The Church of England has been accused of homophonaphobia after it issued a warning to the government that controversial proposals to allow homophonic words in wedding services – two different words with the same pronunciation – could undermine its status, split the church and lead to the sky falling in on everyone’s heads.
Responding to a consultation in England and Wales, the Church of England said giving homophonic words such as ‘prophet‘ (profit), ‘hymn’ (him) and ‘soul’ (sole) the same rights as other words during the marriage ceremony would alter the intrinsic nature of marriage and possibly cause large parts of the upper atmosphere to collapse.
Homophone rights campaigners have accused the Church of scaremongering and insisted there was no possibility of any part of the stratosphere crashing to earth even if words such as ‘happiness‘, ‘fork‘ and ‘seaman‘ were used in wedding ceremonies.
Experts believe that by hinting at the potential unravelling of its established status, and pointing out to the public the possibility that they could be hit on the head by falling bits of firmament, the Church of England hopes to alert society to the magnitude of what it believes is being proposed in allowing words with two meanings to be used in church services.
A spokesperson for the Church said:
Using words with unambiguous meanings in church services has been of vast benefit to society as a whole and we want to show that allowing homophonic words to be used as well could have very serious consequences. The disintegration of the celestial sphere is something the nation should not be allowed to sleep-walk towards.
In a related issue, conservatives in the US have been embroiled in a long bitter battle with their more liberal counterparts in England over the use of the word “can’t” in church services, saying pronunciation of the word in an English accent renders the word homophonic and therefore should be banned from services according to church law.
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