On Reacting to Profanity

by Greg Linscott

The Drudge Report links to a story on the growing use of profanity here in the US. While this is not surprising to any of us who spend any time at all in the world, I did find this excerpt intriguing-

From “Poll: Americans See, Hear More Profanity

At the community college where Cormack studies journalism, students will occasionally inject foul language into classroom discussions. Irene Kramer, a grandmother in Scranton, Pa., gets her ears singed when passing by the high school near her home.

“”What we hear, it’s gross,” says Kramer, 67. “I tell them, ‘I have a dictionary and a Roget’s Thesaurus, and I don’t see any of those words in there!’ I don’t understand why these parents allow it.”

For Kramer, a major culprit is television. “Do I have to be insulted right there in my own home?” she asks. “I’m not going to pay $54 a month for cable and listen to that garbage.” And yet she feels it’s not a lost cause. “If people say ‘Look, I don’t want you talking that way,’ if they demand it, it’s going to have to change.”

In that battle, Kramer has a willing comrade: Judith Martin, who writes the syndicated Miss Manners column.

“Is it inevitable?” Martin asked in a recent interview. “Well, if it were inevitable I wouldn’t be doing my job.” The problem, she says, is that people who are offended aren’t speaking up about it.

“Everybody is pretending they aren’t shocked,” Martin says, “and gradually people WON’T be shocked. And then those who want to be offensive will find another way.”

How should Christians respond when confronted with profanity in everyday life? On one hand, we can’t expect everyone to conduct themselves as a Christian would. On the other hand, as evidenced in these quotes, a certain segment of the world, anyway, sees the need for personal consideration and the display of public decorum.

Should a Christian take the time to correct someone using a vulgarity or profane use of the name of our Lord- or, at the very least, let them know when they are offended or bothered by it?