61. The Turnspike Emails: Offensive Language

It is the solemn duty of TMTF to present another diabolical email intercepted from the demon Turnspike to his colleague Goreflak. TMTF has previously succeeded in obtaining two of Turnspike’s emails, the latest of which can be found here.

My dear Goreflak,

I must congratulate you! I was beginning to think you had no potential whatsoever as a demon, but the latest development in the life of your Patient suggests otherwise.

Your Patient has slipped into the habit of using swearwords. I am afraid swearwords are not a mortal sin, my dear devil, but that does not mean we cannot use them to our own ends. If you intend to exploit this promising development in your Patient’s habits, it is imperative that you understand the nature of offensive language.

There are three basic categories of offensive language: obscenities, slurs and blasphemies. To put it as simply as possible—so simply that even you, my dear devil, cannot fail to understand—obscenities are insults against propriety, slurs are insults against human beings and blasphemies are insults against God.

Consider for a moment the severity of these insults. From the point of view of the human vermin, it is worst to insult God. After that it is worst to insult other humans. It is least offensive to insult propriety. Therefore we may arrange these categories of foul language from most to least offensive: blasphemies, slurs, obscenities.

Is this clear so far?

Our Father Below has made great progress with foul language in the last few centuries. He has twisted the standards of society so that the mildest obscenities have become more offensive than the worst blasphemies.

Take the most offensive swearwords in use today, those related to sexuality and bodily functions. Anyone who uses these kinds of obscenities is instantly branded an offender of the worst degree.

The human vermin overlook the fact that sexuality, unless it is abused or perverted, is not offensive. Sexuality is an invention of our Enemy. It is, from his point of view, a good thing. Bodily functions are also an invention of our Enemy. They are embarrassing to the humans, but there is nothing wrong with them.

We have so skewed the mindset of society that most humans perceive sexual and scatological swearwords as the worst kind of foul language. We have succeeded in making mere obscenities taboo.

Now let us consider the swearwords considered by the humans to be the mildest: words such as damn and hell. Few people mind if these words are used. Even many Christians think nothing of using such “mild language.”

Can you see the joke?

Hell and eternal damnation are the worst things that can happen to any of the human vermin. There is nothing more torturous, more wretched or more painful for humans than to suffer separation from their Creator. Even so, we have trained humans to consider words like damn and hell much less offensive than bodily functions and human sexuality.

I regret to inform you that we have made little progress with slurs. Despite our best efforts to persuade them that slurs are only slightly offensive, the humans have recognized religious, racial and sexual slurs as the filthy insults they are.

However, we have made excellent progress with blasphemies against the name of our Enemy.

When the Enemy gave his people the regulations known as the Ten Commandments, only one of them pertained in any way to offensive language. Among solemn pronouncements such as “You shall not murder” and “You shall not commit adultery” came these oft-ignored words: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.”

Misusing the name of our Enemy is, in his judgment, the very worst kind of offensive language.

Admittedly, merely saying “My God!” in a moment of surprise is hardly blasphemy. It is, however, extremely irreverent. I am delighted when Christians, who owe everything to the God who saved them at the cost of his own Son, throw God’s name about as though it were a common swearword.

In summation, Our Father has done a careful job of making sure the human vermin misjudge the severity of foul language. They overlook the strongest blasphemies and consider mere obscenities taboo.

Regarding your own Patient, it is possible to produce in him a kind of contempt for his God through blasphemous language. It affords us much amusement to witness his hypocrisy as he prays, “My God, I love you,” in church, and swears, “My God, that was awful,” in his home.

However, the most effective use of foul language among Christians is not to destroy their own faith. It is to destroy the respect of others. If your patient uses foul language, he is giving a very poor impression of Christ. Since Christians are called to reflect Christ, it is to our advantage when they use the same obscenities, slurs and blasphemies as the rest of the world.

Your Patient is coming along nicely, my dear devil. Keep up your good work.

Your affectionate colleague,


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