a plague of baptists
August 10, 2023 9:42 AM   Subscribe

What is the kindest and most succinct possible phrase, in both English and Spanish, for saying "please take your religion and fuck off my property" so I can put it on a small sign for my door.
posted by phunniemee to Religion & Philosophy (36 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
In English it would be "no proselytizing"
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:52 AM on August 10, 2023 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Speaking as a former missionary (ex-mormon now) in a Spanish speaking country:

No soliciting, religious or otherwise.
No solicitar ni hacer proselitismo religioso.

If (for some reason) you don't care about door-to-door salespersons, you can omit the soliciting reference:

No religious proselytizing.
No hacer proselitismo religioso.

It's important to call out religion specifically as it gives less wiggle-room to say, oh, that sign isn't for me, it's for door-to-door salespeople or political canvassers. Most missionaries should steer clear with this, but you'll occasionally get someone with a bee up their ass full of religious fervor that will ignore the sign and you have my full blessing to ignore them, or to tell them to go away and close the door before they can get a word in.
posted by Aleyn at 9:57 AM on August 10, 2023 [13 favorites]

Response by poster: I have no problem telling people to go away.

My dogs get extremely riled up when anyone comes to the door, and these people WON'T LEAVE when ignored, so I have to actually tell them to go away. Unfortunately in the last group that showed up about 30 minutes ago this lady GRABBED MY DOOR and opened it to hear me better, I guess, and my dogs ran out and nearly tripped a different lady off my stoop, endangering everyone and also my dogs, which would have then been my liability if someone got hurt, and I am so over it UGH.

I got rid of the LDS a while ago by telling them I was a committed atheist and they could put my name on their list of people to baptize after I die. That doesn't deter the rest of them. They're even shipping baptists in from frickin Hammond to convert my neighborhood...
posted by phunniemee at 10:03 AM on August 10, 2023 [8 favorites]

I'm honestly surprised the dogs aren't a deterrent. I'd definitely add a big, ominous "Beware of Dog" sign below the soliciting sign, just to make the threat a bit clearer.
posted by Aleyn at 10:06 AM on August 10, 2023 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: You would think. They're the small do-an-anxiety-shit-on-the-rug dogs not scare-you-away dogs. Unfortunately.
posted by phunniemee at 10:08 AM on August 10, 2023 [11 favorites]

"we support LGBTQ+ rights" works surprisingly well
posted by Dr. Twist at 10:10 AM on August 10, 2023 [33 favorites]

I see some no solicitor signs in both English and Spanish around here. Don't know if they are respected though. A quick google does some Amazon ones for 10 dollars. We just blantently look through the window then do the Chicago thing of not answering our door no matter the noise they make or how often they knock and go about my day. They leave eventually. But you have to wait them out which is really really frustrating.* this isn't really a Chicago thing, I just like to think it is
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:11 AM on August 10, 2023 [3 favorites]

They're the small do-an-anxiety-shit-on-the-rug dogs not scare-you-away dogs. Unfortunately.
Ah, I suppose there's that, but they don't have to know that. Plus, I've seen some chihuahuas I definitely wouldn't want to tangle with so size may not matter as much as you'd think. :P
posted by Aleyn at 10:12 AM on August 10, 2023 [2 favorites]

Regarding the door incident, file a police report - go to the station to do it. totally unacceptable. Get pictures if you see the individual again.
posted by theora55 at 10:14 AM on August 10, 2023 [5 favorites]

I got a really nice slate "No Soliciting" sign for my door that stopped pretty much everyone. I don't know how much further you want to go, but that did work for me.
posted by Slinga at 10:37 AM on August 10, 2023

When you're not expecting guests or package delivery, maybe try stringing a "WET PAINT" sign across your front steps.

Do you usually work from home? Needing to answer the door to shoo them away so that your dogs will calm, then any cleaning up afterwards, is its own pain in the keister when you're trying to work. If this is a frequent occurrence on weekdays between 9-5, I'd wonder if some of these proselytizers are actually casing the joint.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:57 AM on August 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: No religious proselytizing.
No hacer proselitismo religioso.

Thank you, a handwritten sign (with a bonus beware of dogs) is now by my door until I can source a permanent one.

US Mail delivery at my very urban home requires that my front door is accessible. I also welcome political canvassers, we desperately need representation here. I have just had it up to here with the bible thumpers. Who yes, I am certain know that I work from home.

p.s. remember kids, the CPD is never the answer
posted by phunniemee at 11:11 AM on August 10, 2023 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Oh shit, you have the Hammond folks down there too? They are per-fuckin-sistent. For awhile I had a sign up above my apartment buzzer that said "We're all good on Jesus here, thanks" which is true but not the way they think it is. (Ultimately I don't know how well it worked though, because shortly afterward the building buzzers stopped working. Coincidence or divine retaliation, I leave up to you.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:15 AM on August 10, 2023 [6 favorites]

I have a sign over my doorknob that says "Do not ring bell: sleeping baby. Text me." No phone number is on the message. Nobody has rung that bell in three years.
posted by answergrape at 11:16 AM on August 10, 2023 [51 favorites]

I used a Sharpie to write "NOPE!" on the doorbell. Surprisingly effective, if not exactly beautiful.
posted by notquitejane at 11:19 AM on August 10, 2023 [5 favorites]

A critter ridder sprinkler?

All joking aside, as someone who has done a lot of door-to-door canvassing, signs that have kept me from ringing a doorbell include:
- someone who indicated they worked a night shift and slept during the day.
- household that indicated someone had medical issue/hospice situation and didn't want to be disturbed.
- household with signs that clearly indicated they would not support my candidate/issue.
- household that indicated small animal might escape.
- Signs that list all the things someone does not want to talk about (they really don't want to talk).
posted by brookeb at 11:42 AM on August 10, 2023 [6 favorites]

My aunt has always had a little sign on her front door that says "No solicitors or soul-savers." I have no idea how well it works as a deterrent in practice but I've always loved it.
posted by sigmagalator at 11:54 AM on August 10, 2023 [4 favorites]

With respect to the dogs being released by the solicitor, I lock both my screen door and my front door. Even when I open my front door to speak to them, my screen door stays latched which prevents my dog from going out to greet them.

With respect to the sign, I canvassed for a candidate some years back and I recall seeing signs in English and Spanish to the effect, "This is a Catholic household. Jehovah's Witnesses and other cults are not welcome." I have no idea where the signs came from, but someone had to manufacture them, so presumably other versions are available.
posted by statusquoante at 1:06 PM on August 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

I had this problem with three specific congregations, and the issue was solved by speaking with their leaders directly (well, for two of them). I explained to them that I had PTSD, and was set into extremely panicked reactions when folks bypassed our 'no soliciting/proselytizing/campaigning' signs (which you have to touch to open our gate). I explained why this wasn't great, and why this was antithetical to their own teachings. I actually gave a short talk to the LDS missionaries in my area, and they were receptive to why I was asking them to stop, once I drew the line between their actions and how much harm they caused. LDS is, while not great, fairly well organized and once you reach their administrative level, they can remove your address from all missionary contact. Other sects to not have such discipline.

The other organization only stopped coming when I put up a small baphomet statue on our gate. It got pinched, by I hope some teenagers who had some fun with it, but the problem has not returned.
posted by furnace.heart at 1:16 PM on August 10, 2023 [14 favorites]

Oh. Also, if you're tight with your neighbors, ask them to help out!

My neighbors started proactively telling door-to-door fuckos that "Furnace.heart in that house will freak the hell out on you if you knock on his door. Don't go there. He will get violent."

The part about the violence wasn't true, but it worked as a deterrent if neighbors caught them in time.
posted by furnace.heart at 1:35 PM on August 10, 2023 [2 favorites]

We have a sign like this one and it has worked very well to cut down on bell ringers.

I got it after we had practically a parade of door disturbances by a variety of people. Now if they ring anyway I just say “Oh. You must not have read the sign,” point to it, and close the door.
posted by donut_princess at 1:57 PM on August 10, 2023 [3 favorites]

If they're the "witnessing to hostility/adversity" crowd, there is no sign that will make them fuck off. Their self-importance makes them believe that they absolutely must witness, especially to the most hostile/adverse situation. To be threatened/yelled at/beaten is seen as a blessing and a sign of their true conviction.

(I grew up fundie, adjacent to this sort of thing. I got better.)
posted by scruss at 4:50 PM on August 10, 2023 [7 favorites]

I had heard that Jehovah's Witnesses are not allowed to speak to people who have been excommunicated from their church. Several years ago I had the opportunity to try this out. The doorbell rang at a friend's house, and when I answered I saw that it was a young member of the Jehovah's Witness church with pamphlets in his hand. He asked I could speak with him. I told him, yes, but I didn't think he would want to speak with me because I had been excommunicated. His eyes got as big as saucers, he didn't say another word but turned on his heel and left.

I don't know if this would work with the people who are pestering you, but if the other approaches don't work it could be worth a try.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 4:54 PM on August 10, 2023 [2 favorites]

I knew a guy who swore by answering the door naked. He was on a dense urban street too, doors all side by side, but he was quite hairy and shameless.
posted by zadcat at 5:43 PM on August 10, 2023 [4 favorites]

Please do not answer in the nude or otherwise reinforce the image that everyone outside the particular church is without morals. Most proselytizing is not done to convert people but to prove that people have to stay in abusive religions because the outside world is hostile and scary. Politely turning them down with a sign or otherwise gives people a better chance of escape. The individuals at your door aren’t aware that they are being sent out to reinforce the toxic messages of the church, and traumatizing them won’t make them stay away or do them any good. Thank you for sticking to signs. If pressed, I will say “no thank you” through the closed door.
posted by Bottlecap at 7:10 PM on August 10, 2023 [14 favorites]

I like this one.
posted by BoscosMom at 8:53 PM on August 10, 2023 [3 favorites]

You don't have to open the door. You can just look through your window or through the viewfinder on your door to check it isn't a mail delivery/courier, and then wave dismissively through the closed window and walk away if it is an evangelist.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 9:10 PM on August 10, 2023 [2 favorites]

Many years ago a friend used to respond to missionaries by saying 'I'm sorry, I don't buy religions from door to door salesmen.' I have been tempted to make this into a sign ever since.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 10:05 PM on August 10, 2023 [4 favorites]

You don't have to open the door. You can just look through your window or through the viewfinder on your door to check it isn't a mail delivery/courier, and then wave dismissively through the closed window and walk away if it is an evangelist.

I had a polite sign on my home explaining that someone living here had an end-stage illness and should not be disturbed. And it worked -- I'd see people arrive at my door, read the sign, maybe make a note on a clipboard, but always leave quietly without a single knock. I'd sometimes give them a tired and friendly wave through the curtains as they left. We're good, we're friendly, we can all cheerfully coexist, no issue there.

The exception was one day when three JWs arrived, knocked, and flat-out refused to go away. I politely waved them away from behind the window and pointed at the sign, and then less politely, and then less, and then downright dismissively, and the lady would just holler back, WE'RE NOT SELLING ANYTHING, WE'RE ALLOWED TO BE HERE, and just knock louder. They made it clear they weren't going to leave until I opened the door.

So I did: wild-haired and red-eyed in a thin and ratty nightgown, half-awake in a feral state of swinging, majestic, unregulated bralessness, screaming white-hot lava spirals of invective from the depths of my lungs about bothering people who clearly did not want to be bothered.

They left quickly and tried the next house down, where my neighbor, who had heard the commotion, yelled at them for disturbing a sick person with a clearly marked sign on their door. And then they drove away.

Friends, I think my whole block's on some sort of list at the churches now, because no one's come by since.

I'm fully aware that the real intention of proselytizing isn't to save the souls of strangers but to bolster the loyalty of the followers themselves, but enough is enough.
posted by mochapickle at 4:19 AM on August 11, 2023 [12 favorites]

We seem to have a group of JW's who want to proselytize in our neighborhood every year. I told the last very nicely and conservatively dressed older lady who came to our door and asked me if I wanted to talk about "the terrible state of the world (sic)," "I don't want to talk to you about that right now. Have a nice day!" She and her posse of similarly dressed ladies left. Maybe I'll think of something wittier to say to them next year.... :)
posted by Lynsey at 8:36 AM on August 11, 2023 [1 favorite]

I do appreciate the empathetic answer Bottlecap provides, and if you have the spoons to deal kindly, it may help leave an impression. That said, I had a pretty wide range of responses when I was a missionary and still managed to find my way out, and my reasons and motivation for leaving had little to do with how I was treated then by the people I proselyted to. It's like a customer service job, you don't remember the individual rejections so much as the general vibe, unless there's something particularly memorable about the rejection--and trust me, the bar there is very high.

I totally understand why someone might not appreciate signing up for that kind of emotional labor, in any case.
posted by Aleyn at 4:26 PM on August 11, 2023 [3 favorites]

(I'd also wager that the missionaries willing to be an ass about spreading the word in the face of opposition are probably already a bit too bought in to be swayed by a few nice interactions, but that might be me projecting my "I'm an introvert and I'd rather not be out here bothering people but I guess this is important enough to do despite that" attitude I had during my mission.)
posted by Aleyn at 4:50 PM on August 11, 2023 [1 favorite]

Bilingual "No Soliciting, No Proselytizing" signs
(beside an outdoor brochure holder with pamphlets from the Freedom from Religion Foundation)
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:42 PM on August 12, 2023 [2 favorites]

My favorite, spotted while doing political door-knocking in Seattle: “Residents of this home will listen to door-to-door political, religious, or commercial sales pitches for $50/hour, one hour minimum, payable in advance. Ring bell or knock to accept terms.”
posted by this time will be different at 10:24 PM on August 13, 2023 [5 favorites]

A family friend would keep a copy of The Origin of the Species handy and tell them he'd read their book if they'd read his 1st.
posted by brujita at 3:03 PM on August 14, 2023

Iirc someone on one of the nyc subreddits would tell subway evangelists that their favorite new testament verse was Matthew 6:6, which they didn't like.
posted by brujita at 7:35 AM on August 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

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