Should we refer to people by their preferred pronouns?

So maybe this seems to be a no-brainer to you, but I am trying to think this through.  When I meet a Catholic priest, I may address him as "father," even though he is not my spiritual father. By doing so, I am not acknowledging his superiority to me, as, perhaps, a Catholic might.   At one time I refused to do this because of my initial understanding of Jesus' words in Matthew 23:9, which, if taken as absolute (complete) and w/out context would imply you couldn't even call your own dad "father."  I came to understand that statement as referring to  not seeking someone to replace the Fatherhood of God, turning our souls over to a human being and blindly following him (as some Catholics might do a priest, or even some fundamentalist might do In a Jack Hyles type church).

With gender, it is not the same thing. A man wanting to be called "she" is an imposter.  But then, so again is a minister or priest who does not believe the Bible and teaches a wrong way of salvation. Yet we tend to call people by their titles, even if we realize they are imposters.  We do this out of courtesy to them; referring to an apostate minister as Pastor Jones does not imply an endorsement of their actual calling to the ministry.

So when we are dealing with an imposter in the realm of gender, do we respect their wishes and use the pronoun they prefer, or do we agitate them by calling them by their actual gender?  Do we befriend them as a means to witness to them, or offend and repel them?  Are we participating in their sin by doing so. 

What are your thoughts?  I am trying to think this through.

Yes, this is part of courtesy and is not an endorsement of their choices.
14% (4 votes)
Yes and no -- depends on the situation.
29% (8 votes)
Unsure.
7% (2 votes)
No, I would not. But I am okay with other Christians going along with the pronoun.
7% (2 votes)
No, this is not the thing to do: accommodating them is endorsing their wrong choice.
39% (11 votes)
Other
4% (1 vote)
Total votes: 28
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There are 5 Comments

Mark_Smith's picture

When you are at work, or a teacher in a school, or a medical professional, etc., your opinion about people's lifestyles is irrelevant. Nurses/Physicians have no access into a person's life to say you what your perceived gender is. Teachers are not paid to school students on their gender (except is a private school where parents have approved of that). If you are a boss, what you think about who your employees have sex with is irrelevant. If you are a co-worker, that does not mean you can comment on what people do after hours.

But, at church, this is totally different. You preach the gospel. You teach what God has said, etc.

Don Johnson's picture

I haven't had to face this in any situation, but I've always wondered why it is just the perverts who get to impose their morality on me.

They can call themselves whatever they want, their pronouns aren't my preferred pronouns.

Of course it is easy to talk when you aren't confronted with the situation. If it came to it, however, under their twisted logic, I think I would have some legal ground to make my case.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

josh p's picture

I voted no. I have a cousin who now considers himself a female. Since he isn't, I won't refer to him in that way. I will however, avoid using a pronoun at all to not give unnecessary offense. I would also not call a priest "father" for the same reason. He isn't a spiritual father. To bring it closer to home, I would also not call a pastor I respect "Dr." if it was honorary.

Ken S's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

I haven't had to face this in any situation, but I've always wondered why it is just the perverts who get to impose their morality on me.

They can call themselves whatever they want, their pronouns aren't my preferred pronouns.

Of course it is easy to talk when you aren't confronted with the situation. If it came to it, however, under their twisted logic, I think I would have some legal ground to make my case.

I hope you won't ever have to face this situation. Judging by your tone, you might do more harm than good to the person with whom you'd be dealing.

Andrew K's picture

To those that said "yes," it seems you are thinking primarily of gender-binary pronouns. Very trad of you.

Let's take this a bit further: 

What if you run into a "zim" or a "zer"? Or "it"? Will you accommodate that?