For Goodness Sake
The following quote is taken from a review recently posted on Goodreads:
“The use of variations of the F-word just turns me off. And any time God's Name is used as a cussword, I stop being interested. For that reason, I will not be reading any more books by..."
While what bothers the reviewer obviously does not bother many readers, it is offensive enough to many that an author attuned to the sensitivities of others will omit, or use sparingly, the objectionable terms noted.
My intent here is to reinforce something I have encouraged in the past. Crude words for body parts and functions are surely distasteful to some. But using the name of the object of the Christian faith interchangeably with crudities is a direct and purposeful affront to those for whom the name Jesus and/or the title Christ is dear. Putting Jesus plus the f-word in the mouth of a character reveals a blatant and coarse disrespect for all who adhere to the Christian faith. The same authors who drag the object of a Christian’s faith through the mud generally do not do so with Mohammed or Moses or Buddha or Brahma. Why is there such disrespect for Christians?
It is a test of creativity and ingenuity to fashion authentic characters in fictional novels without endowing them with potty mouths. But it has been done repeatedly with great success. My encouragement is for authors to strive to use the cornucopia of language in ways that enhance the reader’s enjoyment and appreciation while concurrently respecting their values and sensitivities.