Can we all please watch our language?

Published June 1, 2005

Dear editor,

In reading the Anglican Journal and in conversation with other Anglicans recently, I have become increasingly disheartened by the language that is being thrown around in news reports, in letters to the editor, and in the words chosen by our ecclesiastical representatives.

While it is clear that metaphorical and spiritual trenches are being dug, those who we turn to for guidance and insight, and those who have some clout in this issue are painting Canada as being open and honest but other countries’ churches in our communion as being underhanded and almost deceitful. To speak colloquially, “them’s fighting words,” not dialoguing words. This kind of talk also implies that if I agree with the Canadian stance I am open and honest, but if I disagree with it or if I am still debating my position on it then I may be underhanded or deceitful.

There are several examples in the paper recently that reveal such a bias that more and more I see the quiet many, as opposed to the vocal few, stepping back and keeping quiet. They know better than to speak. To speak is to be labeled and to be “dialogued” at.

At the same time, it is being made clear to them that they should hunker down and watch the fight from the side and then quietly decide whether to walk or to stay. That may depend as much on whether they agree or disagree with the issue as it does with how disrespectfully and crudely they were treated while they toiled with an issue that is clearly one so many people feel so passionately about.

Michelle Edgar-Labelle

Long Sault, Ont.


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