Monday, 4 January 2010

From Tony Jones' Blog - A Call to Clergy: Stop Performing (Legal) Marriages!

This post is so full of wisdom I had to share it - Not only does it deal very sensibly with the issue of same-sex marriage but it also fundamentally challenges the role of clergy in acting as agents of the State in officiating at 'legal' weddings. Read it HERE


Benny the Bridgebuilder said...

Good post. Time somebody dealt with this anomaly. It was too convenient for too long. But society has changed and it is now an encumbrance.

See an example of what it can lead to here.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Here's part of what I left in the comments at Tony's blog:

Clergy should be out of the marriage business altogether. If the couple is religious, then a blessing ceremony may follow the wedding, but the couple will be married already. The presence/intrusion of clergy at the marriages of Christians came rather late in the history of Christianity, and it’s time that we returned to our beginnings on the issue.

The rest of my commentary had to do with a response to another comment.

I know several clergy in the US who refuse to do weddings, and I admire them for their stand, but I realize that not every clergy person can take that position.

Andy Boal said...

That's interesting. The biggest issue I can see is that to relieve the clergy of their positions as Marriage Registrars is that it would increase the cost of the wedding - because people would be paying for two ceremonies, secular and religious.

There is also something very special of being blessed at the very outset of a marriage, and the very first thing that you do as a married couple is pray - a connection you lose if, as in France, your actual wedding ceremony is solely secular.

In saying all of that, I can see where Tony is coming from. There should be a clear line between what the current arrangements are intended to be - allowing the couple the option of a religious ceremony as easily as a secular ceremony - and turning the minister into solely an agent of the state. As long as ministers have the right to refuse to marry because neither is a member of their congregation, and they don't have to be involved in secular marriages, this ought to be safe... I hope

Grandmère Mimi said...

Andy, first of all, I would hope that the custom of having frightfully expensive celebrations of a marriage or a blessing is on the wane. The civil marriage and the blessing of the wedding could take place on the same day, thus saving the expense of two celebrations. The blessing would follow the wedding near enough for the couple to be blessed at the onset of their life together.

However, in my ideal world, the blessing of the couple's marriage would take place in the Christian community to which the couple belong, only after a period of discernment by the community.

06454399 said...

Can you ever really separate 'sacramental' marriage and 'legal' marriage as this blog puts it? They are intrinsic. This thinking is perhaps a natural suite of a radical or extreme form of State/Church separation or secularism. Surely if God is not at the heart of the marriage with his acramental presence guiding and helping the couple, then the legal realites do nothing only recognise and officiate something that isn't there.