Articles

Why Some Language Is “So-Called”

Words matter. If our language is not honest, then our language is not compassionate either.

02/17/23

John Stonestreet

Jared Hayden

The writers, researchers, and speakers of the Colson Center, when talking about certain ethical issues having to do with identity, marriage, sexuality, or medical aid in dying, will often qualify our terms with the little phrase, “so-called.”  

We insist on this because words matter, and terms that are widely accepted and commonly used today often distort reality. For instance, there is no such thing in reality, no matter what the law says, as so-called “same-sex marriage.” 

Also, the term “gender-affirming care” refers to chemical and surgical interventions that disrupt and destroy otherwise healthy bodies in ways that are harmful, not affirming. The best research suggests that the cultural rejection of our God-given bodies has increased the prominence of mental illness and suicide. Calling it “care” does not make it so. 

Words matter. Using words that mislead is neither truthful nor loving. If our language is not honest, then our language is not compassionate either. 

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