Christian Right Claims AOL IM Slogan Blasphemous

WorldNetDaily reports that AOL’s “I AM” marketing campaign for its instant messenger service is causing howls of protest by some on the far Right:

Photo: AOL I AM marketing campaign America Online is now acting like God – using what some consider to be His very name in a marketing pitch for e-mail, voice chat, video chat, instant messaging, text messaging and other forms of communication.

AIM’s new slogan is “I AM.”

Millar wonders if any of AOL’s marketing and planning directors ever went to Christian Sunday school or attended Jewish services.

He points out to AOL executives that “I AM” is the English translation of YaHWeH, the self-proclaimed name of God.

“He is the Creator and Savior of the world,” explains Millar. “He alone is to be worshipped. To take His name in vain, or use as a common thing is blasphemy, a vulgar sin of offense. Perhaps you have not read the Third Commandment, since they have removed it from so many public monuments in the last decade. But breaking it as a means of marketing your products offends the mind of everyone who worships Him.”

The key scripture used to support the sacred name of God is Exodus 3:13-15: “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”

“I AM” are the words God used to answer Moses’ question about His name.

Jesus, too, used the phrase in John 8:58, when he said, “Before Abraham was, I am.”

I am continually shocked at how stupid some people are. I am pretty sure that it never would have occured to the vast majority of Christians that AOL was claiming to be Yahweh. I am pretty sure that they understand that “I AM” is a play on “I.M.”

Yet, here we have a major conservative publication flaming the fans of outrage over something so incredibly stupid as to make Pat Robertson look like a P.R. genius. I am not sure what these people are thinking.

FILED UNDER: General, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mark says:

    I have never heard this before. I also do not recall any protests over Sean Penn’s movie “I AM Sam.”

  2. ICallMasICM says:

    Does that mean I should stop feeding my dogs IAMs? Cuz I’m not gonna.

  3. fhdjfn says:

    I am pretty sure that it never would have occured to the vast majority of Christians that AOL was claiming to be Yahweh.

    AOL=Yahweh??? These guys are crazy. Now, if it were Microsoft using the slogan, I might find the critique more believable.

  4. Anderson says:

    Okay, but “I Am” as the divine name of God is not exactly some kind of closely-guarded evangelical secret. Trust me.

    I’m nowhere near being a fundamentalist, but I saw one of those commercials & immediately noted the biblical allusion. “Oh, THAT will go over well,” I thought.

    Inasmuch as advertising seeks to promote good will, this was not a bright move by AOL. Then again, bright moves are not AOL’s hallmark.

  5. LB says:

    As a member of the “Christian right,” I agree with you. It’s stupid.

  6. T. Jaxon says:

    Funny that Mr. Millar’s own initials are…I.M.

  7. Fersboo says:

    One person named Miller equals Christians and the Far Right? Pretty damn big brush you’re using to paint with James. One kook does not equal Christians.

  8. Debarella says:

    Please, make it stop! Let the rapture begin! I can’t coexist with this insanity much longer.

  9. James Joyner says:

    Fersboo: Read the post.

    Anderson: No doubt AOL should have done more market research. But, sheesh.

  10. Anderson says:

    It’s an interesting reflection on Christianity in America today. What would have been obvious to virtually anyone even 30(?) years ago is now a subject that requires “market research.”

  11. Fersboo says:

    My mistake James. I read your intro line and then perused the article.

    Look, after hearing Shep last night announce that ‘Will and Grace’ were getting Britney Spears to play a Christian talk show host or preacher or something, I’ve been having a hard time concentrating. Must be the loss of blood.

  12. jim says:

    Does this mean that Popeye—“I am who I am” is in trouble too? I googled this and found out that apparently he is.

  13. LJD says:

    Breaking news:
    AOL has issued a response to the accusation that they are ‘blasphemous’:
    ‘I know you are, but what am I?’

  14. Johno says:

    I wonder what they’ll do about my friend Dan. When he got his wife pregnant for the first time, he renamed his wang “The Supreme Creator.”

  15. G A PHILLIPS says:

    As someone who is trying to be a Christian, something that I have learned is that you can only try to be one till that day as the son of God judges you so. So please do not cast us all under the same banner. You would not believe what it takes to be a true worshipper of God and to retain the forgiveness of his son’s sacrifice(at least for me). Please read the bible with the holy spirit as your guide, it might give you a clue to the fact that we all live and speak blasphemy every God blessed day. From what I what have learned it is the duty of the Christian to spread God’s holy word, not to sit in jugement with it,it says we are to make known violations of his word, and then to forgive those who have done this, and ask them to turn from their path, each time. take it for what you will, and twist it the way you want.

  16. This particular Christian thinks this is a lot of hysteria over nothing. We have many bigger and more important issues on which to focus our energies and attention, and I wish people like Millar would do exactly that instead of flapping their gums.


  17. I am not sure what these people are thinking.

    These people are not thinking.


  18. McGehee says:

    These people are not thinking.

    I am in complete agreement.

  19. floyd says:

    if it is true that it is “stupid” for christians to be offended when no offense is intended by such insensitivity; then why are so many people being sentenced to “sensitivity training” when they offend other groups who are too “stupid” not to take offense when none was intended? no offense[lol]

  20. Dave E says:

    And yet, for all AOL’s ‘blasphemy’, no one is threatening to blow them up. And no one has cut off Kanye’s head for dressing up like Jesus.

    Given the choice between Christian lunatics and Muslim lunatics, I pick Christian.

  21. floyd says:

    g.a. phillips; to paraphrase yoda; ” there is no try, there is only be or not. don’t try ,be”; from a fellow christian.

  22. floyd says:

    well said dave

  23. djneylon says:

    Funny, how when Nike (I think it was them) accidently did a running shoe logo thingy that looked vaguely like Arabic for an Islamic name for God, they chose to dump the product, and pull all of them from the market…and no one suggested Islamacists were being extremist. Some Christians suggest that AOL is being slightly blasphemous and they are wacko extremists. Can you say double standard?

  24. Mark Jaquith says:


    It’s only a double standard if it’s the same person holding both positions.