The tag is used for a lot of questions for which the perpetual virginity of Mary is not relevant. As most protestants reject the perpetual virginity of Mary this is problematic - it would be just as inappropriate as if, for example, the tag was named , which I'm sure many of our non-Trinitarian members would be deeply opposed to! We should try to keep all our tags neutral. Personally, our use of the tag feels like compelled speech, and it is close to offending me.

I'd like to propose that the tag be renamed to a more doctrinally neutral alternative, perhaps , and that the tag be used for questions dealing with that doctrine.

It may also be good to reconsider whether is worthy of being a separate tag. Any opinions on that?

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    This is worth pondering. The thing to like about virgin-mary over simply "mary" is the disambiguation between the NT marys. Though I can see how it might cause cognitive dissonance for us protestants, but we have to serve Catholics equally well. Will refrain from adding an answer here and see what other think. – wax eagle Jun 21 '14 at 2:39
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    mary-mother-of-jesus or even mother-mary could be options if a straight mary is too ambiguous. – curiousdannii Jun 21 '14 at 2:50

There is no problem with referring to the Mother of Christ, and the tag does not necessarily immediately call the doctrine of her perpetual virginity to the mind of a Protestant. Even in Protestant churches, it is common to hear "the Virgin Mary," referring to her throughout her life because of her state at the birth of Christ, regardless of her state thereafter.

The tag is problematic only if it becomes commonly incorrectly used to imply that a question is about the perpetual virginity of Mary. The best solution is to continue to tag with Virgin-Mary questions about the mother of Jesus, and use a tag like virginity-of-Mary or ever-virgin or perpetual-virginity for questions about that doctrine.

  • I answered this question because the asker and I recently shared some confusion over that particular tag on a question I asked. I would have preferred to answer in a comment but I'm unable to comment on others' questions just yet. – Andrew Jun 21 '14 at 4:19
  • The protestants I know wouldn't call her the virgin Mary; they talk about the virgin birth and they talk about Mary but calling her a virgin always implies her perpetual virginity. As wax eagle said it isn't a problem for everyone, but I'm hoping we can find some tags that won't be a problem for anyone! – curiousdannii Jun 21 '14 at 4:37
  • I'm a Catholic, so I have no issue with the [virgin-mary] tag; it says unequivocally which Mary is intended. The tag wiki should say specifically that that's why the word virgin is there, and that the [perpetual-virginity] tag exists to tag questions on that doctrine. In fact [virgin-mary] and [pertpetual-virginity-of-mary] could even be mutually exclusive, if the SE engine allows that. – Andrew Leach Jun 21 '14 at 16:48
  • @curiousdannii "calling her a virgin always implies her perpetual virginity" When you use absolutes, you're always wrong. I've already stated that I'm a counter example. At my church growing up, we used the names "Virgin Mary" and "Mary Magdalene" to distinguish between the mother of Christ and the Magdalene, as Andrew Leach mentioned. Perpetual virginity of Mary was not an accepted doctrine there, and was rarely if ever discussed. This is also the case in most (I don't recall any exceptions) churches I've attended. – Andrew Jun 22 '14 at 10:06
  • @Andrew that was scoped by "the protestants I know", I wasn't saying that everyone ever would imply that when they said it. – curiousdannii Jun 22 '14 at 23:25
  • But even if you're okay with it, surely you can sympathise for those who aren't? Is there a doctrinally neutral tag we can use instead? – curiousdannii Jun 22 '14 at 23:27
  • @AndrewLeach good point raising the tag wiki. The wiki at the moment is very Catholic sounding. – curiousdannii Jun 22 '14 at 23:33
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    This is a good point, Andrew, however, tags should always be as few words as possible. How does, virgin-mary improve over just mary in light of this comment? – fгedsbend Jun 24 '14 at 22:24
  • I was just providing a counter example to a previous assertion that words of the tag always imply a particular doctrine. If tags are synonymous and shorter tags are favorable, Mary is favored. However, in my opinion the tags are not synonymous. There are many people in the Bible who are called Mary. Virgin Mary is an acceptable tag to distinguish between questions about the mother of Messiah and other women in the bible with the same name. Actually, creating biblical name-tags sounds like a good project. – Andrew Jun 25 '14 at 1:03

As a conservative Protestant, I don't really have an issue with . It's a phrase straight out of the Apostles' Creed, and, while unnecessarily wordy, I don't really see it as problematic.

However, this isn't just a site for conservative Protestants and Catholics, which are the two positions expressed in answers so far. Our audience also includes "liberal" self-identifying Christians, who reject the virgin birth. To people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Albert Ritschl, and some of our users over the years, codifying "Virgin Mary" as how we identify the mother of Jesus is a rather unenlightened reliance on tradition and/or the Bible.

Sometimes it's not possible to cater to the desired language of every minority position within Christianity (broadly considered). But here, we can use more neutral language without a loss of clarity by simply using .

So, I'm not particularly enthused about making a change, but I do think that we'd be more in line with our site's principle of welcoming all self-identifying Christians if we switch away from .

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    Good point about the phrase being used in the creeds. But of course that's a contextual usage, being used to refer to a time when she was (according to almost all Christians) a virgin. The tag label is not contextual though, and when its used on questions presuming her non-virginity it's particularly incongruous! Good point too about those among our users who reject even her virginity when she conceived Jesus. – curiousdannii Aug 21 '18 at 22:03
  • Why not go all out and say "Blessed Virgin Mary"? That would certainly be more appropriate. It's not apparent to many that "Virgin" is an honorific like "Saint", it should be clear that "Blessed Virgin" is; and we're not going to go and strip off all the "st-" just because some people don't believe in the Communion of Saints, are we? – Peter Turner Sep 7 '18 at 2:16
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    @PeterTurner Not sure I follow. I'm not really a fan of "st" at the beginning of tags either, because different people (liberals, Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants) have different views on who gets the title. I doubt Catholics would like it if we had "st-cs-lewis" and "st-john-calvin" tags. I don't think it's consistent with our purported recognition of all self-identifying Christian traditions. But at the same time, there are worse things than a little inconsistency, so I'm not really hung up about it. – Nathaniel is protesting Sep 7 '18 at 3:37

The problem with just is that there are many Marys. I can think of

  • Mary the mother of Jesus
  • Mary of Bethany (sister of Lazarus and Martha)
  • Mary the wife of Clopas
  • Mary Magdalene

off the top of my head. Tags should disambiguate.

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    Tags should indeed disambiguate. We already have a mary-magdalene tag. If the others ever got tags we'd give them non-ambiguous tags. Jesus's mother could have the plain "mary" tag without it being confusing because (1) she's far more prominent than any other Marys, and (2) the tag would clearly explain who the tag is for. Compare the "joseph", "joseph-husband-of-mary", and "joseph-smith" tags. – curiousdannii Sep 4 '18 at 6:27
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    It should not be necessary to rely on the existence of other tags to disambiguate. Each tag should stand on its own as explicit. (Which may mean "Joseph" should be renamed, if that one is intended for the OT character of the amazing technicolor dreamcoat; the Joseph who comes to mind immediately for me is the husband of Mary.) – Andrew Leach Sep 4 '18 at 6:38
  • Well I did suggest mary-mother-of-jesus as well. I just think we shouldn't have such a sectarian tag name. – curiousdannii Sep 4 '18 at 7:41

The main tag should be .


The main tag should be .

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    I like mother-of-jesus as well, however, I think the context is usually quite obvious which Mary we are talking about. And in reality, the other Marys are so infrequently discussed, I doubt we will ever need separate tags for them. I am always in favor of keeping tags as few words as possible, and I think Mary is good enough and virgin-Mary does not really improve over it in any way. – fгedsbend Jun 24 '14 at 22:19

Can we rename the “virgin-mary” tag to the more neutral “mary-mother-of-jesus”?

I have no personal objection to this idea.

I am not against the thought of renaming the to . Although I am impartial to having it stay as it presently worded, due to my personal devotion towards Mary. But I must conclude that the site is designed for all Christians, regardless if they traditionally hold Our Lady to be perpetually a virgin or not.

Thus in conclusion, it may be in the interest of the site to move forward with the tag as ! At least it is neutral and non-offensive to all sides.

One could equally propose the tag: . After all, the Scriptures admit that Mary will always be considered blessed. And Catholic tradition honours Mary with the title blessed more often than that of saint.

  • I'd upvote this if the "blessed" last paragraph weren't there. – Ray Butterworth Jun 3 '20 at 0:56
  • I definitely don't have anything against anyone calling her "blessed" or the like, but I do think tags should be on the shorter side. We're not muslims who add PBUH after every single mention of Jesus's name. Honourifics, whether heartfelt or customary, should usually be said in the text of posts, not their tags IMO. – curiousdannii Jun 3 '20 at 11:11
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    @curiousdannii The Blessed part was only considered as a side note to my response. I have suppressed it. – Ken Graham Jun 3 '20 at 11:13
  • Yeah I got that, my comment was more directed to Ray. – curiousdannii Jun 3 '20 at 12:04

As the only person with a badge, I'm very proud to defend her honor as a Virgin.

What you may not realize, being some years displaced from the Church Universal is that Virgin is a title and Our Lady was a Holy Virgin like St. Agnes, St. Felicity and thousands of other holy women.

So saying Virgin Mary is like saying King Henry, only better.

  • I would think being known as the mother of Jesus would be a more honouring title. – curiousdannii Jun 17 '15 at 0:35
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    @cur yeah, I'm not gonna argue with that, its just that your opinion is wholly lacking in the historical perspective and context necessary to not drive Catholics from this site. – Peter Turner Jun 17 '15 at 3:49
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    And your perspective seems to be entirely lacking the potential for sympathy for anyone other than Catholics. mary-mother-of-jesus is a neutral tag. It would be impossible for it to offend anyone. I'd be just as opposed to a james-the-blood-brother-of-jesus tag as I am to virgin-mary. All of our tags should be as neutral as possible. – curiousdannii Jun 17 '15 at 3:52
  • It's completely impossible to be neutral, but it is possible to be democratic. – Peter Turner Jun 17 '15 at 4:03

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