Tag Archives: the Y

What’s in a Name?

I was saddened as I read an article today about the YMCA changing its name to just the Y.   The article rightly points out that everyone does shorten the name in conversation.  However, does anyone really think that the fact that the initial for  “Christian” was dropped is insignificant?  Officials from the organization formerly known as the YMCA give lots of excuses for the change:

“We’re trying to simplify how we tell the story of what we do, and the name represents that,” said Neil Nicoll, president and chief executive of the organization.

I don’t even know what that means.  But, I think this quote gets a little closer to the truth:

“It’s a way of being warmer, more genuine, more welcoming, when you call yourself what everyone else calls you,” said Kate Coleman, the organization’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

Does the organization’s hierarchy believe that referring to their Christian history and mission makes it less warm, genuine, or welcoming??  Apparently, Y executives have determined Christianity to be alienating, offensive, or some sort of liability.  I guess the hope is that by changing the name, the organization can distance itself from its Christian roots just like KFC tries to make you believe that because “Fried” is no longer in the name, the same chicken is somehow healthier.

One look at the website for the national organization or that of your local YMCA reveals that membership in the organization is open to all, regardless of creed.  Keeping the “Christian” in the name just reminds us of the Judeo-Christian principles on which the group was founded.  Of course, that does seem to be a problem in modern America.  This secular society does not like to be reminded that our very nation and its law were founded upon Judeo-Christian principles.  I would argue that the Y is less “genuine” for trying to hide its origins.

Another American icon sells out to politcal correctness.


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