Thursday, April 05, 2007

Neighboring businesses in Jesus vs. Satan spat

Tattoo artist opposed to 'Beep for Christ' sign demands sympathy for devil
Posted: April 3, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

Some might call them "signs" of the Last Days.

Two neighboring businesses that share a parking lot are locked in a dispute pitting Jesus and Satan against each other, with each posting streetside signs asking passers-by to honk for their favorite.

The first shot in the spiritual warfare now underway in a small shopping plaza in Naugatauck, Conn., began when Claudette Soden, a devout Christian and owner of Photos Onto DVD, posted a sign at the front of the parking lot proclaiming, "Easter: Beep for Christ."

For Soden, who told the Waterbury Republican-American Jesus is her "partner in business," the sign was just an opportunity for her to express her faith.

The sign not only drew beeps from drivers, it drew the attention of Phil Young who works next door at No Regrets, a tattooing and body piercing shop that's been operating since 2003.

Young put his artistic skills to work and posted his own sign next to Soden's.

"Honk twice for...," reads the sign, with a caricature of a red devil painted beneath the text.

Young, who insists he's not a satanist, says he doesn't want his clients, who come from a variety of religious backgrounds, to associate Soden's message with his business.

"My main point is that we share a parking lot, and what goes on in this parking lot represents not only hers, but both shops," he told the Republican-American. "What she does inside her business is her business. I would not tell her to get rid of the sign.

"More people have been killed in the name of God than over anything else, and so I don't think people should fight about religion," he said. "Satan is part of the same religion as Christ, so it's a contrast, not a competing religion."

Whether it can be called a fight about religion or not, both businesses say they won't remove their signs.

"His sign is not bothering me, but I know it's bothering Jesus," Soden said. "And children are going to pass by that sign and say, 'What is that? It looks like a devil.' And what are parents going to say to that?"



  1. I consider myself a strong Christian, but I also am realistic enough to know that it isn't appropriate to put something like "Honk if you Love Jesus" in a shared parking lot, especially if you don't share it with a like-minded person.


  2. *Snip'd from another article*

    Naugatuck officials ordered the signs removed.

    While the messages are irrelevant, zoning ordinances require signs to pertain to what businesses sell, do not block sidewalks and do not create a hazard, Mayor Ron San Angelo said.

    "We've got to follow our zoning regulations. That's all we care about," he said.

    Claudette Soden, owner of Photos Onto DVD, had put similar signs up at Christmas when her business was at a different location and said she was continuing that tradition at Easter.

    By Tuesday, Young's sign was gone. Soden was refusing to remove hers.

    "Easter has not passed yet," she said.

    Young, who did not respond to a request by The Associated Press for comment, has said he viewed Soden's message as a sign of religious intolerance for non-Christians. He told the Republican-American of Waterbury he put his sign up because he wanted to present an alternate view.

    "My main point is that we share a parking lot, and what goes on in this parking lot represents not only hers, but both shops," he said. "What she does inside her business is her business."

    Soden, who keeps a Bible on her countertop and displays on her wall a business partnership agreement between her and Jesus, said she was not bothered by Young's posted image of Satan.

    "It didn't offend me, but I know it offended Christ," she said.

    As if the two religious messages weren't enough, a third business owner jumped into the fray by putting out a sign touting civic virtue.

    Roger DeVack, owner of Computer Repair Tech that shares retail space with Soden's business, said he briefly put out a sign urging motorists to honk for the American flag. The sign displayed the red, white and blue.

    He saw nothing wrong with Soden's sign and was annoyed at the fight it prompted.

    "It just seems asinine why people have to turn this into a slugfest between good and evil," he said.