Sunday, August 26, 2012

“OMG” and the Third Commandment

I ran across this excellent article at the Acculturated website about a common text acronym especially popular among youth, “OMG,” which means “Oh My God.”

 We are endlessly bombarded with reports about groups being offended by statements made by famous people or other groups—one recent example is the attack on Chik-fil-A and its CEO for an “anti-gay” comment during an interview (in context, his comment was related to fatherlessness in the US, not to homosexuality—but pro-gay groups and their mainstream media allies are never ones to let the facts get in the way of a good slander). Even when some personalities DO make idiotic statements about certain groups and are quick to offer a  very public apology, it’s simply not enough—they are hounded out of the public arena because of those “hateful” words. So much for “Stick and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

 Isn’t it interesting, though, that blaspheming of God’s Name through the cute OMG texting, even by some Christians, is totally acceptable. It’s become a-okay to mindlessly daily offend and demean the Creator of All Things in our culture, and not worry about HIS feelings, as if the Third Commandment—“You shall not use the Lord’s Name in vain”—along with the other nine, somehow went out with Charlton Heston.

 Anyway, check out the article and let me know what you think. How we use words—especially with regard to God—DO matter. The renowned journalist Edward R. Murrow once said of Winston Churchill’s World War II speeches, when Britain was in danger of being overrun by Nazi Germany, “He armed the English language and sent it into battle.” How far has our public discourse fallen since those times. As the article says, “Words–‘the most powerful drug used by mankind,’ according to Kipling–can change minds and alter behavior. OMG invokes Omnipotence in the realm of the trivial and the banal. The informality and brevity of electronic communication guarantees that even God himself is not immune from such casual disregard.”

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