Jerry Newcombe

Do you remember the last time you saw a movie and, when it was over, you thought, "That was great, except there wasn't enough swearing?"

You don't? Neither do I.

There may yet be more profanity on broadcast television. For now, the FCC, which regulates broadcasting, is listening to “we the people” on the subject of what will be on television. There’s a deadline to voice our opinions by: June 19.

Hollie McKay wrote about this in her Fox News article, “FCC proposed to allow more sex and profanity during kids’ television viewing hours.”

We have become accustomed to so much profanity that many of us don’t even notice it. But there is a link between manners and morals and how civilized we are. Some might think, "What’s the big deal about swearing?" But you certainly wouldn’t try it in a job interview (not with success).

It’s an interesting fact that one of the Ten Commandments deals with the issue of profanity. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. I will not hold him guiltless who takes my name in vain.” Of course, not all profanity is taking God’s name in vain.

Taking God’s name in vain, e.g., in profanity, is to make His name of no value. It is to lie about who He is and how great He is---the One on whom our every breath depends.

We are awash in profanity today. And it’s not just offensive. It reveals a limited vocabulary.

Even the recent, otherwise-decent, movie about Lincoln by Steven Spielberg showed the beloved president swearing. But was that historically accurate?

According to The Hollywood Reporter (Dec. 5, 2012), “Biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin reviewed the script and tells THR she ‘never had a problem with the language,’ but another historian who consulted on the movie says it's ‘completely unlikely’ for the 16th president.”

The historian is James McPherson, a Lincoln biographer. He said, “The profanity actually bothered me, especially Lincoln’s use of it…It struck me as completely unlikely---a modern injection into Lincoln’s rhetoric.”

Many great works of art are often spoiled or marred by the use of profanity. It adds nothing to the movie, but it certainly takes away from it.

I enjoyed Argo,the movie of the year. It was a fascinating, spell-binding movie, but it was needlessly marred by incessant profanity. It added nothing. It certainly detracted.

Hollywood claims to care about box office success above all else, yet they continue to drive away perhaps millions of potential customers through needless swearing.

Jerry Newcombe

Dr. Jerry Newcombe is a key archivist of the D. James Kennedy Legacy Library and a Christian TV producer.