The Power of Words

The language we use is important.

Not everyone thinks so – we’re often careless with our words (especially in the electronic world with a hastily composed email or instant message). We hurry to say what we want to say, and expect people to either understand what we really meant or to give us a chance to explain if they misunderstand. Like children on a playground, we expect to be able to “take back” a poorly chosen word.

Watching the Palin interviews on ABC last night, it is clear that both Charles Gibson and Sarah Palin understood the importance of the words used to describe an issue. They jockeyed back and forth over the way a question or answer was worded, seeking clarification and trying to move the conversation in the direction they wanted it to go in. That is the power of the words one chooses.

The Left, in general, and homosexual activists specifically know that language is important. They know the words you choose give power. The power to steer debate in the direction you want. The power to get what you want.

According to OneNewsNow and Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute, “the state of California no longer recognizes a marriage between a bride and a groom or a husband and a wife”. Instead, marriage certificates now read that they are issued between “Party A” and “Party B”.

So what’s the big deal? Marriages are between two parties, right? Is this something that has no meaning, or is it a small enough issue to shrug our shoulders and go on?

Most people would seem to think so, at their peril.

Make no mistake: this is not a arbitrary, bureaucratic little change that has no importance. This is a deliberate attempt to reframe the conversation around marriage and whether the institution should be extended to same-sex couples. If Christians, conservatives and others object to an institution between a man and a woman – a bride and groom, a husband and a wife – being extended to two men or two women, then we’ll change the language. Marriage isn’t between a man and a woman, its between “Party A” and “Party B”.

There are so many battles to fight. Its understandable that we have “battle fatigue”, and wouldn’t want to make a battle out of a couple of words. The truth is, however, that our adversaries understand that the words we use are important, and that they have picked the battle. Its a battle that will allow them to win the war if we leave it unchallenged. That is the power of words.