I've made no secret of my distaste for evangelical fundamentalist Christian door-to-door proselytizing. I've written about it here several times, mostly because I was not sufficiently prepared for how much worse it was going to be when I moved to Mississippi as compared with anywhere else I'd ever lived. It was a rare occurrence everywhere else; here it was not at all uncommon to have 4-5 Southern Baptists at my door in a month. That got old quickly.
Fortunately, it happens much less often now than it once did. I don't believe I have had a single Southern Baptist at my door (or Mormon peeking in my windows) in at least 3 months. I wish I understood why this was the case, but I'm honestly not sure. Still, I'd like to share my experiences with this particular annoyance in the hope that some of it might be helpful to others who are interested in receiving fewer of these visitors.
I do not want to be interrupted, so I was looking for something that would prevent the knock in the first place. When I am home and enjoying what little free time I seem to have, I don't want to deal with salespeople or preaching Christians. The question was how best to prevent such interruptions.
In the beginning, I started with one small wood no soliciting sign that I hung on a nail next to my front door. I don't believe mine had a flower on it, but it looked an awful lot like the one pictured here. This sign was extremely effective at eliminating the people coming door-to-door to sell crap.
Before the sign, it was common for me to get at least 1-2 people a week trying to sell something during the summer months. The sign ended that almost immediately; however, it seemed to increase the amount of litter left on by porch on the form of advertisements. My hunch was that anyone who made it on to my porch before seeing the sign felt obliged to litter instead of ringing the bell. This was an improvement to be sure but not quite what I was going for.
Unfortunately, the sign did little to reduce the religious proselytizing. I asked a few of the Southern Baptists about it when they would come by and ignore it. They said that they did not believe it was intended for them. From what I could tell through the windows, however, some seemed to hesitate and consult with one another before ringing the bell. I suspect they knew perfectly well that it was intended for them.
I think I might soon replace this sign with something more like the one pictured here that actually defines what is meant by soliciting. This one would not be a good match for where I'd need to put it though, so I am still looking.
Operating on the assumption that people who made it on to my porch were more likely to litter and/or ring the bell than would be the case if I could prevent them from reaching my porch in the first place, I added a larger sign positioned to be visible to anyone who pulled into my driveway. This one was enamel, much larger, and mounted on a wood pole. It was actually a fairly attractive sign that matched the color of my house surprisingly well and looked like it was a custom job.
Unfortunately, it did not hold up well at all in the intense heat and torrential rain. It basically disintegrated within less than a year. Until then, though, it worked like a charm. I'd see people drive up, take one look at it, and drive off. No more litter on my porch and fewer interruptions. The only people who continued to ignore it were the proselytizing Christians.
After reaching the end of my patience with proselytizing Christians interrupting me, I put one of the plaques pictured here in the window next to my front door. I admit that it is not especially attractive, but it worked like a charm. In the time I had it up, I can only remember a few Southern Baptists who ignored it.
On one fascinating occasion, one accosted me while I was outside working in my yard. He said that he had been by previously and seen the sign and that he was not sure if it applied to him. I assured him that people like him were the reason for the sign and that it certainly applied to him. The sign reduced the number of interruptions and the church-related litter.
I do not have this plaque up anymore because I lost it. I took it down when I had out-of-town guests visiting, and I have not been able to find it since. I keep thinking I should get another one, but I know I'll find it as soon as I do...unless one of the guests stole it, which seems unlikely.
I am happy to report that the proselytizing has remained low even though I no longer have anything more than the one small no soliciting sign in place currently. I think that having the various signs up for the time that I did must have led to me being crossed off some church lists. It probably helps that the neighborhood in which I live added a no soliciting sign near the main entrance too.
In any case, there are a variety of no soliciting signs and adhesive decals available, many of which make it clear that religious proselytizing is not welcome. If you have a proselytizing problem, I suspect you'll find that one of them may help. They probably won't eliminate the problem completely; some Christians seem to think that they can ignore your wishes because Jesus. Still, my guess is that you'll notice a big difference in reduced proselytizing, as well fewer as people trying to sell you things. Based on my experience, I'd suggest either getting one that is designed to withstand the elements or being prepared to replace it periodically.
In my case, I think it is at least possible that word finally spread among a couple of the nearby churches that I was not worth the effort. "We've visited that guy several times, and he never seems happy to see us." If that's the case, maybe I won't need to replace my sign. Something tells me I won't be quite so luck though.