In emails and reviews, I’ve been excoriated because one of my characters uses “bad words” Sam’s an alcoholic Marine amputee suffering from PTSD and mourning the death of his best friend in combat. At the beginning of THE WELCOME COMMITTEE OF BUTTERNUT CREEK, Sam’s having a bad time. First, he’s under fire in Afghanistan and shouts, “Where the hell are the . .” I’m going to confess, if I’m taking fire and there isn’t any suppressing fire coming in, I’d get a little anxious. I may be tempted to curse. Tempted, nothing, I’d probably let go with a string of words I never use normally. I thought Sam showed great patience. However, several of my readers didn’t. One lady wrote me a long email about how Christians never used those terrible words. Then she pointed out the words that Sam used on page. 28 and page 49 and page 126. I got the feeling she didn’t read the book. She just looked for the bad words. That breaks my heart because I think she’d have enjoyed the material that came between the three really not horrible words. I think she might have been inspired if she’d read the book.
Look at the reviews of my Butternut Creek series on amazon.com. According to some reviewers, I’m the most potty-mouthed writer in the history of the world. My feeling is that we are not perfect. That in moments of stress and fear and sorrow God understands we may say words we wouldn’t use in front of our grandmothers–and I believe God looks at our situation and says, “I understand. Just don’t use the F-bomb.”
Although I’d never use the F-bomb in any of my books, surely there are characters who would. I mean, a serial murder probably isn’t going so say, “Oh, shaving cream” when the man he’s supposed to kill get the drop on him. There are characters like Al Capone and Scarface that probably used words I’d never think of saying or writing because they ran with a pretty tough set. My only big problem is when the worst of the four-letter words are used in place of good writing, that’s just laziness.
So, what’s your opinion. Sam’s not a Christian yet. Should he be judged for using an occasional curse? Do Christians sometimes say “heck” or “darn” or even worse words? Is that all right or not? If you’ve read my novels have you been ashamed that I used a few curses? I’d love to know your opinion.