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Taking God’s Name in Vain

Q: I cannot begin to express my outrage regarding the abuse of God’s name and Jesus’ name on television and in the theater. The media seem indifferent toward blasphemy. Can you suggest a means to put a stop to this or direct me on how to contact producers, writers, or actors?

Isn’t the statement “Damn it” using God’s name in vain? What about “Jesus Christ” as an expression of surprise? This is now used as commonly as “Hello” and is an insult to Christians. As a Christian, I am greatly offended by this display of indifference. If a Christmas manger can be removed from public property because it “offends” some person or group of people, why can’t I and many other Christians stop this blasphemous use of God’s name?

If the words “Allah” or “Muhammad” were used similarly, the protests would never stop!

A: The answer to your first three questions is yes. The abuse that you describe has become so common that for many people it no longer registers as an abuse. A recent Pew study on religion in the United States reports that 20 percent of people here describe themselves as unaffiliated with any religious group. Also, the majority of US Christians and Jews do not participate regularly in weekly religious services. Once you add to that the general coarsening of language in the public square, it may seem that this problem cannot be solved.

Muslims in the United States and around the world frequently experience the use of “Allah” and “Muhammad” in disrespectful contexts.

Unfortunately, our society tends to view religion as an entrenched obstacle to human liberation and progress rather than its most reliable ally. Belittling God in the public square is hardly a step forward for people made in God’s image and likeness. How likely are we to respect people if we fail to respect the God who created them?


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