[Tagging] Denominations vs religions organisations

Minh Nguyen minh at nguyen.cincinnati.oh.us
Mon Jan 18 17:31:05 UTC 2021

Vào lúc 05:28 2021-01-18, Matthew Woehlke đã viết:
> On 16/01/2021 19.35, Joseph Eisenberg wrote:
>> 1) Most commonly, it is used for the sub-category ('denomination') of a
>> religion. The top 20 tags are all like this.
>> E.G>. the top religion=christian denominiations are: *catholic*,
>> *roman_catholic*, *baptist*, *orthodox*, *lutheran*, *anglican*,
>> *protestant*, *methodist*, *russian_orthodox*, *greek_orthodox*,
>> *evangelical*, *presbyterian*, *pentecostal*, *jehovahs_witness*, 
>> *mormon*,
>> *seventh_day_adventist*, *reformed*, etc.
> Well... already I can see a number of issues in that list. "Lutheran" 
> is, at least in the US, insufficiently specific (and *outside* the US, 
> is often labeled "Evangelical", whereas "Evangelical" *in* the US means 
> something completely different!), at least "Baptist" and "Orthodox" are 
> similarly dodgy (the latter doubly so when the more appropriate 
> Greek/Russian Orthodox are also in the list!), I'm not sure "Catholic" 
> and "Roman Catholic" are actually different, and many Christians would 
> argue whether Jehovah's Witnesses should even be labeled "Christian". 
> (Mormons absolutely are not Christian any more than Muslims are; both 
> have their own holy books that supersede the Christian Bible.)

Mormon churches claim to be Christian and they are commonly (if not 
universally) described as Christian denominations in works of reference. 
That should be good enough for us mappers; it isn't for us to 
independently evaluate a sect's piety or arbitrate a schism. But this is 
a very good reason for us to tag denominations precisely when possible, 
so that a data consumer can choose to make such value judgments.

Long ago, the denomination=* key started out with just a few generic 
values, probably because few mappers were familiar with the complexity 
of denominations (not just in Christianity but in other religions as 
well). denomination=catholic was originally the way to tag Roman 
Catholic churches and schools, but these days it's very common to 
clarify the rite, as in denomination=roman_catholic. The wiki page 
attempts to reflect this increased granularity.

operator=* is not a good key for the rite, because it's more commonly 
used to record a more immediate organizational relationship, such as a 
church being run by a particular religious order or a school being run 
by a certain diocese. As a Roman Catholic myself, if I'm traveling 
through town, I wouldn't care whether a church in the search results is 
run by a diocesan priest or by the Franciscans, but I would be quite 
lost in a Ukrainian Greek Catholic service.

Recently, I tagged an SSPX chapel as 
denomination=traditionalist_catholic rather than 
denomination=society_of_saint_pius_x, since SSPX is typically described 
as an order rather than a denomination. (It might have some doctrinal 
nuance for all I know.) Yet common sense and user-friendliness would 
justify a value other than denomination=catholic, which could easily be 
confused with Roman Catholicism due to the historical usage mentioned 
above. The local Roman Catholic newspapers regularly issue warnings to 
avoid the SSPX chapel, so it's a practical distinction. I used 
operator=* and operator:wikidata=* to clarify the affiliation in this 
case, but I would be open to using denomination=society_of_saint_pius_x 
instead if the "denomination" key isn't to be taken literally.

minh at nguyen.cincinnati.oh.us

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