VERTICAL….Apparently the latest hot word to convince evangelicals that you’re one of them is “vertical.” Who knew? It’s like trying to keep up with the latest from the hip hop world.

In other trendy word news, the American Dialect Society has chosen “subprime” as its word of the year. And it’s not just an adjective anymore! MSNBC claims that it’s also a verb, as in “I completely subprimed my Algebra test yesterday.” Other ADS winners here.

UPFDATE: James Joyner and Mark Kleiman are unimpressed with the notion that “vertical” is evangelical dog whistling. I link, you decide.

UPDATE 2: David Domke, co-author of The God Strategy: How Religion Became A Political Weapon in America, says “vertical” is unquestionably an example of dog whistle politics: “Conservative evangelicals often talk about the need to prioritize their vertical relationships with God first and foremost before worrying about horizontal relationships among people. It’s the individualized ‘get right with God’ approach of conservative Protestantism….I’ve been present a number of times when “vertical” rhetoric — the exact word — has been used in evangelical circles. It’s indeed a way of speaking one hears in many churches, part of the faith vocabulary of the evangelical and fundamentalist subculture.”

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