After that amusing article which lacked an Oxford comma, there’s another story that highlights interesting usage of grammar. And atheists will appreciate it.
Read this excerpt from an Associated Press article about the Catholics and their stance on clergy celibacy:
Apparently seeking to squash any speculation that Rome had been courting the disaffected Anglicans, the Vatican said the “Holy Spirit” inspired Anglicans to “petition repeatedly and insistently to be received into full Catholic communion” individually and as a group.
Do you see it?
Quotation marks around “Holy Spirit.”
There are a couple ways to interpret this. One is that it’s part of a longer quotation (which did not include the words “inspired Anglicans to”).
In that case, the sentence could have been written like this:
The Vatican said the “Holy Spirit [inspired Anglicans to] petition repeatedly and insistently to be received into full Catholic communion.”
That makes sense but it’s not nearly as interesting 🙂
Another interpretation is that the marks were used in the context of: It doesn’t really exist, but that’s what they call it, so we’ll just put quotation marks around it.
Was this an intentional jab at anyone who believes in the Trinity? (Or should I say, “Trinity”?)
Terry Mattingly at Get Religion doesn’t like the implication if that’s true:
What do you think is going on here, precisely? Why is the existence or the activity of this one member of the Holy Trinity now subject to grammatical doubt? Has one corner of the Trinity been demoted?
Maybe this is part of a larger change in AP style. If so, are Christians now followers of “Jesus Christ”? When people survive some horrible disaster, are we supposed to report that they felt comforted by the presence of “God”? Do people now praise or express anger at “God” when wrestling with the big issues of life? I guess that when President Barack Obama ends a speech now, journalists are supposed to quote him saying: ” ‘God’ bless you and ‘God’ bless America.”
That. Would. Be. Awesome.
I would love to see “God” in quotation marks from the mainstream media:
After Little Billy was rescued from the well, his family said it was their faith in “God” that got them through the night.
Looks right to me.
Even if this article contains accurate use of the quotation marks in the sense of a larger quotation, broken up by words not in the quotation, there’s an argument to make for the use of them when discussing specific references to mythology — like “Noah’s Ark” or the “Garden of Eden.”