“Language is a living thing.” At least that is what one college professor told me many years age. That reminder helped me to read early English pros, Shakespeare plays, modern slang, etc. The spelling, definitions and connotations of words shift and change. Time, distance and culture continue to impact the meaning of words. Until recently, I’ve accepted this as a matter of human history.
Today the word”marriage” has come under attack by persons of the same-sex who wish to marry. Many states allow them to do so, using the word “marriage” to legalize their union. This is so homosexuals can feel better about themselves — it can’t be that by “marrying” they can now qualify to leave his/her spouse a tax-free estate and all other financial privileges afforded heterosexual spouses. Partnership laws in states like New Jersey have permitted financial privileges for years. No, it is so that certain people can feel less estranged from the majority of society. It is an emotional thing.
Have you heard of Jerry DeWitt, the founder of Community Mission Chapel? Mr. DeWitt calls this the first full-fledged “church” for atheists. The parenthesis around the word “church” appeared in the Monday, June 24, 2013 edition of the NYT. It is not clear whether they were part of Mr. DeWitt’s intention or that of the newspaper. Mr. DeWitt did use the word “chapel”. I guess that that word is appropriate since Las Vegas has been using it for years, e.g., Elvis’ Chapel. Could it be that Mr. DeWitt, a former evangelical minister who lost his faith didn’t think of calling his meeting place “The Temple of Reason” or the “Mosque of Insight”? Mr. DeWitt himself says that the meetings he holds are emotional, not philosophical. Could it be that Mr. DeWitt misses the arm waving and hymn singing? Or, could it be that Mr. DeWitt misses performing for an audience that pays him to make them feel good? At least the Unitarians have enough sense to call themselves a “fellowship”. For the more intellectual, Ethical Culture and the Masons have been around for a long time.
I resent minorities messing with language for emotional reasons, especially when other minorities like children, the born and the unborn, in American society have less and less protection, love and security in which to thrive.