In the 1930’s the American public was supposedly shocked by Clark Gable using the word “damn” in the movie, “Gone with the Wind”. Even today some are offended to hear words like “hell” and “damn” pronounced out loud. Has anyone noticed that much of what we have traditionally held as profane speech employs the very words and concepts of Christian evangelical fundamentalism? How is it that the words used by the preacher on Sunday to describe the ultimate fate of most of humanity become profanities when uttered by the common parishioner the rest of the week? If the preacher can be applauded for teaching hellfire and damnation on Sunday why can’t the rest of us do it for him the other days?
It sounds like a seminary degree is a license to profanity without any public approbation. If the school yard boys could just get ordained, they could cuss like sailors and never worry about a mouthful of soap. If they were being paid to “defend the faith”, then their verbal tirades would be honored as telling it like it is. If they knew a few Bible quotes, they could sprinkle some “proof-texts” into their speech and make it all sound like it was God’s idea to be profane.
Of course, the belittling of mankind and the human nature which is inherent in orthodox theology opens the door for all manner of self-destructive thoughts and ideas. If God thinks so little of us, why should anyone attempt to rise above the coarseness and sexual self-destruction indicated in much of our profane speech?
As the old saying goes, “It’s enough to make a preacher cuss”. Is it any wonder then that the rest of us fall prey to the same inclination?