If the Church of the Good Shepherd wanted to post the Ten Commandments on its sign on Hunter Mill Road, it would take five days to broadcast them all.

That’s because Fairfax County has a commandment of its own: Thou shall not change electronic signs more than twice a day.

So, after the Vienna United Methodist church posted three messages one day last month — offering refuge from the heat, then promoting its Web site and finally listing the time of a group prayer meeting — a zoning inspector called it a sin and hit the church with a warning letter:

“It is noted that the screens changed more than twice in a twenty-four (24) hour period,” the letter stated. “This changeable copy LED sign is considered a prohibited sign.”

The county offered two choices: permanently limit the sign to two message changes per day or remove it altogether.

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