An example question can be found here, which contains an image of a painting of the (according to the asker) "Mother of God". While the term is certainly embraced by Catholics, it is utterly unheard in most Protestant denominations and even idolatrous to many Christians. In the interest of neutrality, and since the question isn't a discussion of the term, or even about Catholicism or Mary the mother of Jesus, is the use of the term in the title and question appropriate?

  • 3
    I think it is appropriate. If you're asking a question about Mary, the Mother of God for Catholics, then it's for Catholics and it shouldn't matter that some/many (including me) have a bone to pick regarding the matter. Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 1:52
  • @El'endiaStarman It's a question about art, the title is needlessly controversial (though probably unintended by the OP)
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 1:54
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    @curiousdannii: Point. That said, most of our populace holds beliefs that condemn some other portion of the populace to Hell, and we're getting along fine despite that. I think terminology is a fairly minor thing to get upset about. Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 2:02
  • @El'endiaStarman Not necessarily. I campaigned before to rename the virgin-mary tag. In any case, I retitled the question about the painting.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 2:06
  • @curiousdannii I don't think your tag example is even close to the same thing here. That was a matter of making the tag more useful. If you think a different title for the question would be more useful then just edit it.
    – user3961
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 2:44
  • @fredsbend I just meant that people care about terminology.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 2:56
  • @curiousdannii I think that title is much better.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 15:45
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    I had no idea it was a disputed term! Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 17:11

2 Answers 2


Does the term convey an unambiguous meaning? I think so. Even Protestants who view the term as idolatrous will understand the meaning, and I think only the most hyper-sensitive types would take offence at that term in the question.

So my vote: Leave it there. It's not harming anyone.

In some other cases, where a term may have an ambiguous meaning, or is overtly offensive, it may be more appropriate to consider changing the wording. But I don't think those issues apply here.

  • Someone threw a fit a few years ago because I had "OMG" in the title of a meta post. So they do come here. But that user was extremely non-constructive and has since deleted his account.
    – user3961
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 20:29
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    @fredsbend: "OMG" is generally considered a vain use of the Lord's name. I don't know of any Christian groups which would consider that acceptable. (If you're making an honest petition "Oh my God", you wouldn't normally abbreviate so, and you're probably writing poetry where there's no room for confusion). So I don't really see that as a relevant analogy.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 2:12
  • How about now: tl;dr? - that's just lazy and not "expert". The entire point of the post was to illuminate the non-academic nature of netspeak/textspeak. The point is still made without "OMG" in the title, but it was a little silly removing it because someone found it blasphemous.
    – user3961
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 2:18

Ideally the title of the question should be something that is searchable. There's a good precedent for it in identification questions on [gardening.se] and even in the video games site with half-remembered games and the sci-fi site with half-remembered movies.

The title should have been changed to something concerning what's in the picture. "What is this image of a poor mother and child?" very simple, very useful!

But the intentional use "Mother of God" should not be edited for any reason unless used in vain. She is our sweet and tender mother and if someone chooses to show their love for her, even on a PC network that is 90% Protestant, changing how someone shows respect for their mother is reprehensible.

  • So if I put anywhere, just because I want to honor Mary, "the Mother of God" or some other honorific title, no matter how out of place, you advocate that it never be removed?
    – user3961
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 18:14
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    I mean, it should not be replaced, it can be removed if it's out of place, like it is in this instance. It's kind of insulting when someone chooses to use an honorific and someone denies them. I've I replaced "President Barack Obama" with "Obama" in all the titles on Politics, some might see that as rude. How much more rude is it when you do that to the Holy Mother of God?
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 21:02

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