Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Language of Deception: Sexual Orientation

What would you say was the most important subject you studied in school? Was it science or mathematics? Was it the arts or physical education? Maybe it was the social sciences or history? Perhaps it was English, maybe music? But most probably you never covered a central subject of a good education. Any ideas? As a high school teacher for thirty-four years, I think one of the main subjects of a good education is the proper study of language and I don't mean grammar, the writing of essays and literature. I'm talking about language and meaning because the very words we use daily have a powerful influence on how we think and what we think.

Consider this question: can you think of anything at all without using words, either out loud or silently in your mind? It's hard isn't it? Words become in time the vocabulary we use to see and think about the world, our very Creator and our place in it. So, it's extremely critical that the words we use have clear meanings and that we realize we all have a responsibility to communicate accurately.To neglect this verbal duty is to fall into deception and confusion, either by our own thinking or that of others.

Let's look at a current example of this. In November of 2010, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board conducted a survey of its students to "gather demographic information about the unique and diverse composition of our student population." This is the rationale given by the board for the survey on their website.

The survey was done by having parents of students from junior kindergarten to Grade 6 complete a questionnaire and students in Grades 7 to 12 were asked to do it on their own during school time. Question 12 in the Grades 7 to 12 survey asks the student to identify their gender, with options being Female, Male, Transgender, or Prefer not to disclose.

Question 13 is more detailed and asks: "How do you identify your sexual orientation? (Please check all that apply)," with the first option being Bisexual, followed by Gay (male), Heterosexual (straight), Lesbian (female), Queer, Questioning, Transsexual, Two-spirited, and Prefer not to disclose. If students weren't sure they could record that as well. (The survey has now been removed from the board website.)

Now you may ask, where's the question of language in all this? Here's it is: most of us have been raised with the idea that there are two genders based on biological characteristics that determine whether a person is female or male, a boy and girl. But the survey asks students to identify themselves according to nine possible sexual orientations. It creates a word reality with no clear meaning as to what it is in the real world. One begins to talk gobbledegook as in expressions like, "the giftedness of sexual orientation" and "undifferentiated bundle of cells". These are the meaningless sounds language makes when it's used to mislead and morally deceive. The language used in Question 13 lists orientations that have no biological reference in reality. How do you know if a person is Questioning or Two-spirited? The words used are confusing and don't communicate the truth about the human person and human sexuality. This is first and foremost disrespectful to God, but also to students and parents.

There's a sober lesson worth recalling about the dangers of language distortion from the Tower of Babel. After the Great Flood, proudful humanity tried to build on its own a tower to reach the heavens. God confounded their speech so they could not do so. When we misuse the gift of language and reduce it to a meaningless human activity it becomes impossible to communicate and think effectively. Why? because we attempt to defy God's plan for us. Sadly, this form of verbal abuse is too often carried out by professional educators, politicians, leaders and social thinkers. Parents should unmask this verbal deception for their sake and that of their children. It's also worth recalling the words of Isaiah here: 5:20 "...Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness..."( 5:20)

Here's another example. The 47 countries that form the Council of Europe want to finalize an agreement to make "gender" a social construct. This truly is absurd. It's language on a holiday. You see they want to forget the biology and legally recognize a human word-construct. In effect, the language to describe human sexuality trumps physical and biological reality. All this is happening not in the world of Alice in Wonderland; it's a decision being seriously considered by the European Union. The emperor truly has more than no clothes. Sadly, we are living at a time when the verbal pollution index is very high.

Words, in this case, used to describe "gender", "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" can be totally unrelated to reality, and if we accept them, they have the potential to deceive, change, shock our very mental and moral well-being. It's nothing short of verbal pollution that can too easily turn lies into "truths" because there's no reality check with the actual world. Our only defense is to be on guard for this language of deception regarding sexual orientation and to reject it each time we hear it, read it and everywhere else we encounter this verbal corruption.

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