The battle over words

Intellectual and moral battles occur using words.  Therefore, it is necessary to define the terms and also realize that words have denotation and connotation.  Denotation is the literal meaning of a word and connotation is the hidden, emotional meaning.  For example, the denotation of the word "mother" means a female who has borne offspring.  The connotation of "mother" is a warm, caring parent who always loves you.  Connotations can be positive and negative.  The word "mother" has a positive feeling to it.  The word "bigot" has a negative feel (connotation).  When liberals use vocabulary, they tend to use connotations that are favorable for them and negative for their opponents.  For example, you will hear about "homosexual rights" because the word "rights" has a positive connotation.  We support people's rights, don't we?  The homosexual agenda pairs the words "homosexual" and "rights" and uses the couplet abundantly and regularly in order to make itself appear favorable and to make those who are opposing them appear to be opposing a person's rights.

Another example of a negative connotation for a word is "homophobia."  It is used by liberals when addressing people who do not agree with homosexual activity.  The word literally means a fear of homosexuality.  The word "fear/phobia" has a negative emotional effect, and that is why it is used to describe those who oppose homosexuality.  Let's look at some more. 

Affair:  An affair is when someone has sexual relations with someone other than the person to whom he or she is married.  Therefore, it is used instead of the word "adultery" which has a strong negative connotation.  When sexual morals are loosened, the terms that describe sexual behavior are, too.

Diversity:  The word "diversity" has a positive meaning and will be applied to the homosexual agenda in such a way that when someone opposes homosexuality, he is opposing diversity.  It is good to want diversity among people as it relates to ethnicity, gender, age, etc.  The positive connotation of this politically correct term is also used in support of diversity when it comes to "sexual orientation."  They will sometimes say that homophobes are against diversity.

Gay:  Liberals use the term "gay" which has a positive, happy connotation and combine it with "gay rights."  Notice how the word "rights" is associated with another word that has a positive meaning.  Of course, "gay" has come to mean "homosexual" since it has been taken over by the homosexual community.  But also notice that in using the term, they are framing and thereby controlling the conversation, and it puts the conservative on the defensive.  Don't let this happen.  Don't let them frame the conversation.  Don't use their terms.  Don't say "gay rights."  Say "homosexual intrusion" or "special rights for homosexuals," etc.

Intolerance:  This word is used whenever it is speaking of homosexuals who are persecuted in any way.  Those opposed to homosexuality are intolerant.  But, the term is rarely used of the intolerance that homosexuals have for traditional values and Christianity.  The homosexual community shows intolerance for traditional values by labeling them as outdated, bigoted, etc.  It often attacks the Christian church in similar ways.  One group, Act Up, has actually gone into church services and disrupted them in profane ways.  Did the media call them intolerant?  Not at all.  That label is uniformly reserved for conservatives who hold to traditional values and disapprove of homosexuality.

Partner:  Partner is more of a neutral connotation and is used in phrases like "domestic partnership."  Notice that they rarely use terms like "husband" and "wife" because those terms carry the meaning of a traditional marriage bond consisting of a male and female.  This is not what homosexuals want to present, so they don't use those terms.  They again frame the argument and nullify traditional values by using different terms designed to be neutral when referring to themselves and their agenda.

Victim:  This term has a strong emotional connotation and is used to describe themselves whenever homosexuals are persecuted in any way.  It is never used in reverse when it is used of non-homosexuals who are persecuted by homosexuals.  Matthew Shepherd, the homosexual who was brutally murdered in 1998 by two anti-homosexuals, was paraded by homosexuals and the media as a victim of homophobic hatred.  But, the term is absent when describing atrocities in reverse.  Does anyone know of the murder of Jesse William Dirkhising, a teenager from Arkansas who was "bound, drugged, tortured, raped and died as a result of the drugs given him and the position in which he was tied down"?  The perpetrators were "two men who were described as 'lovers' in a police affidavit." 1

The word game continues along with the slanted and overly selective presentation of truth that occurs by the homosexual community and the media.  We must be aware that words are extremely powerful.  I suggest that when dealing with homosexuals, that you not use their terminology.  Use correct terminology. Don't use terms like "partner"; instead, use husband and wife.  Don't say "gay rights"; instead, say "homosexual agenda."  Don't say "homophobia"; instead, say something like "pro-heterosexuality" or "traditional marriage values."  Try to be patient and loving with them (Col. 4:5-6), but when they are being intolerant of Christianity, say so.  When they insult the Lord, call them Christophobic.  Speak the truth.  Jesus did.

Matt. 23:27-28, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."

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About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.