Jan 10, 2024

The Methodist Church has come under fire after telling its ministers they should sometimes avoid using the terms “husband” and “wife” because they convey an assumption that is not “the reality for many people”.

The advice appears in the denomination’s ‘Inclusive Language Guide’, which was first released in 2022 and is updated every six months.

Explaining why dropping the marriage-related terms is deemed important, the guidance states that “relationships come in many varied expressions”. Using the terms “parent”, “partner” and “child” instead is “a good place to start”, it adds.

Fashionable gender identity language also features prominently in the guidance. Ministers are told that “using a person’s chosen pronouns is helpful as it honours their identity”, and that “[l]anguage such as ‘brothers and sisters’, while intended to be inclusive and friendly, doesn’t take into account our non-binary friends”. Congregation members are asked to “share your own pronouns in conversation”, and are directed to LGBT activist group Stonewall for more information.

The Methodist Church in Britain, which has allowed same-sex weddings since 2021, is one of the clearest examples of how redefining marriage to include same-sex couples is the slipperiest of slopes to devaluing marriage completely. The denomination even affirmed “informal cohabitation” as equivalent to marriage at the same time as redefining marriage. Now, this ‘Inclusive Language Guide’ attempts to erase husband and wife, brother and sister and all similar terms as supposedly ‘offensive’.

The mistake is moving away from the real definition of marriage in the first place. Once you think you can redefine something as fundamental as marriage, it’s not long before you’re throwing marriage out the window completely, and male and female too.

Better just to stick with marriage between one man and one woman.