Punctuation May Not Save Your Soul, but It’s Still Your Friend

Polytheism is alive and well in Northeast Portland.
I went for my first Portland run today, which was rainy and squishy, but only sucked a little bit. It’s nice to be back in the old running shoes. I know I’ve promised a post on orca beans, and a delicious recipe is totally on its way. In the meantime, I snapped this picture while I was out running this morning. You design nerds probably have something to say about the font variety and selection, but what concerns editor me is the punctuation.

I strongly suspect that Faith Ministries is devoted to teaching God’s word — the word of God — rather than Gods word — a word that is by and for gods. What would this even be? I’m picturing a secret password that unlocks the door to Olympus. (I wrote about apostrophe abuse at length here.)

Now, Christian faithful, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not picking on religious types just for fun. But there are only five words (and three initials) on this sign. A two-second proofread would have taken care of this issue, one that is now pasted onto a sport-utility vehicle. And the last time I checked (actually never), getting signs printed isn’t cheap.

Even if Faith Ministries has unlimited resources for sign expenditure and assumes only a marginal level of literacy among their target audience, there is another reason they should be concerned: The sign clearly violates the First (and presumably most important) Commandment. Even given the innumerable translations and editions of the Old Testament, Commandment Numero Uno is pretty clear: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” You can interpret this to mean either that the God of Moses is the only one who exists or that he is the only one that the Hebrews were allowed to worship. Either way, Christians, Jews and Muslims are really supposed to be paying attention to the word of only one god, not several.

This isn’t some obscure piece of doctrine or a pick-and-choose aspect of theology (see: transubstantiation). It is the most fundamental aspect of the beliefs of millions and millions of people.

The sign does have some undeniable humorous irony: The most important commandment also seems to be the easiest to follow. I assume that most believers occasionally have a difficult time honoring their parents and not coveting their neighbors’ wives and camels speedboats, but believing in just the one god is something that they all seem to have nailed.

Do I think God is pissed about this? Obviously not. But it is pretty embarrassing. Proofread friends, proofread.

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