Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." ..The 4th Commandment.

Sorry again you Darwin despisers. Here is another post that takes strong precedence over throwing shovels of dirt on Darwin's cadaver.

The fourth of the ten commandments given on Mt. Sinai says, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." So where and how do we apply that in our society today? It is important to think clearly on this one since our Lord then says, "for the Lord your God will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name." (Exodus 20:7, NIV)

I wrote to the Oregonian newspaper a few weeks ago about the cartoon "ZITS," which is usually very clever and humorous. I expressed concern that "ZITS" has used the expression "ohmygawd" at least four different days in the last couple of years. I expressed to the Oregonian that taking the Lord's name in vain is not right, and is offensive to a broad Oregonian readership that believes that God's name should be held with awe and respect. The name of God is not a subject for practiced casualness.

At least they finally answered after my third email asking for an explanation of the paper's editorial policy permitting such. The answer?

"I apologize for the fact that no one responded to your complaint about the comic strip Zits. We certainly respect your opinion, but a cartoon strip in which a teenager says "Oh My Gawd" in reaction to his parents cuddling is simply the way young people talk and common vernacular."

Three observations:

(1) The newpaper's responder is certainly correct that the expression is in the comon vernacular. Is there a responsibility of conscientious Christians and Jews to challenge the common vernacular and let people know that "God will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name?" It seems so. When we hear the name of God or Jesus used in an inappropriate way, we can say, "Please be careful what you say. God (or Jesus as the case may be) is a friend of mine. He is Creator of Heaven and earth, and Savior. His name should be used only with respect." And if someone replies, "That only applies to YHWH, not to the common term 'God' which we use", I would say that smells like a copout.

(2) The Oegonian respondent did not say that the concerns were passed on to the ZITS author or authors. Hmmmm.

(3) The Oregonian response was seriously lacking in thoughtfulness and insight. Has it been so long ago that terms like "spic", "wop", "Jap", "nigger", "gook" and others were in the common vernacular? Inapproprite language in the common vernacular is not an excuse for continuing, but rather an opportunity for correction. And if this is true for terms we use to refer to the human created beings, how much more does the common vernacular need cleansing of disrespect of our God YHWH, Creator of Heaven and earth, Savior, Sustainer, and Final Judge?

May we, by His mercy, tremble at His word and in awe of His name.

Respectfully submitted,

D.U.

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