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'God' and 'Jesus Christ' listed alongside 'butt' and 'jerk' as acceptable in 'U' rated films, says guidance on swearing

by Cara Bentley

Terms such as 'hell' and 'Jesus Christ' are acceptable in family films according to the British Board of Film Classification. 

The BBFC has released a list of words which could be found in different ratings of films, including swear words and offensive terms. The results follow research into British adults' attitudes towards certain words, their own swearing habits and context, such as who they are with and the meaning of a word. 

They have given examples of why specific films are in certain categories. 

Some words that Christians might consider blasphemous are allowed in 'U' rated films, which stands for 'universal' and fit for children. 

The words 'hell', 'damn', 'God' and 'Jesus Christ' are all allowed in this category, with the guidance saying: "We know that some people find these words particularly offensive, but our research shows us that the majority of parents are comfortable with their children hearing them in U rated films." These terms are listed alongside "butt" and "jerk".  

Speaking about how Christians should engage with this, Reverend Liz Clutterbuck, blogger and vicar of Emmanuel Holloway, told Premier knowing what is on the list enables parents to come up with a strategy for how they respond. 

Rev Liz commented: "The BBFC is a really great institution and is very good at informing people about why it makes the decisions it does. I was a little bit surprised to see this but to be honest, having given it some thought, I think the way that British society is, for a lot of people, they aren't offensive terms and I think that's probably something that Christians and the church needs to accept, even if we do find them offensive."

She added that it was good the terms were referenced on the list so that Christian parents are aware: "If you're hearing something in a film that you find offensive, [it's about] explaining it to a child as to why that character might be saying, 'Oh my God', but we don't say that home and we don't say it in public and this is the reason why - which is exactly what you would do if your child came home from school, and said words that you didn't like and you considered offensive. 


"Really, I think it's about opening up a conversation about those words. A lot of people in society don't know the origin of the word 'damn', they don't think anything of it when they say it and might be quite interested to hear that the reason Christians don't like it is because it's a reference to hell."

She advised parents and guardians check the guidance before watching it as a family. 

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