Inclusive Language

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Has been a topic around the parish today. Over at the Sleepy Mommies Peony has this to day:
My personal perspective as a woman, a reader, a mother, and a Christian, is that I hate inclusive language.
Mr. Riddle posts The only question I keep bringing to the fore is "Why are we so afraid of God the Father, of Him who is?" Why do some feel the need to geld God in the name of inclusion.
Both these posts refer back to a post by Mr. Steven Bogner, in which he invites intelligent comment.
I blogged on this in my first few days of blogging - going back to re-read
what I wrote then I don't have too much to add - other than to say that I despise the Bowdlerization of the English language.
At choir rehearsal Monday night, I nearly choked when I realized that "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" had been edited to "Jesu, Joy of Our Desiring". They DON'T mean the same thing, and the PC version is NOT an accurate translation of the German!


Terms like "mankind" and "man" (used in the context of a phrase like "man does not live on bread alone...") are just the way people spoke, and I don't think we are doing anyone any service by rewriting the language of history. I think most people understand that "mankind" and "man" in these usages refer to all humans, not just the male gender. This was explained to me by the good sister in parochial school at a very early age, and I've never had any confusion with it.

I DO think that as we write and speak in our own words these days, it is appropriate to use "he or she" where "he" would once have been enough, and to use "humankind" in place of "mankind". I also think that it's okay to use the terms "African-American" and "Native American", but the terms "black" or "Indian" should not suddenly be treated as dirty words.

That being said, I feel strongly that words which have already been spoken or written (ESPECIALLY biblical, literary and historical texts) should remain exactly as they were originally stated. Can you imagine re-writing "Huckleberry Finn" to use politically-correct language?

As far as making God gender-neutral, that's just idiotic on so many levels. He made people in His own image, and the first person he made was Adam. His only offspring was a male. Pretty strong indicators that God has manifested himself to humans as a male. That doesn't mean he dislikes females or they are somehow less important. After all, He needed a woman to bring His Son into the world. Obviously, God has women in high regard, having given them the responsibility of bringing forth new life.

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on November 7, 2003 8:45 PM.

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