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A note here about taking the Lord's name in vain.

Several of you probably noticed in the last strip that Lily invoked unspecified "gods", and Ellen is here referring to "God" in a similar way - using the word as little more than a sort of verbal punctuation. No doubt, you recall that Ellen is an adamant atheist, and you may be wondering what pantheon of gods, if any, might promote Lily's unique brand of misandry.

Of course, the truth is, for the vast majority of people, invocation of the divine in this grammatical context has nothing to do with their religion, and everything to do with their emotional state. Ellen has no problem with invoking "God" or "Jesus" because, as far as she's concerned, they're nothing more than a collection of syllables that make certain sentences sound more emphatic. Lily's religious leanings have yet to be elaborated in canon, but regardless, that "s" should not be seen as a declaration of polytheism.

Obviously, the tendency to blaspheme thusly varies with the voice of the character speaking. Gina, for example, is a little more conscientious in her speech, as is Nicole.

Now, if you ask me, simply interjecting "God" or "goddamnit" into casual speech isn't really taking the Lord's name in vain. "God" isn't God's actual name, after all - it's what He is. Using "Jesus" (or, even, heaven forbid, the tetragrammaton) as an expletive is closer to it... but even that isn't really as bad as the vain-taking I've seen a lot of supposedly pious Christians do.

Y'see, a lot of Christians - especially Christian teachers and preachers - have a tendency to tell their listeners what God says and does and wants. And, of course, that's all well and good if you're actually quoting Scripture, or simply telling people to love each other. But if you're holding forth on a particular political or social issue, or telling someone that the Holy Spirit is telling you they should give their stepfather another chance, or offering your opinion on the proper Christian standpoint on some unique twenty-first century moral conundrum - for God's sake - throw a qualifier on there!

"It is my opinion that God doesn't approve of offshore drilling."

"I feel like the Lord is telling me you should reconcile with your stepfather."

"If you ask me, God doesn't want you to have that surgery."

"And please please please let Chicago beat the spread if it is thy will, in Jesus' name, amen."

You aren't God. Don't presume to speak for Him.

And it goes without saying that the third commandment is emphatically not a prohibition against swearing or foul language in general. "Shit" and "fuck" may be uncouth words, unfit for polite discussion, but they are absolutely not the Lord's name.

(Thursday afternoon, INT: Overdrive Computers)

LH: I don't know. Do you think I was too hasty, being dismissive of Max's game like that?
EB: Eh, it's just as well you're not joining us - Jamie's going to be there for this one.
LH: What? He's joining the group, just like that?
EB: I wouldn't say he's "joining the group", he's just sitting in for this one special session. It's not going to be a regular thing.
LH: I should certainly hope not.
GU: I'm kinda nervous about that too. I only really saw him once, for about two minutes. The only thing I know about him is that he's your roommate and he can make soy cheese taste like the real thing.
EB: Oh God, whatever you do, don't mention in front of Max that you met a man for only two minutes before putting something of his in your mouth.
GU: Well, if I have to sit through Max's innuendo, at least it'll help that I get Mayhem points for it...