The vilest and foulest language I encounter is the use of the name of our Lord in vain. Nothing causes me more angst than for people to flippantly use the name(s) of my God and Savior to curse others. Second to these pronouncements is the use of racist language.

Imus is gone from the airwaves and television screens because of his nauseating use of racist language aimed at the Rutgers women’s basketball team. No amount of sidestepping or apologies could negate his despicable use of degrading jargon to attack the personhood of others based on race. Imus would have done well to read James 3:3-12. Indeed, all of us would benefit from a fresh reading of this passage from the New Testament.

Our society has gotten reckless with words. The “anything goes” philosophy has made us a coarser people. We use our freedom to spout humiliating comments about others without regard to the power of our words to hurt. Nothing is more debasing than to sling racist insults.

Every person deserves respect and value. The color of skin or ethnic background should not make anyone the target of attack. One color skin is no better than another. Skin pigmentation is a part of God’s grand plan for variety. Each person is a creation of God, cherished and loved by Him. Jesus died on the Cross so that every person-red, yellow, black or white-can have opportunity to know God. In His eyes, no race is more significant than another. God is color blind, and we should be also.

There is no justification for attacks on individuals based on their race. Broadbrushed racist slurs have no place falling from our tongues.

I could wish that Imus was the only one to degrade others because of race. Rap lyrics and other popular music exploit such demeaning language ad nauseam. Many performers have gotten a pass because they themselves are black. We have ignored them, but it is time we ignore them no more. They should meet the same kind of dismissal as Imus. Media outlets should stop giving them airplay.

The church needs to stand up and speak up. We should turn away from our too often segregationist past and walk straight toward a biblical view of race. Every person should feel welcomed, loved and accepted in the church. But more than that, we should not let the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons of this world speak for us. We should categorically reject racism and the vile language that accompanies it. We should rise up every time someone within earshot uses humiliating language to describe a person of another race. Our voice should be loud in the public arena against such words.

It is time to clean up the English language. Racist words need to be removed from our lips. Respect and honor for all should be the order of the day.