Q: Will you…respect the dignity of every human being?
A: I will, with God’s help.
– From The Baptismal Covenant, The Book of Common Prayer, page 305
Whene’er, by a name other than your own, I call you,
a name I deign to bestow
(one I deem descriptive of an attribute, nay, a deficiency
I perceive you to exhibit, verily, to embody,
thus, I presume to be emblematic…of you),
then I no longer (for I cannot) see you
and much less do I (still less, can I) know you;
even though I do know
(yet choose to ignore)
that we, in our inarguable share of our essential humankindness
alway, our differences notwithstanding, are far more akin and far less alien
(than I’d like to admit).
And whene’er, by a name other than your own, I call you,
I also (actually, primarily) no longer do (or can) see myself.
For whene’er I defame your God-given dignity,
thus, deny your humanity,
I already have dishonored, still more, I already disbelieve mine own.