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The sanctity of speech

The sanctity of speech

The first Person to speak in our shared scriptures, appropriately, is God.

“Let there be light,” God said, in the first chapter of Genesis. And then,

“Let us make humanity in our image.”

And God blessed them, and it was very good.


The second person to speak, in the second chapter of Genesis, in the second creation story, is the man, welcoming his partner, his other; the image of God.


The third person to speak, in the third chapter, is the serpent. “God lied to you,” it accused.


It is perhaps the first example of hate speech: God has lied. Not everyone is made in God’s image. Some may be more godlike than others. Supremacy is within your reach. Forget what God has told you, and claim godhood for yourself.


The Word of God himself would not even go there;

who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited (Philippians 2:6)


We love our free speech. I am not oblivious to the privilege of exercising that freedom in this forum. There is a cost to such a privilege; a responsibility that accompanies such a freedom.

There is no excuse for its abuse; nor, perhaps, for its silence.


Let us choose our Word carefully.


The Revd Rosalind C Hughes is the Rector of the Church of the Epiphany in Euclid, Ohio, and a regular contributor to the Episcopal Cafe. This post has been edited by the author.


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