Sophisticated Signology

Alert reader Diane G. sent me this photo, with her title given above, and the message:

I passed this today, in the little village of Augusta, MI.


They can never spell, can they? Or is that deliberate?


  1. Posted March 13, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    INtelligence is not a requirement for belief in YHWH.

  2. Posted March 13, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Maybe they’re making an affectionate reference to Japanese girls with Hansen’s Disease?

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 13, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Literally lol. šŸ˜€

      Much better than anything I’d come up with.

      • Dominic
        Posted March 14, 2013 at 2:13 am | Permalink

        You should have stopped! The Rainbow ends there & there was a pot of gold!

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted March 14, 2013 at 2:36 am | Permalink

          & there was a pot of gold!

          … but the pastor/ guru/ pope/ high heidjun took it for safe-keeping.

    • michaelbusch
      Posted March 13, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      I was going to make that joke…

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted March 14, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Jesus healed the Leperchans, that’s why they’re no longer real.

  3. Greg Esres
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps it reflects a general indifference to accuracy.

    • RFW
      Posted March 14, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      More a general indifference to learning, paying attention, looking up stuff you don’t know, and other activities of a similarly intellectual nature.

  4. Avis James
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Who ever thought “leperchans” were school930. Or am I wrong in assuming they know grammar as well.

  5. neil
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Jesus healed all the lepers, so there are no leperchans anymore.

  6. Posted March 13, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Clearly that branch of Augusta Methodists has not been boning up on their Bible… or watching Jesus Christ Superstar or Darby O’Gill much.

    If they had, they would’ve come across lots of mentions of Jesus healing them leperchans. Or maybe not healing them so much. No matter; leperchans are filthy, disgusting little buggers, anyway. We’d do well to sic our moggies on them and stuff ’em in a sack.

  7. Posted March 13, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    The really scary part? One word:


  8. Posted March 13, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    No, they never can spell. And it’s on purpose! (And not limited to English, either.)

    • RFW
      Posted March 14, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Why do you say that with such assurance? I’m not doubting the truth of your assertion; rather, I’m wondering what the back story is that leads you to make it.

  9. lisa
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    I think it happens most often because the necessary letters get lost. It has been about a millennium since I put up a sign like this one and we always had to ‘creative’ making a needed letter out of what was available.

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted March 14, 2013 at 4:15 am | Permalink

      Yes, in this case that might explain the missing U. Not so much though, when they reverse the order of the R and the E.

      • lisa
        Posted March 15, 2013 at 12:12 am | Permalink

        Dyslexia is a terrible thing!

  10. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Q:But how do you know Jesus is real?

    A:We have faith that He is real.

    Q:Isn’t faith simply belief without evidence?

    A:Yes. We don’t need evidence. We have our faith.

    Q:So how do you know leprechauns aren’t real?

    A:C’mon. We all know they’re not real.

    Q:But how do we know? Is it some kind of faith that leprechauns aren’t real?

    A:No, not really. We just know. Everybody knows they’re not real.

    Q:Do you realize how stupid you sound right now? You can’t have it both ways.

    A:That’s offensive. Can we please stick to the arguments?


  11. Jim Sweeney
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    If you like church sign humor, you’ve got to start reading the guy who collects it, Christian Piatt. Here’s Volume eighteen, with links to the rest. (Via Fred Clark of Slactivist)

    • jesse
      Posted March 14, 2013 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      You probably know there is a website where you can make your own church signs… I ran across the site several years ago. I’m sure you could find it somehow.

  12. coozoe
    Posted March 13, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Hey, they’re just spelling it like they say it.

  13. madscientist
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    How peculiar – United Methodists asserting that Jesus is real.

  14. Glater Burger
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    It’s not deliberate: they are inarticulate and ignorant. The worst part of it is that they are often PROUD of it, because it proves that they are not like the despised “elites”…

    • truthspeaker
      Posted March 14, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink


    • jesse
      Posted March 14, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Don’t be too serious about this one. I work in retail over the internet, and I see a gigantic percentage of people unable to write, spell, or even form complete sentences. It utterly surprises me every day; when I first started, I thought they were all some sort of joke and that they were doing it on purpose to be funny.
      I am a college grad and never really realized how many Americans cannot write well; I lived a sheltered life! So I don’t know if I’d blame this one on religious ignorance in this case.

      But we all agree, the whole thing is funny. Of course it’s only funny when you are one of those who knows how to spell it in the first place.

  15. Vidar
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    Having seen the anti-intellectual stance of American Christianity, I would think that misspelling words is a virtue amongst their kind.

    A TRUE Christian ™ would have spelled the message as follows: Jayzes iz fur reelz lerperchans ar nut!!!!!!

    Please note the multiple exclamation points.

  16. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    Do you suppose the bathos is intentional?

  17. Occam
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    Sophisticated Theology, Jerry.
    They can’t be sure there are no real leprechauns (why believe one absurdity and not the other?) but they can discredit the sound of the idea.
    Like that story of the old Southern senator campagning, as told by Alistair Cooke:

    He made the same little speech, an outrageous, scurrilous speech about his opponent, designed to impress the poor and the simple, and he delivered it absolutely deadpan.

    It ended:

    “I just hate to tell you this folks, but my opponent masticates his food, and worse, he has a sister up in New York who’s a thespian.”

    He won handsomely.

    • Kevin Alexander
      Posted March 14, 2013 at 4:36 am | Permalink

      It’s worse than that. Not only did his opponent matriculate with his sister at the same school but all of the so called teachers there registered pedagogues.

    • jesse
      Posted March 14, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      The American comedian Norm Crosby took malapropism to new heights. He made his entertainment career on his brilliant abilities to mangle words. If you can find any clips on YouTube you won’t be disappointed. He is the Master of Malaprop in the entertainment world.

  18. Matt G
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 3:46 am | Permalink

    I once saw a church sign that read: “Fish can’t walk – Jesus saves”. I thought about posting pictures of mudskippers but didn’t. At least they spelled everything correctly.

  19. Kingasaurus
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t remember seeing church signs like this when I was a kid. Saw plenty of church signs with messages on them, but making sure to remind people that Jesus was “real” (and leprechauns were not) isn’t something that would have ever been seen as a potential message on a sign.

    Maybe because, back then, equating Jesus with other things that everyone agreed were imaginary wasn’t an argument that was in the public consciousness at all. Only vocal atheists make arguments akin to this, and decades ago, atheist arguments weren’t really part of the public debate in America on these issues. Churches didn’t have to counter an argument that wasn’t being made by anyone with a platform.

    Every time I see a church sign trying to counter an atheist argument, it tells me that American churches now have to fight against something that in past decades they never perceived as a problem.

    A good sign, I think.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 14, 2013 at 5:54 am | Permalink

      Glad you brought that up. That’s actually what caught my eye at first; it’s almost defensive. I wonder if they’ll go the whole year contrasting Jesus with other mythological characters?

      • RFW
        Posted March 14, 2013 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        Santa Claus. The Tooth Fairy. The Easter Bunny. The Great Pumpkin. Godzilla and Mothra.

        Any more?

        • zendruid1
          Posted March 14, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

          The monster under your bed.

      • jesse
        Posted March 14, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        What I’d like to know is whether they’d consider making a similar message at Christmas time, outing Santa Claus : )

  20. Diane G.
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Oooh, I’ll bet it was originally spelled correctly and then the leprechauns themselves changed it! They’re so meta.

  21. threecheersforreason
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    “They can never spell, can they?”

    Cognitive bias; fundamental attribution error.

  22. Lurker111
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    To really give the church folks problems, sneak up on the sign one night and add a few apostrophes.

  23. Posted March 14, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure the lepers at 4chan are real

    • Posted March 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      *they’re the cancer that’s killing /b/

  24. Posted March 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Looks likes good sign to remove a “1” from…just add to the hilarity.

  25. Gary W
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me of the great TV show Fawlty Towers. Each episode opened with a shot of the hotel sign, which was always wrong in some way due to missing letters or creative vandalism. I remember “Farty Towels”, “Flowery Twats” and “Watery Fowls”.

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