Is There a Problem With Saying “God Bless You”?

Did you see the story about the teacher who disciplined his students for saying “God Bless You”?  I read the story on MSNBC at

The teacher said he believed the students were being disruptive to the class by saying “God Bless You” when students would sneeze.  The story says the students were sneezing “dramatically.”  Now, if some of the students were making themselves sneeze so others would say “God Bless You” and disrupt the class intentionally, the students are behaving poorly.

The story says the teacher sees the saying of “God Bless You” as an outdated practice.  He says it dates back to the days when people thought sneezing involved the presence of evil spirits.  So people said “God Bless You” to protect the sneezing person from the evil spirits.  I have heard this before.  Now, medical science explains sneezing as a biological event. 

So, we no longer see sneezing as involving evil spirits.  A person sneezes because they are sick or because of allergies.  If they are sneezing because they are sick (even if it is just a cold), we can say “God Bless You” that they are cured of their cold.  If they are sneezing because of allergies, we can still say “God Bless You” that they are relieved of their allergies.

If I sneeze and someone says “God Bless You” I thank them.

May God bless all of you.


Fr. Jeff

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