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Will you be punished if you write the word “God” with a small letter?

Minister of Education Sergey Kravtsovsaid that the Government Commission on the Russian Language approved the new spelling rules. According to them, the word God will be written with a capital letter, like many other words from the religious sphere, denoting higher beings — Lord, Creator, Almighty, Savior, Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, Mother of God, Jehovah, Allah, etc. The same applies to the names of pagan deities — Mars, Juno, Perun… The names of such incorporeal beings as archangels, angels, cherubs, seraphim, will not require capital letters.

“Let me remind you that the rules of Russian spelling and punctuation were adopted in 1956 and in no way regulated the rules for writing words related to the religious sphere, — Kravtsov said. — The new draft rules of Russian orthography propose the following: the word „God“ it is necessary to write with a capital letter, as well as with the names of apostles, prophets, saints».

The Russian Orthodox Church supported the minister's initiative. And here is the public organization “Atheists of Russia” admitted that in the future, non-observance of the new language norm will be punished as an insult to the feelings of believers (the maximum stipulated term is three years in prison). About thisdeputy chairman of the organization Rushan Taktarovtold the Daily Storm, adding that the public intend to appeal to the Constitutional Court if the rules are approved.

But should worry about possible reprisals? “It should be emphasized that the “Basic Rules of Russian Spelling” do not introduce new norms. They only clarify the wording of the „complete academic reference“ (by far the most authoritative spelling guide) and not concerning insufficiently established or controversial cases, — said AiF.ru Chairman of the Spelling Commission of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Chief Researcher at the Institute of the Russian Language named after V.V. Vinogradov RAS, Doctor of Philology Alexey Shmelev. — At the same time, it must be borne in mind that the rules for the use of capital letters in the excretory function are given in „Basic Rules“ only in its most general form. In  their formulation there is no strict prescription, there is only a recommendation».

Scientific director of the Center for Media Communications Research of the State Institute of the Russian Language A.S. Pushkin, Candidate of Philological Sciences Andrey Shcherbakov explains to whom this recommendation is addressed and how it will come into force:

“The Ministry of Education only proposes a version of the document. According to the Federal Law „On State Language“, a government decision is required to consolidate the new norms of spelling and punctuation. Its chairman must sign the resolution. At the same time, it is clear that the Ministry of Education does not come up with these new rules on its own, but relies on the opinion of the professional philological community, on the expertise of the Spelling Commission of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

After the chairman of the government signs the document, a chain will start working that will oblige publishing to comply with these rules. This is primarily the media, printed publications, textbooks. They will have to come out in accordance with the approved rules. As for ordinary people, Internet users, this instruction will not apply to them in any way. It is impossible to forcibly impose the rules of spelling and punctuation on them. Go to any social network: do many people write according to the rules?

So, there is nothing wrong with those who will write the word „God“ with a small letter, it will not happen. In to same, there are situations and set expressions where it is really written with small. For example, “God knows”, “God is with you” and  others that don have no religious context».

Among other recommendations offered by the Ministry of Education — the rule for writing the letter “Ё”. Dots are optional — to put them & nbsp; or not, the author or publisher should decide. But when quoting fragments of text, it is advisable to keep the original spelling.

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