Serena's Tirade: What Would Her Church Think?

Jehovah's Witnesses no fans of cursing—but she won't face big trouble
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 16, 2009 4:14 PM CDT
Serena Williams, left, talks to officials after arguing with a line judge over a foot fault during her match against Kim Clijsters of Belgium at the US Open Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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(Newser) – Serena Williams is a Jehovah’s Witness, which causes Slate to wonder: What does her religion think about her foul-mouthed outburst at the US Open? Jehovah’s Witnesses “discourage members from any sort of foul language on the grounds that it's expressly forbidden in the Bible,” writes Juliet Lapidos. But Williams shouldn’t face any official finger-wagging from the church, as bad language is considered a “nonjudicial” sin.

Thus, it doesn’t call for “formal censure” from church elders, and it won’t lead to her being kicked out of the church. Williams is guilty, however, on two counts. First, she took “the name of the Lord thy God in vain” when she swore “to God” she’d stick a ball down the ref’s throat. With her expletives, she also violated an instruction by the apostle Paul cited by Witnesses: “Let a rotten saying not proceed out of your mouth.”