As I’m sure you all know that I publish weekly podcasts and always encourage the listeners to email with any questions. 

Recently I received an email with the following comment:

“I LOVE your podcasts, very very informative. But, I am respectively asking you to not take the Lords name in vain.”

I was shocked to say the least, and very surprised since I don’t use words or phrases that I would consider inappropriate for a podcast or even in conversation. I asked a few people if they heard me say anything I shouldn’t have said and the only thing I say often is, “Oh my God.”

Now, is this taking the Lord’s name in vain?  Quite honestly, I don’t think so!  It’s more of an expression that I’ve been using all my life to express shock, surprise or empathy. 

I started to be aware of this expression and noticed that many, many people say the same thing.  I recently listened to an interview with Hadassah Lieberman, Joe’s wife, and she included this expression in her dialog with the interviewer.

Fr. Charles R. Grondin, a Catholic priest, when asked if saying “Oh my God” was a sin, this was his comment.

“The consensus of theologians has been that the second commandment forbids deliberate misuse of the name of God.  Such misuse would be false oaths or using the name of God in a hateful or defiant manner.

The context of “Oh my God” makes all the difference.  It is most often used as an expression of shock upon hearing of either very bad or very good.  In such occasions it can actually be a simplified reverent offering of the situation to God.  Other times it is merely an innocent surprise reaction which, while morally problematic to thoughtlessly use the name of God, does not arise to a level of serious sin.

Use of “oh my gosh” or “goodness” does not reference God and therefore would not be considered to be sinful.”

I rest my case.