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Mail Tribune erred in deity matter

Since you asked

In a recent editorial, the Mail Tribune contrasted one religion's god with a God who provides a moral and spiritual compass to people of all faiths. Since you do not make careless errors in weighty matters of case, please explain god, God and maybe the reference who, rather than that.

' Mike H., Applegate

We wish we never made careless errors in weighty matters of case, Mike, but in this case, you caught one.

The Associated Press Stylebook, our bible in such matters, if you'll pardon the expression, says this about that:

Capitalize God in references to the deity of all monotheistic religions. ... Lowercase gods and goddesses in references to the deities of polytheistic religions.

Pretty straightforward, but we managed to be inconsistent.

As for who rather than that, it's a judgment call. The stylebook says, Use who and whom in referring to people and to animals with a name ... Use that and which in referring to inanimate objects and to animals without a name.

Is God a person? Talk about weighty matters. Maybe we should have said, A God providing a moral and spiritual compass and avoided the whole thing.

Send questions to Since You Asked, Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to