The Church of the Good Shepherd in Vienna, Va., is being corralled by Fairfax County because of its sign. The church’s LED sign changed more than twice during a 24-hour period, a violation of county code.
One of the offending messages was an invitation for citizens to sit in air-conditioning after a storm knocked out power to many homes.
“Welcome, come on in and beat the heat,” the sign read.
The next message read, “Visit us at goodshpherdva.com.”
Had the church stopped with two messages, it would have been fine. But when a third message appeared within a 24-hour period advertising a prayer group, the church was told it would have to comply by county code or remove the sign.
The church believes it should have the freedom to post multiple messages a day, such as emergency information important to the community. It thinks that a person who angrily complained about “that Las Vegas sign” influenced the county.
The Church of the Good Shepherd views the county’s rule as an infringement on its freedom of speech and has hired an attorney.