The Q&A section of Tomorrow's World carries many weighty queries. Here's the first one for 2009.
... why do some people object to such seemingly inoffensive outbursts as "gosh'" or "gee" or "Jiminy Cricket"?
The ponderous but unsigned TW response follows:
Because they are euphemisms for the names of God the Father and Jesus Christ - and those that use them are taking God's name in vain.
The proof text is, naturally, Exodus 20:7.
But, gosh, is that true? Let's check the Jewish Study Bible.
Assertions in court, in public affairs, and even in ordinary conversation were often backed up with conditional self-curses that would take effect if the swearer's assertion were false or his promise unfulfilled.
Gee, nothing about euphemisms there.
Let's haul out the HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism and see what it has to say.
The original purpose of this commandment is not clear. There is no textual reason to believe that it was an injunction against profanity, as it is popularly viewed today. Others ascribe to it the prohibition of a variety of sinful uses of Yahweh's name such as divination, blasphemy, imprecation, and magic. (Article: Commandments, the Ten)
Now let's think. If a preacher - Ronald Weinland for example - uses a form of divination (using proof texts rather than chicken entrails) to predict the Great Tribulation... that's taking the Lord's name in vain.
If a preacher - Rod Meredith for example - claims authority in God's name to collect tithes... that's taking the Lord's name in vain. Jeremiah 23:21 comes to mind.
I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied.
Now that's taking the Lord's name in vain!
Obviously these words in Exodus could apply in a number of ways, but euphemisms doesn't really seem to be one of them. On the other hand divination (nutty prophecies) and imprecations (e.g. Weinlandisms, Dankenbring and Coulter on the recent US elections) are rife in the Churches of God. The facile TW answer really seems to be straining at a cricket-sized gnat.
By Jiminy, maybe somebody should tell Rod!