Audiences gasped in astonished disbelief when that once taboo word was uttered for the first time in American cinema. (Gone With the Wind, directed by Victor Fleming, which debuted in the 1,939th year of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, was the daring flick.)
The word damn refers to divine judgment. Damnation is the dreadful, eternal punishment which our Creator, to Whom we all must give account, will mete out to the wicked on His coming Judgment Day. In a more God fearing era, gasping at any inappropriate use of this solemn word was a good thing and quite understandable.
Per a surreptitiously recorded telephone conversation, President Trump recently gave an example of the advance of the spirit of irreverence when he prefixed the name of God (previously understood but not vocalized) to his damn.
Our chief executive is not alone. Previous presidents and other public figures have polluted and do pollute their speech with plenty of GDs. Millions of others from all walks of life hurl the imprecation. Children of tender years are repeating what they hear. Gray headed ones who should have sober thoughts of eternity continue to harden their once tender consciences, casually dishing out damns to their neighbors. THE glib and flippant invocation of THE power and certainty of almighty wrath is about as common as THE use of THE English language’s definite article.
So is the ubiquitous OMG. In another recent recording, a man is heard crying out “O my God, O my God” in Italian upon witnessing the deadly collapse of a bridge in Genoa. That was quite an appropriate calling upon the Lord of mercy, to be sure. How does that short, sincere cry to God for help compare with OMG as we hear it in American vernacular?
“OMG, I see a small gray cloud, there might be rain shower coming.” Or “OMG, I dropped a nickel!” Or “OMG I can’t think of anything else to say in response to this moment’s trivial occurrence or non-occurrence.” Or, in rare moment of candor, “I just say OMG on general principle after every couple of phrases I utter.” Why is this?
And today’s all purpose expletive is the name of the aforementioned Lord of all. That would be Jesus the loving Savior Who offers eternal escape from damnation to whosoever will, a gift He died gruesomely to provide. And what’s with the placing of the letter H in between Jesus and Christ as if it were a middle initial? Why does His name come forth vociferously when someone wants to express not only rage, but something as relatively minor as slight frustration? “J___ C____ , my favorite TV show about zombies got preempted!”
So eighty years after the silver screen depiction of Rhett Butler’s and Scarlet O’Hara’s shenanigans, all sorts of potty mouthing, obscenities, mighty oaths, and blasphemies don’t raise the public eyebrow or create the slightest stir among Hollywood’s consenting entertained. And today you can with impunity curse God or use His name as a curse. You can drop “F bombs” to your heart’s content. You can coarsely jest with just as many raunchy references to sexual activity, private body parts, and bodily functions as you want.
There is however, one word which has taken on the mantle of Unutterable. Guard your lips with utmost diligence lest this one escapes them! Speak this word and you’ll soon get much more than a shocked audience in response. Say these two syllables and you might lose your job, be attacked in the public square, or at the very least be excoriated by every pundit and commentator on every cable channel.
You guessed it. It is the dreaded N WORD! Welcome to a world where mocking God and abusing His name is not censured, but using an ethnic epithet might as well be a capital offense. Oh, and don’t ask for more abuse and judgment from the occupants of the moral high ground by appealing to the fact that many dime a dozen entertainment acts throw around the N word willy nilly. It is perfectly acceptable for them to go way over the line you dare not even approach.
Finally, consider this sobering Biblical affirmation: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)