The Methodist Church in Great Britain released an "Inclusive Language Guide" this month advising Methodists to avoid using gendered terms such as "husband" and "wife" because such allegedly assumes what is not "the reality for many people."
"As Christians, we need to have the courage for conversations that can sometimes be difficult, to recognize that we sometimes exclude people, to listen with humility, to repent of any hurtful language and to take care with how we listen and what we say or write, in the Spirit of Christ," says the guidance, which will be updated every six months.
The guidance offered as a general principle the idea that there is "infinite variety in the way that God's creation is expressed in human life," and offered "husband" and "wife" as examples of terminology that "may sound inoffensive but it makes assumptions about a family or personal life that is not the reality for many people."
The guidance offered the words "parent," "partner," "child," and "carer" as suitable alternatives.
The guide goes on to list extensive categories of people with whom Methodists are advised to use "sensitive and inclusive" language when addressing minorities that have been "marginalized and/or demonized by common culture."
The guide urges steering clear of "ageism" by avoiding terms like "old people," to embrace "anti-racist language" by encouraging use of "ethnicity" instead of "race," and to avoid language that negatively emphasizes a person's immigration status or English skills.
Antisemitic and Islamophobic rhetoric are also discouraged, and the guidance also encourages Methodists to tread carefully with their terminology when addressing "disabled and neurodiverse people" and those with mental illness.
The guide suggested it was important that the Methodist Church "uses language that is inclusive of LGBT+ people," and advised using the language an individual prefers, including the pronouns by which they choose to identify.
The denomination passed resolutions in 2021 allowing each congregation to decide for themselves whether or not the blessing of same-sex unions can take place in their chapel, and recognising the reality of cohabitating couples.
"Using the language that individuals use for themselves shows that we care as a Church and that we affirm them as a child of God," the guidance says.
The guidance concludes by pointing readers to nonprofits that include the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and Stonewall, an LGBT charity in the UK whose guidance found its way into schools throughout the country.
"We are proud of our Inclusive Language Guide," a spokesperson for the denomination told The Christian Post. "It helps the Church hold conversations without making assumptions or inadvertently causing upset. Some find this especially useful when talking with those who may have had a different life experience to their own."
Regarding whether gendered language would still be used in Methodist marriage ceremonies, the spokesperson said: "Couples getting married in a Methodist Church will discuss with the minister how they wish to be referred to during their service. This ensures that the ceremony reflects who they are."
Father Calvin Robinson, who has been outspoken in fighting progressivism in the Church of England, blasted the Methodist Church for its guidance and suggested it's symptomatic of a neo-Marxist attempt to effectively destroy it.
"This is not Christianity," Robinson wrote on X. "It is Critical Theories: 'smash heteronormativity.' It is no longer enough to acknowledge disordered lifestyles. Everything normative and ordered must be demolished for fear of causing offense."
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