307: A Visual ‘Tuesday Quiz’: So, what’s wrong with these signs of the times?

Today’s Quiz comes from one of those chain Emails that spreads around the Internet. I’ve received it now from several people over several months. It’s a remarkable example of spiritually witty sparring between a couple of quite different churches — or really between the clergy, most likely — via the churches’ signs along the road.
    Read through the exchange. It’s sure to make you smile.
    Then, here’s the Quiz:
    What’s wrong with these signs of the times? I’ll explain at the very end of this exchange of signs.


SO, What Do You Think
of This Remarkable Exchange?

    Did you notice anything about these images? The messages are funny, because such debates do take place — although rarely with such wit! The idea that a couple of clergy sparred along a busy roadway over a period of days or weeks — hilarious, right?
    But what made me suspicious about the images is that the lighting is exactly the same in every photograph. In fact, the tree-limb shadows cast across the Catholic sign are in the same place each time. Of course, there’s also a light-colored car in an identical position in the left corner of each Catholic sign.
    So, what could have happened here? Did a couple of clever people stage this debate one afternoon with lots of black letters and a camera?

    No, the sun and shadows are absolutely precise.
    I began to dig further and discovered through a couple of intriguing phrases that I found within the forwarded Email that this all came from a Web site. I spent a little spare time, over a period of days, and tracked down a Web site with some pretty clever — and also troubling — software that lets people fake photos. The creator of the site allows people to fake more than church signs, if you dig around on his site. The church-sign feature seems pretty funny, given the popularity of clever church signs all across the U.S. these days. Heck, there are even picture books now devoted to the best church signs photographers have spotted coast to coast.

    Now, one wonders about some of those photos we see of way-too-clever signs, hmmm? And, this is also an excellent reminder that a photo, these days, is not proof of anything.
    I visited the site myself and easily came up with the following … (I’ll show you 2 versions just to demonstrate the software’s ability.)



    I’m not going to spread the URL further, because apparently during the Jewish High Holidays someone used the site to spread offensive signs around the Internet. The people who did this also targeted Orthodox Christians. They did this using a variety of simple tools the creator of the site laid out for anyone to use.
    There is now a fairly lame “apology” on the Web site that says, in part: “If you’ve received a photo of a sign from ‘Beth Shalom Synagogue,’
or from ‘Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church,’ or some other
denomination, that had an offensive message spelled out on it, and
wondered where this church or synagogue is, the answer is: it isn’t. … It’s a fake photo
created with software on this website. … Someone used the site to create that sign and then they chose to
e-mail it to a lot of Jewish people on Rosh Hashanah, and another
person made another offensive sign and sent it to a lot of Greek
Orthodox people. I’m sorry if you received it, but I’m afraid there’s
not much I can do about it.”

    Well, one thing we can do is to decline to lead you to the site.
    And, we can show you this Quiz today, so that the next time you’re sent a troubling photo in an Email chain — think twice about its accuracy.

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    (Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)


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