Episcopalians Approve Guidelines for Inclusive and Expansive Language

During their 79th General Convention in early July, 2018, Episcopalians took a bold and timely
step to make it a priority to end the generis use of masculine nouns and pronouns, noting it is “increasingly unacceptable in current English usage.” The full text of the resolution is below.

D067 Bias-Free and Expansive Language for God and Humanity

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention acknowledges as has the Society of Biblical Literature Book of Style, that “bias-free language respects all cultures, peoples, and religions” and encourages the use of inclusive and expansive language for both God and humanity; and be it further

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention in the spirit of effective evangelism and proclamation of the Gospel affirm the use of “bias-free language” defined by the principles below:
 Eliminate the perception of conscious or unconscious bias by the distracting use of biased language when not central to the meaning of the text.
 Avoid the generic use of masculine nouns and pronouns which is increasingly unacceptable in current English usage.
 Avoid the use of language that perpetuates stereotypes based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.
 Avoid the assignment of gender to God, except when required by the text.
 Respect all cultures, peoples, and religions by sensitivity to the uncritical use of biblical characterizations such as “the Jews” or “the Pharisees” that can perpetuate religious and
ethnic stereotypes.
 Structure sentences to communicate clearly while using gender-neutral language, for
o Omit the pronoun.
o Repeat the noun.
o Use a plural antecedent.
o Use an article instead of a pronoun.
o Use the neutral singular pronoun “one.”
o Use the relative pronoun “who.”
o Use the imperative mood;

And be it further

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention urges that the Executive Council, the Office of General Convention and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society give priority to using these guidelines in all published communications; and be it further

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention exhort dioceses, congregations, institutions, and organizations affiliated with the Church to follow these guidelines in all published communications.

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