As a pastor, I’m used to reading texts closely, taking them phrase by phrase and parsing out the multiple layers of meaning. I do this with religious texts and also with secular documents, from mortgage forms to SCOTUS opinions to presidential speeches. Words matter, and people who play fast and loose with them, or who don’t treat them with respect, really irritate me.

Like the International Olympic Committee.

Instead of using the Olympic Charter to tell athletes to sit down and shut up, the IOC ought to re-read it. If they tried that, they might notice words and phrases like “promoting a peaceful society” and “human dignity” and “sport is a human right . . . without discrimination” and so on. They might just realize that they have no option but to offer Putin a simple choice: repeal the anti-gay law and prosecute the thugs engaged in gay-bashing, or say goodbye to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.