Talk:Code word

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Coded language[edit]

I'm not sure how to go about adding this because it's not about code words as such - and I wouldn't want to try and shoehorn this point as a "word". Anyway. As I've been reading up on the UCCF (Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship ) recently, I've noticed their attitude to homosexuality is... let's say "subtle". Their doctrine of faith clearly states that everything in the Bible is the Truth - proper Capital T Truth. Which, of course, means gays are bad (as always, they're quiet on the shellfish). Now, most Christian groups that support gay rights come out and say so, don't they? They often make a point of saying "the Bible says X, Y and Z, but we think it's open to interpretation so homosexuality is fine by us, BTW, sorry for slavery" and stuff like that. But in the case of the UCCF, they are a lot more guarded - they don't shout from the rooftops that being gay is bad like US evangelists do, but neither do they promote gay rights or try to explain away the Bible's decision on it. They just leave it at "the Bible is the word of God" and "Homosexuality is a difficult question for society" and have massively long open ended and annoyingly inconclusive blog posts (which can be found at about whether homosexuality is a choice or not. It's not difficult to say it in plain terminology, especially if you're an organization at high risk of being declared homophobic!

Now, if I was being nice, I'd say they were just truly undecided and struggling to figure out what they should think. They all seem nice enough people, and you'd expect them to follow the progressive zeitgeist of the UK and particularly the higher education background here. On the other hand this attitude doesn't gel with their doctrine of faith. Simple cognitive dissonance, perhaps, and quite innocent once you take into account that they're proper hardcore Christians (their attitude is similar to creationism, but it's difficult to tell because all the info seems to be about bashing Dawkins, and more recently, Hawking).

But the cynic in me seems to think that they're just scared of coming out (pun retrospectively intended) and saying "homosexuality is bad" and so code the language in terms of "well, we believe the Bible is true" and "it's a difficult question". They can point at their literature and say that they're open minded and progressive and tolerant (although one of the posts on bethinking seems to imply that they're more tolerant because they have to put up with gay people, whom they think are immoral) but it doesn't take much to read between the lines and see what they really mean. So this is what I'm wondering about the "code words" thing, is it more than just general words and can it be just as much about what you don't say and refuse to commit to saying. In this case it might just be coded phrases but it's also context driven, so is difficult to clarify what to look for in a soundbite. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 18:31, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

I don't see what that has to do with coded language: you're commenting on what they don't say rather than what they do. The UCCF is a large organisation covering many Christian Union groups, & since the attitudes of British Christians towards homosexuality vary so widely (even the C of E can't get its story straight), for the UCCF to have a stated doctrine re homosexuality would be more damaging than not to, as with other contentious issues among Christians such as evolution or abstinence for example. I don't see anything particularly facetious about statements that the Bible is the Word of God or that everything it says is true - this is basically what most Christians believe (though of course there are varying interpretations as to how much is literal truth & how much is allegorical, etc). To read these statements about the Bible as code for "we hate the gays" is hanging your own interpretation on it - the Bible says a lot of things about a lot of things: why assume that the UCCF are alluding to that one particular thing? ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:05, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
This is why I was asking. I'm wondering if I'm paranoid or just leaping to conclusions. This is the one I'm mostly thinking of. It's very guarded and non-committal as towards saying homosexuality is wrong - but there's just something irking me in the subtext and the way it's phrased that I can't put my finger on. Which is what I'm getting at.
As for the argument that the UCCF represents a large number of people, if you sign up to a CU, you sign up to the doctrine of faith. If I signed up to a White Nationalist movement, you wouldn't then say, oh, that movement would represent people who weren't racists. Anyway, as I said, I'm just putting it out there to see if I'm on the right line or not - I'm not sure. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 20:17, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
That article you cited is clearly anti-gay, pulling the old "love the sinner, hate the sin" rhetoric, which is its own kind of cant & not really coded language as such. I guess the UCCF is pretty much endorsing that stance by hosting it, though not all members necessarily have to agree with it (the bethinking FAQs stresses that varying Christian viewpoints are represented in the articles). I'm not convinced that the doctrine that members sign up to contains a coded message about homosexuality, & I don't understand your White Nationalist analogy. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 22:20, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
(EC) It's absolutely clear to me that the author of that article thinks homosexuality is morally wrong. It seems to me that the wishy-washy language of the article reflects a common rationalization of evangelicals. The goal is to maintain the opportunity to argue against homosexuality without seeming like a bigot, even though, by any reasonable definition, a god that sends non-believers and harmless "sinners" to hell is itself a bigot.
It's less clear what the position of the UCCF is; however, they do say:
For instance, were a speaker to condone, or indulge in, sexual activity outside of marriage, that would violate the DB’s assertion that the bible is the supreme authority in all matters of belief and behaviour, for the bible is clear on that issue.
This pretty much rules out them being OK with gays, unless they believe in gay marriage (while is not official policy, I don't see anyone in favor of it there, although I do see some "man and a woman" straight-marriage-is-great stuff).
I suppose you could argue that this is common coded language. But it seems a lot more like a case of I'm not prejudiced, but... It's not that the message is being hidden so much as that "prejudice" or "bigotry" is being redefined to require outright hatred or violence, and then the message is being given in a "tolerant", "understanding" way. "I don't have anything against black people, I just think it's really hard to make a marriage work, and a child needs the support of a certain community. Outside of a few lucky exceptions, I'm just not sure that interracial marriages can work." *ahem*Mormons*ahem* In this example, there's no code, and it's definitely about interracial marriage. What they are trying to argue is that it's not "bigotry".
While I know of no single code word (or short code phrase) about this, some common coded signs for "I don't approve of gays" are:
  • Describing men and women as "complementary" or "made for each other" such that their relationship is "unique" (there's an entire Catholic propaganda video about this, where they constantly talk about same-sex marriage without talking about same-sex marriage).
  • Describing monogamous marriage as designed by God (particularly the "one flesh" bit from Genesis) and sincerely using the phrase "a man and a woman" to describe biblical marriage (ever).
  • Giving a specific definition of bigotry during a conversation about homosexuality. If this ever happens, it's almost certainly a case of "I'll only agree to a definition of this word that doesn't include me."
By the way, I have some relatively liberal friends that have made me sit through this sort of thing from the priest/pastor/minister in their weddings. I mean, really people: it's a straight couple's wedding; do you really have to throw in the 30-second "marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman" bit? We know the genders of the people standing up there; you can save the political talking points for your Sunday sermon.
Srsly though, if you want an example of nauseatingly well-made propaganda, watch that Catholic vid.--Quantheory (talk) 23:23, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
Actually, Weaseloid, I kind of agree. I think I just jumped the gun and read too much into it. I might be slightly biased as I know they once sent out emails to LGBT representatives basically telling them they were going to hell. I think Quantheory might be right about the general case being more "not prejudiced, but..." more than coded. I was thinking about the description of "code word" according to this article; that it increases acceptability to outsiders, while still being meaningful to the in-group. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 08:35, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Monty Python quote[edit]

I'd wager the quote I added only adds to the confusion. Though, I'd like for it to remain for absurdist reasons. That's just me though - I won't argue with a reversion. My nipples are already exploding with delight as it is. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 23:16, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Unsuitable title[edit]

I'm really not sure of this title at all. A "code word" would be a conscious masking of a particular concept, while "dog whistle" accusations take in both that, and things that someone hasn't said.

One tactic of the far left these days is to ascribe certain ideas to anyone who gets in their path, regardless of whether they hold them or not. The opponent is then forced to backtrack and argue according to their framework. The accuser does not have to provide any proof of their accusation other than saying it is "implicit" (which means not directly said) or "unconscious" (usually relying on the accuser pointing to the person's skin colour or gender - without irony).

The danger here is that these accusations are often baseless. Trying to guess everyone's internal life is a zero sum game, because it is frequently wrong. It is also lazy and prejudiced thinking, because the accuser is thinking of the person in a a collective setting with a set menu of ideas, rather than as an individual with multiple influences and the ability to make decisions... Or even be misunderstood.-Albannach (talk) 12:59, 30 June 2021 (UTC)

Historical example[edit]

Arising from some of my historical research: politicians and others late 19th-early 20th century would sometimes refer to the inhabitants of the Workhouses (ie the very poor) as being 'pampered' by being given butter rather than (the then very cheap and nasty) margarine. Is this a codeword or 'a sort of snarl world'? Anna Livia (talk) 12:42, 21 June 2022 (UTC)

Question in practical applications[edit]

Hey, I don't know if this is an appropriate place to ask, but a friend of mine is calling virtually everything he doesn't like 'Marxist'. Liberal policies of Democrats? Marxist. Woke culture and milion genders? Marxist. Every single thing that is being done by politicians that he doesnt like? MARXIST. Whenever asked opinion about something he just calls it 'Marxist' and assumes this is all the argument he needs to denote something as generally 'bad'. Does not describe why something that is Marxist is bad, he just calls it that. Is that dog whistle politics? As in, 'Oooh, its Marxist, obviously it must be horrible then' being his expected reaction. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs