Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oh Bother

Isn’t one of God’s Big Ten—commandments, that is—not to take His name in vain? I know God’s ‘name’ involves who He is, not only His titles, and we are not to dishonor Him in any way, but using His name as a slang word or exclamation surely breaks God’s third command.

Using any of His names “in vain” means saying them empty of their meaning. This treats God as if He doesn’t matter. One way people do this is by the expression, “Oh, my G__.” It has become popular to use this phrase to express surprise, horror, amazement, fear, disgust, excitement, and what the dog did on the carpet.

You hear it on most TV shows from actors’ mouths and even from non-actors on reality shows. From game shows to antiques road shows, from funny home videos to home makeovers. Producers used to bleep God’s name out, but not anymore.

Now a seven-year-old boy in “The Switch” says it, even in the promo clip to advertise the movie. How will that influence children who view that trailer on TV?

What to do? We need American idols and icons to reverse this degrading trend. Can we convince them to stop using the names of God and Jesus as expletives? This goes for calling various things “holy”—like cows and excrement—as well.

No, the pop stars will probably not embrace my humble opinion. Lacking that, perhaps an Internet grassroots movement would work. What’s your favorite expression for joy? Consider switching to something clean and innocent like Hoo-Rah! Alright! Yippee! Awesome! Excellent! Peachy! Or Gomer Pyle’s Shazam!

For a negative term, consider: Tarnation! Rats! Stink! Winnie the Pooh’s favorite—Bother, or what my son coined as a child—Oh Boo!

I challenge you to set a guard by your lips and let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, especially one that misuses God’s name. If you want to start a trend—copy and send this to all your email friends. That would be Way Cool!

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