humans.

With all that said, if you accept (tax-free!) tuition money to indoctrinate educate 3- and 4-year old kids, and your curriculum explicitly states “Our students are exposed to structured centers enhancing emergent literacy skills (reading & writing),” WE GET TO FUCKING MOCK YOU FOR SPELLING PRESCHOOL WRONG.

Have a nice day.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    The cliché in the top two lines has been around long enough that descriptivists must perforce accept it, though not so with us prescriptivist pedants.

    And the last character in the sign, though not in the text version following it, is a “I”, not a “1”.

    (/Transcription Tyrant)

  2. says

    Yeah, the more my kids grow, the more I interact with other kids in school, the more I become aware of the enormous privilege mine got literally at the teat when they were talked to and read to in “standard grammar” more or less from day 1.
    But you’re also right: When some people claim superiority over other groups for a certain thing it’s totally OK to mock them for failing at those things.

  3. cmutter says

    I saw an offensive church sign in Durham this weekend that said “Even athiests will eventually confess Jesus is lord”. The most offensive part: it was the same on both sides, telling us the sign-maker really doesn’t know how to spell our name properly.

  4. KG says


    Come now; the sign was clearly aimed at athiests, presumably meaning those without thies, or who deny the existence of thies (whatever thies are). Nothing to do with us atheists at all!