Jesus is not a swear word

#Jesus is not a swearword - # jesusisnotaswearword


We have a "no blasphemy" rule in our house.  Guests, partners, foster-children, visitors of any kind are all brought up short when they use what we consider to be blasphemous words or phrases.  Why is that?  It is not because God is offended or because swearing in this way makes Jesus cry!  It is because it offends me deeply and because my wife and I are tired of all kinds of limits and condemnation being placed on other forms of offensive speech - "you cannot say that because people may be offended"  but at the same time those same people are allowed to profane something I consider to be sacred and dear to my identity as a human person.


This #jesusisnotaswearword comes about because I have tried and failed to raise my concerns in other forums.  For example, write a complaint to the ABC about the use of the Lord's name in any of their programmes and the reply you will receive back is how it has become a normal part of Australian language and the community is no longer scandalized by it.  Should you then go on to note how no one would be able to say Mohammad the f****ng Prophet because it would be offensive to the Muslim community, or draw a cartoon of the same prophet, you will be told how that is somehow a different thing.


Christians must love the Lord Jesus first


Perhaps the source of the problem is to be found in the lax way Christians have taken up their faith.  Australia is nominally a Christian country and yet engagement with Church communities is on a slow decline and our children are not being taught even the basics of our faith.  Even the great Christian, historical, international and national festivities of Christmas and Easter are being turned into secular opportunities to make money and should some of the lefties have their way, and the ABC is successful in their campaigns, would simply become "holidays".


Christians have gone quiet in our communities and too many of us are indifferent to the Faith.  Burned by the sins and failings of the Institutional Church, shamed and outraged by sexual scandals and child abuse, we find it is easier to keep quiet about Jesus and matters spiritual. We persist in seeing religion as a personal matter, something in which we are engaged in private. I have even heard some clergy preach about how one religion is no different really from any other religion, an attitude that robs Christ of any unique character.   When it comes to morality and ethics we have been absorbed into contemporary blandness - whatever you think is right must therefore be alright and who are we to question or challenge those actions?  Think of euthanasia, abortion, same sex marriage, sexual activity outside of marriage, etc.  Debates and legislation in these areas are all about what are proclaimed to be human rights and human freedoms.


Now wonder so many of us are indifferent to blasphemy, to the way the Name of Jesus has been taken over as a swear word.  We are not offended and so why bother complaining.  However, taken from another perspective, what does it say to the wider unbelieving public when we have no objections to blasphemy?  If believers are not offended, then the Name of Jesus cannot be all that important and so Jesus himself is not a part of the spiritual passion of individuals and communities.  And yet, for the early faith communities the holy Name of Jesus represented the very presence of Jesus himself.   Believers are baptized into the Name of Jesus, are empowered, forgiven, guided and healed in the Name of Jesus.  In biblical language, the Name is the same as the Person and is therefore sacred.  For more than a thousand years people would nod their head when saying the Name of Jesus, an act of respect, an acknowledgement that they were invoking the Name of the Son of God.  There have been times when a blasphemous use of The Name resulted in a death penalty, such were the passions involved in what The Name meant.  Now we have allowed it to become a part of the common-day gutter language of people who know no difference.  Because we have allowed it, "Jesus" is no more than just another f###ing swear word.


It is time to proclaim our faith - join the movement #jesusisnotaswearword


I would like to go against the popular tide and publicly insist that #jesusisnotaswearword in the hope we can gain some community respect for someone we love, serve and worship as God's Son.  We are not asking people to believe but to at least respect our love for the Saviour.  Out of respect for us and for our beliefs, let us begin to convince the world #jesusisnotaswearword.  Let us quietly and with respect ask people to refrain from using the word - we are not short of replacements!  Let us begin to write into television stations, radio station and newspapers when we find the Name of Jesus being used in inappropriate ways.  It is not about being prudish, it comes down to faith in the reality of Jesus, a sign of our love for him and a reasonable request for our faith to be respected. 


Recently we saw television advertisement being withdrawn because of the way its depiction of gods worshipped by some Eastern religions caused offense to community members.  No one would dare turn Allah or Mohammed into a swear word.  It seems it is only we Christians who remain indifferent.  The time has come to speak out and to object to this kind of blasphemy.  We deserve to be respected and the faith of millions equally respected.  Join this movement and pass it along to others.  If nothing else, it might just galvanize enough Christians to speak out and claim their Christian heritage. 


Bishop Michael Hough

Linton, Victoria, Australia.

Posted 11 January 2018 in Blog
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