Guest Editorial: Watch Your Language

How about those who trot out “homophobic” or “bigot” every time someone opposed to homosexuality raises their voice?

Yes, we all need to tone down, but here I mainly see the conservatives taken to task. Criticism of E G White and Ted Wilson is par for the course. Not to mention the censorship of those who dare stand up for historic Adventism.


[quote]Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
–Philippians 2:3-4[/quote]

Trust God

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Part of Spectrum’s policy of “community through conversation one-comment” dilemma is of their own fault with no one to blame but themselves. The best and most effective way with setting limits in conversation is for the speaker to own up to his behavior and censor his own words. We do this in our psychiatric practice with our patients. But how do you monitor conversation and implement civility when others are allowed to hide behind anonymous names?

Now, do you see the problem? Take a sampling and see who are the guilty parties. Those with legal names or those allowed to hide behind a name?

There is no reason why others should be allowed anonymous names. No reason whatsoever. If any of these individuals are conference workers and concerned about the employment status, then they should quit their jobs or learned how to “put up with it” to join the conversation. Otherwise there should be “No ands, ifs or buts” with implementing civility in conversation.


Excellent article and good show case for the problem discussed.
When I first read the article in its original place I was very much in agreement with it, enjoyed it’s clarity and clear, as well as needed positioning. Reading the comments here, I now wonder: why did I miss the possibly offensive tone of “lunatic”? What about the word play on hateventists? Etc. This is what I came up with:

  1. Human nature includes emotion - fortunately. But at times emotion means bias, includes selective perception or can include outbursts.
  2. Language - as @Victor has pointed out - is far more than “a lexical approach to a vocabulary used” might suggest. Some language, expressed with a smile can be taken with a pinch of salt. Written dialogue - especially across continents and cultures - is tricky indeed.
  3. Probably the most problematic issue, however, is content of conviction. “Jesuit” is a swear word to some (an unfortunate choice for many reasons). But what other word can you possibly use, when you are indeed convinced that the church is being undermined by secret efforts of a RC order that is directly responsible to the pope (as absurd as it may be to others)? How else, than by the term “bigotry” can you express the double standards, that protects sexual perpetrators in our church, but finds no understanding for a loving relationship of two consenting adults? Or what about the whole repertoire of demonism used? Is it slander, libel - or is it actual fear of powers beyond human control (as in “the devil made me do it” … which at least is sort of “self-reflective” … vs. the more current version of “what he/she is saying is a satanic attack”). And last, but not least, what is a mental health professional doing when she/he passes on a diagnostic impression? …

Is there a place then where dialogue can no longer be upheld? Actually, for me there is a limit, when I am no longer ready to waste my time and energy. But my criterion is a subjective one and might not be yours. Thus in light of those difficulties, Rajmund Dabrowski’s essay is a timely invitation to be a little more self reflective (rather than “objective”) and - especially in regards to my last point - an encouragement to educate, educate, educate.


Allen, In some ways I agree with you. And I think the editors here have made an excellent contribution to maintaining respectful, reasonable language.

First, I want to observe that I have not seen any effort by the GC Leadership on how to relate to those who disagree with the decision on WO. There needs to be great concern, I believe, for there to be no perception of “Well we won. Now just go along. And if you don’t go along…” I see that as an important missing element in this whole issue

We have openly disagreed on the topics of WO and homosexuality. May I suggest, though, that to refer to someone as homophobic or anti-gay is not necessarily a description of them as a person (calling them a name) as much as it is a description of their views. I would consider you homophobic because of your stated opposition to"unrepentant/practicing" homosexuals in the church, not as a means of speaking hatefully to you. Also, I think that to say to someone, “I find your comments to seem unloving” is an observation not an expression of hate.

Can there be a difference between reproof, hate, and name-calling?

And, Elmer, I’m sorry to disagree with your comments about denominational employees not using their real names. I hope that denominational employees would not be expected to risk their livelihood and support of their families for the right to contribute to our discussions here. In some instances, this could mean the loss of employment for both spouses in a family who are employed by the church. I believe that, in some cases, Jared has reviewed and approved a request by a denominational employee to use a pseudonym in order to protect the livelihood of a family.