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Wisconsin reader threatens journalist with eternal damnation for "OMG" headline

The headline that allegedly jeopardized a Wisconsin columnist's soul.
The headline that allegedly jeopardized a Wisconsin columnist's soul.

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In a humorous touch, a copy editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tailored the headline for a recent Jim Stingl column about Wisconsin's 17-year-old Fastest Texter Champion to read as follows: "OMG! 17yo wins 50k in txting comp"

Harmless enough, right? You'd think so, but two emailers scolded Stingl for using God's name in vain. One even warned him that he could wind up in hell for disrespecting The Big Man Upstairs.

Here's the emailer's message:

I don't know if you write the headlines for your articles, Mr. Stingl, but I do know that OMG stands for Oh My God, and I do know that God tells us that the use of His name in a disrespectful or empty manner is sin, and that there are eternal consequences for those that willingly engage in that type of sin.

If that's true, then heaven must be sparsely populated. Nonetheless, even though he doesn't actually write his headlines, Stingl was concerned enough that he felt compelled to write a column where he ran the issue by a Wisconsin priest named Guy Gurath.

Thankfully for Stingl's soul, Father Gurath told him he has nothing to be worried about.

"There's great respect for the name of God, but that doesn't mean we can't ever use it in a lighthearted manner," he said, citing "Thank God the Packers won" as an appropriate use of His name.

After the controversy was covered by Jim Romenesko on his journalism blog, Stingl wrote to him and shared some of the reaction his "OMG"-isn't-a-big-deal column received from Journal Sentinel readers.

"A few have suggested the real battleground is not OMG, but OMFG," Stingl wrote, adding that he "had no idea anyone would be offended by OMG, or at least enough to sit down and write an email."


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