By the time you read this we might be at war with Canada or Trump may have invited Kim Jong Un for a sleepover in the Lincoln bedroom. Anything could happen! We’re literally living in the most dangerous reality show ever televised. And the most hateful people are feeling more emboldened than ever.
Which brings me to Jeff Amyx, owner and proprietor of Amyx Hardware and Roofing Supplies in Washburn, Tennessee, and his crudely scrawled “No gays allowed” sign in his store window. He originally hung the sign up after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples could get legally married. Though some news reports have claimed that Amyx put the sign “back up” following the Court’s “gay cake” ruling, it’s actually never clear that he ever took the original sign down. It’s possible that he just doubled down on his message by adding more signage.
There are many things that bother me about this sign, but one thing that is simply not being commented upon enough is its ugliness. I mean, yes, it’s figuratively ugly. But I’m talking literally here.
Keep in mind, I have never been to this store. For one thing, it is in Tennessee and I am not. For another, well, the owner is clearly a hateful person. But I have the magic of the interwebs.
So from what I’ve seen in photos, the anti-gay sign is taped on the glass on the store’s front door surrounded by other signs, some of which are professionally done (like the grammatically-troubled “SMILE your on Camera” sign). The sign is a plain white sheet of office size paper with “No gays allowed” handwritten in black marker. The letters are unevenly spaced and the width of the marker strokes lack uniformity. So definitely no points for presentation.
Compare this to the banner hanging below his store’s roadside sign that reads, “God destroyed all the SODOMITES for an EXAMPLE. 2nd Peter 2:6.” This banner was clearly done by some kind of professional sign-making entity, though the color scheme, red writing on white background, leaves a lot to be desired. It’s of the same colors and font used in the Amyx store sign right above it. While I can appreciate the stylistic continuity, the anti-gay message could really use a splash of color to make it pop.
And speaking of color, there’s a smaller red and white sign hung from the bottom of the Sodomites banner that reads, “Now mixing paint.” It is very confusing. I mean, if the only sign above it was the one reading “Amyx Hardware and Roofing Supplies” then the meaning of the paint sign would be clear: this is a hardware store and we mix paint. But the paint sign being separated from the store sign by the sodomites banner, to which it is also attached, muddies the context. So I find myself wondering, “What are the gays doing with paint? Does this have something to do with the rainbow? There a prohibition about mixing in Leviticus, but isn’t it about mixing fabrics?” In other words, there is a real lack of message continuity.
But the effort is there. Clearly, the sodomites banner took some planning and money, while the “No gays allowed” sign is a slapdash embarrassment.
Also worth noting that according to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump is just fine with shop owners putting up signs refusing gays. This is, of course, not the first time Trump has given his nod of approval to something totally lacking in quality or grace.
But to be fair to Amyx, the nearest Hobby Lobby to his store looks to be about 30 miles away according to Google Maps. That said, it’s a hardware store! It sells paint (mixed, even!), brushes, rulers, duct tape (which comes in all sorts of colors and patterns these days), adhesives, lighting, fasteners of all kind. Anything you could conceivably need to make an impressive sign was available to him at cost. In other words, Amyx had everything he needed to #BeBest, but he didn’t.
And Jesus wept.