Inclusive language is a liberal idea most often espoused by feminists, who feel they are opressed not only by actions but also by symbolism in language.

Probably the best known example is the inclusion of the term "Ms." in the English language. The idea was that the term "Miss" when refering to a woman was intended to tell men that she did not have a husband (or owner). Ms. was meant to give women the option of not being branded.

I never gave inclusive language much thought until I experienced it on a level greater than the one described above. My professor for a course titled "Understanding Scripture" was a nun, or more percisely a nun who belonged to the Seven Sisters of Mercy.

After assigning a term paper on Old Testament prophets she said we needed to use inclusive language (in this case no mention of God using His or Him or any other masculine descriptive words). She also mentioned that it was to be used in both in our prose and when quoting from the Bible.

I had difficulty with this on several levels:

  1. When was it ever decided that it would be okay to quote something and then change the quote without reference?
  2. What ever happened to the Bible being sacred?
  3. The act of changing the gender from masculine to unisex, implies that we are now more evolved than those who wrote the Bible.
  4. I may be wrong in how the word has evolved, but isn't man short for human?

I went to voice my concerns to the professor and was hugged and told, "Oh it's all right. You wouldn't understand. You're a man."

After trying to take the comment in stride, we finally worked out an agreement. I could include the masculine words when quoting, but would have to use inclusive language when writing my own thoughts.