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speak like this in ordinary conversation   overthrow God’s order. In the beginning,
        to make a point. James writes: “Swear   he failed to usurp God’s place in heaven,
        not, neither by heaven, neither by the   but since then he has worked incessantly
        earth, neither by any other oath: but let   to oppose those who love God and seek
        your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye   to honor His name.
        fall into condemnation” (Jas 5:12). Plain,   Another pertinent reason in modern
        honest speech should be our goal. The   times is that blasphemy against Islamic
        Lord Jesus Christ spoke words of grace   belief can be met with the threat of as-
        that caused others to wonder (Luk 4:22).   sassination. The fiction writer, Salman
        They were also holy words of truth and   Rushdie, lived under a constant threat of
        righteousness, as if seasoned with salt   being murdered after he was accused in
        (Col 4:6). When the Lord Jesus was being   1988 of insulting Mohammed in one of his
        questioned at His trial, He agreed when   novels. A fatwa (death order) was issued
        He was presented with a truth: “Thou
        sayest it” (Mar 15:2). On the other hand,   against him by the Ayatollah Khomeini
        when He was confronted by false accusa-  of Iran. In another incident in 2015, the
        tions, He responded with silence. This   offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satiri-
        spoke volumes.                        cal magazine, were attacked by Islamists
        Current Trends                        and 12 people were slain. This atrocity
                                              was echoed recently with the murder of
          Today, in society in general, casual   a French schoolteacher who showed chil-
        swearing using divine names is so com-  dren a cartoon of Mohammed from the
        mon that it provokes little reaction. Even   same publication. The message conveyed
        believers can become hardened and in-  is clear: nobody should show disrespect to
        sensitive with constant exposure to this   Islam’s prophet; his followers will strike
        form of speech; it is frequently heard in   back.
        the media, places of education, the work-
        place and in the street. It says much for the   By contrast, it seems that anyone can
        testimony of any believer when his or her   freely blaspheme the name of God or
        presence is regarded by others as a damp-  Christ and get away with it. Richard
        ener on their loose conversation: when the   Dawkins has written with vitriol against
        Christian enters the room, knowing looks   the God of the Bible. He has been lauded
        are exchanged, voices are dropped and   in liberal circles as a proponent of free
        the speech is modified. At other times,   and enlightened speech. Are Christians
        there can be a different, more challenging   guilty of keeping quiet and showing no
        response: smiles are exchanged, voices are   resistance at all? While we cannot live by
        suddenly raised, and the speech becomes   the sword, we may speak in defense of
        even more offensive in a cruel attempt to   our Lord. There is a reminder in the writ-
        embarrass the one who is seeking only to   ings of King Solomon of how men think:
        be faithful to God.                   “Because sentence against an evil work is
          Why is it that the names of Confucius,   not executed speedily, therefore the heart
        Buddha or Mohammed are rarely re-     of the sons of men is fully set in them to
        peated in this way? Perhaps one reason   do evil” (Ecc 8:11). Oh, that we all would
        is that the devil knows these historical   remember: God does not always pay at the
        figures offer no resistance to his plans to   end of the day, but at the end, He pays.

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