Posted by Lizzie Pine
Photo by Billy Frank Alexander
Many journalists swear by the Associated Press Stylebook. They actually self-name it “the journalist’s bible.” This nickname shows how often journalists reference and follow the book. The nickname’s a joke, but does it go too far?
When God is concerned, which do journalists follow: the journalist’s bible or the real Bible?
Under the gods and goddesses entry, the AP Stylebook says a publication should capitalize God when writing about monotheistic religions, but to lowercase any pronoun reference such as he or thou.
I understand that people believe in different things. And I understand that we are supposed to tolerate all religions. But as a Christian, I don’t understand why journalism isn’t showing God proper respect.
In the Bible, any pronouns describing God are capitalized. This shows reverence for the Lord.
The third commandment in the Bible says:
“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Bible, King James Version, Exodus 20:7).
There’s much more meaning in that sentence than just “don’t swear.”
Taking the Lord’s name in vain is also to use his name casually or irreverently. While “he” is a pronoun and not an actual name, it’s still used to describe Him. Just saying “he” puts God on the same level as a person. God is not a person. He is perfect and holy. To mention him so flippantly lessens the weight of His holy name.
Even though many don’t believe in the Christian God, lots of people do believe in a higher power. I couldn’t imagine them wanting less respect for their gods than I do for mine.
I’m not saying lightning’s going to strike newsstands and burn every publication that follows AP Style on this rule, but doesn’t He deserve more respect?