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The popularity of “Gossip Girl” may be waning — it was last in the ratings this past week — but the popularity of “OMG!”, one of the teen drama’s catchphrases and the bedrock of one of its ad campaigns, has only increased. Used by the teen textorati as a time- and Blackberry thumb-saving shorthand for “Oh, My God!,” those three little letters have now crept into common parlance so much so that they have become a “Jeopardy” category.
But by using the tiny phrase, are Judeo-Christians committing the big sin of blasphemy, asked “Nightline’s” Jon Donvan last night as part of the show’s series on the Ten Commandments. Not taking the Lord’s name in vain ranks as number three amongst the Ten Commandments; that’s right behind big time no-nos such as worshiping other gods and building idols. This is serious stuff.


Bob Miller, an Old Testament scholar from Catholic University, agrees that it is serious stuff and that using “OMG” shows not only a lack of reverence, but “a lack in belief that God is present.” And he may be right: a group of teens from Washington Hebrew Congregation tell Donvan that there’s nothing religious about the phrase they use to mean “No way!,” or “That’s unbelievable!”
“Most teens just use it and don’t think about it,” one girl noted with a slight shrug. And it’s sure to further irk Miller that not only do most teens not consider the provenance of the acronym, but that it has become a throw away phrase, much like the perfunctory LOL, which one teen explains is used even when you’re “not really laughing [at a comment] and you don’t think it’s funny.”
However, the group did agree that following the interview with Donvan they certainly would be “more conscious” of using it.
Donvan points out that many non-blasphemous substitutes for the name of God have come about over the years, such as Egads, By Jove, Golly, Gee Whiz, Jiminy Christmas, and more. So, is OMG merely an acceptable modern-day substitution for taking the Lord’s name in vain or does OMG=BlsfmE?

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