Author Topic: Benne on Bolz-Weber  (Read 15223 times)

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 11299
    • View Profile
Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #285 on: December 18, 2018, 08:47:53 PM »
So you are telling me that the law would stand if it required an atheist couple to have someone "ordained" or otherwise certified by a religious organization preside at their wedding?
The law you cite says:
  In order to solemnize the rite of matrimony, any such minister, preacher, pastor, priest, rabbi or other spiritual leader must be ordained or otherwise designated in conformity with the customs of a church, temple or other religious group or organization; and such customs must provide for such ordination or designation by a considered, deliberate, and responsible act."

I comment:
This is 1) stupid; 2) unnecesary; 3) vague and 4) unenforceable. What of the couple who wants no "church, temple, or other religious group or organization" involved in their exchange of vows? And who is the state to say that a religious organization must "provide for such ordination or designation by a considered, deliberate, and responsible act."?
Finally, why do we in the church care how the state structures the "legality" of a marriage? And why do we think that "our" structure of marriage should be forced on non-believers?

Charles,

Stop. Count to ten. Then go back and read the law. No one is telling you "that the law would stand if it required an atheist couple to have someone 'ordained' or otherwise certified by a religious organization preside at their wedding." Because the law doesn't require it.

Read the law rather than react.
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it’s not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

mj4

  • Guest
Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #286 on: December 18, 2018, 09:03:30 PM »
Pastor Kirchner quotes a Tennessee law:
   (2)  In order to solemnize the rite of matrimony, any such minister, preacher, pastor, priest, rabbi or other spiritual leader must be ordained or otherwise designated in conformity with the customs of a church, temple or other religious group or organization; and such customs must provide for such ordination or designation by a considered, deliberate, and responsible act."

I comment:
And I strongly believe that if anybody wanted to challenge the “religious” aspect of that paragraph, it would fall faster than a bag of rocks.

I would read part (2) here differently than you. In light of part (1), part (2) offers more detail as regards to who (under the free exercise clause) may solemnize a marriage in addition to civil authorities. It simply requires them to represent a religious community in some recognizably formal way if they are claiming to perform a wedding on behalf of that community. As Pr. Kirchner points out, nobody is required to have a religious wedding. A couple can even be married by a bankruptcy judge. Ha!

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12267
    • View Profile
Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #287 on: December 18, 2018, 10:48:19 PM »
Pastor Kirchner quotes a Tennessee law:
   (2)  In order to solemnize the rite of matrimony, any such minister, preacher, pastor, priest, rabbi or other spiritual leader must be ordained or otherwise designated in conformity with the customs of a church, temple or other religious group or organization; and such customs must provide for such ordination or designation by a considered, deliberate, and responsible act."

I comment:
And I strongly believe that if anybody wanted to challenge the “religious” aspect of that paragraph, it would fall faster than a bag of rocks.

I would read part (2) here differently than you. In light of part (1), part (2) offers more detail as regards to who (under the free exercise clause) may solemnize a marriage in addition to civil authorities. It simply requires them to represent a religious community in some recognizably formal way if they are claiming to perform a wedding on behalf of that community. As Pr. Kirchner points out, nobody is required to have a religious wedding. A couple can even be married by a bankruptcy judge. Ha!

How about going to a divorce court judge?
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Eileen Smith

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2140
    • View Profile
Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #288 on: December 19, 2018, 07:15:21 AM »
This article seems to give a bit of color to the law.  It allows for a religious or civil ceremony but if religious it must be a pastor/priest from a recognized religious body and not the Universal Life Church.  I can't say I see much sense in the law, along with Pastor Austin.   I've seen too many couples have a religious ceremony simply to please grandma or get married in a beautiful church setting with no intent to actively participate in the life of the congregation even though they may technically be members of the congregation.   I'd say that many European countries have a good system where there is a civil ceremony and then a religious ceremony, should the couple desire.  Reading the article allows me to wonder if there's a bit more to this law other than keeping with the seriousness of the marriage commitment -- be it an issue with the ULC or the legalization of gay marriage.
https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2018/03/12/memphis-case-highlights-potential-pitfalls-marriages-online-minsters/415390002/

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 11299
    • View Profile
Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #289 on: December 19, 2018, 07:52:09 AM »
This article seems to give a bit of color to the law.  It allows for a religious or civil ceremony but if religious it must be a pastor/priest from a recognized religious body and not the Universal Life Church.  I can't say I see much sense in the law, along with Pastor Austin.   I've seen too many couples have a religious ceremony simply to please grandma or get married in a beautiful church setting with no intent to actively participate in the life of the congregation even though they may technically be members of the congregation.   I'd say that many European countries have a good system where there is a civil ceremony and then a religious ceremony, should the couple desire.  Reading the article allows me to wonder if there's a bit more to this law other than keeping with the seriousness of the marriage commitment -- be it an issue with the ULC or the legalization of gay marriage.
https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2018/03/12/memphis-case-highlights-potential-pitfalls-marriages-online-minsters/415390002/

Now, before Charles again overreacts, keep in mind what Larry Rice, a nationally-respected family law attorney (I've attended his seminar and read his articles) says about the Tennessee law:

"Tennessee takes marriages seriously," Rice said. "There are enormous responsibilities created as a result of that one agreement. You don't have to married by a minister, so it's not a religious thing. You can go get a judge to marry you, but you can't get a joke to marry you. Universal Life Church is a joke."
« Last Edit: December 19, 2018, 09:15:14 AM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it’s not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13105
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #290 on: December 19, 2018, 09:25:20 AM »
That’s Tennessee. Then there’s the rest of the country. As I see it, the state has one interest in the matter namely: did the two people make valid, witnessed vows to be together? Did they create the social - not religious, but social and civil and legal - contract to be a unit, a family, a “married” couple?  That has an impact on such things as children, finances, property, and access to State services.
For that all you need are witnessed signatures, not a religious ceremony.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Just finished six great days in a beach house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, with a bunch of friends and relatives. About 18 of us, and the young folks did all the cooking.

readselerttoo

  • Guest
Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #291 on: December 19, 2018, 09:46:05 AM »
That’s Tennessee. Then there’s the rest of the country. As I see it, the state has one interest in the matter namely: did the two people make valid, witnessed vows to be together? Did they create the social - not religious, but social and civil and legal - contract to be a unit, a family, a “married” couple?  That has an impact on such things as children, finances, property, and access to State services.
For that all you need are witnessed signatures, not a religious ceremony.

And yet marriage vows are made before the Judge behind the judges.  Unless you don't believe in the God of Genesis 1, 2, 3 and beyond.

Michael Slusser

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 5212
    • View Profile
Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #292 on: December 19, 2018, 09:50:15 AM »
That’s Tennessee. Then there’s the rest of the country. As I see it, the state has one interest in the matter namely: did the two people make valid, witnessed vows to be together? Did they create the social - not religious, but social and civil and legal - contract to be a unit, a family, a “married” couple?  That has an impact on such things as children, finances, property, and access to State services.
For that all you need are witnessed signatures, not a religious ceremony.
Common-law marriage, where state recognition comes ex post facto if at all, has served in many places including the U.S.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 11299
    • View Profile
Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #293 on: December 19, 2018, 09:56:49 AM »
As I see it, the state has one interest in the matter namely: did the two people make valid, witnessed vows to be together? Did they create the social - not religious, but social and civil and legal - contract to be a unit, a family, a “married” couple?  That has an impact on such things as children, finances, property, and access to State services.
For that all you need are witnessed signatures, not a religious ceremony.

No one has suggested otherwise. You've come a long way, Charles, from:

The legality of the marriage has to do with the filing of the papers with the city or county clerk, it has nothing to do with who presides at the ceremony.

To which I responded:

Well, you think about that for a bit. I hope you will realize that who presides and the filing of the Certificate of Marriage are not mutually exclusive but, rather, importantly connected.

Think about it rather than react.

You finally thought about it. Thank you.

Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it’s not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13105
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #294 on: December 19, 2018, 10:18:35 AM »
You have agreed with the point I was originally making. Thank you.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Just finished six great days in a beach house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, with a bunch of friends and relatives. About 18 of us, and the young folks did all the cooking.

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 11299
    • View Profile
Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #295 on: December 19, 2018, 10:34:02 AM »
<sigh>

Unfortunately, you are still wrong, Charles. The state does have an interest in who "presides," whether it is a minister, a judge, or the witnesses and clerk who verifies the Certificate of Marriage.

Gotta connect the dots, Charles. It's a both/and, not an either/or.

Even in a common law marriage, a provision was/is that the couple publicly hold themselves out as married for the requisite time. The community, therefore, validates the marriage, and it it becomes a legal issue, the court verifies.

To interpret laws and their public policy, etc one must think like a lawyer, Charles. You've never learned to do that. So, if you're going to interpret the law, don't commit malpractice.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2018, 10:44:55 AM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it’s not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13105
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #296 on: December 19, 2018, 11:16:38 AM »
We have far overdone this teeny bit of hoodoo, Pastor Kirchner, but what the heck; I'll add a final tidbit.
When I was chairman of the town's Ethics Board (a state-mandated body), we handled a case brought against the mayor, who had done some deceptive things with his financial disclosure statement. I "presided" over six weeks of hearings, I signed subpoenas, I swore in witnesses; and I chaired the six-member panel as we considered the matter.
The attorney hired for our Ethics Board asked whether I had ever gone to law school.
I said no, and asked why.
He said "because you think like a lawyer."
I said that in theology, we considered things that were like "precedents," we considered old data and "laws" which had to be interpreted or re-interpreted for the current day, and we considered how those things matched or didn't match the issue at hand.
He said that was thinking like a lawyer.
Done here, I hope.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Just finished six great days in a beach house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, with a bunch of friends and relatives. About 18 of us, and the young folks did all the cooking.

Eileen Smith

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2140
    • View Profile
Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #297 on: December 19, 2018, 11:51:50 AM »
This article seems to give a bit of color to the law.  It allows for a religious or civil ceremony but if religious it must be a pastor/priest from a recognized religious body and not the Universal Life Church.  I can't say I see much sense in the law, along with Pastor Austin.   I've seen too many couples have a religious ceremony simply to please grandma or get married in a beautiful church setting with no intent to actively participate in the life of the congregation even though they may technically be members of the congregation.   I'd say that many European countries have a good system where there is a civil ceremony and then a religious ceremony, should the couple desire.  Reading the article allows me to wonder if there's a bit more to this law other than keeping with the seriousness of the marriage commitment -- be it an issue with the ULC or the legalization of gay marriage.
https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2018/03/12/memphis-case-highlights-potential-pitfalls-marriages-online-minsters/415390002/

Now, before Charles again overreacts, keep in mind what Larry Rice, a nationally-respected family law attorney (I've attended his seminar and read his articles) says about the Tennessee law:

"Tennessee takes marriages seriously," Rice said. "There are enormous responsibilities created as a result of that one agreement. You don't have to married by a minister, so it's not a religious thing. You can go get a judge to marry you, but you can't get a joke to marry you. Universal Life Church is a joke."

I am not convinced that the ULC is a joke.  It is not what we, as Lutherans, would consider an ordination.  But I am in agreement with Pastor Austin.   The interest of the state is that the t's are crossed and i's are dotted and not who presides.  I'd rather attend a wedding where Aunt Betty, a devout Christian, presides over the wedding than to one where I know the couple will not be back until the baptism of their first child - despite all the promises in counseling sessions to the contrary.  And these days, baptism is even in question.   Every situation is different.  Yes, there are some who register withe the ULC (and other such mills) simply to make a few bucks but there are others who do so very intentionally, perhaps for a family wedding.  It's not for the state to determine if the presider is a 'joke' or not. 

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 11299
    • View Profile
Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #298 on: December 19, 2018, 12:06:21 PM »
This article seems to give a bit of color to the law.  It allows for a religious or civil ceremony but if religious it must be a pastor/priest from a recognized religious body and not the Universal Life Church.  I can't say I see much sense in the law, along with Pastor Austin.   I've seen too many couples have a religious ceremony simply to please grandma or get married in a beautiful church setting with no intent to actively participate in the life of the congregation even though they may technically be members of the congregation.   I'd say that many European countries have a good system where there is a civil ceremony and then a religious ceremony, should the couple desire.  Reading the article allows me to wonder if there's a bit more to this law other than keeping with the seriousness of the marriage commitment -- be it an issue with the ULC or the legalization of gay marriage.
https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2018/03/12/memphis-case-highlights-potential-pitfalls-marriages-online-minsters/415390002/

Now, before Charles again overreacts, keep in mind what Larry Rice, a nationally-respected family law attorney (I've attended his seminar and read his articles) says about the Tennessee law:

"Tennessee takes marriages seriously," Rice said. "There are enormous responsibilities created as a result of that one agreement. You don't have to married by a minister, so it's not a religious thing. You can go get a judge to marry you, but you can't get a joke to marry you. Universal Life Church is a joke."

I am not convinced that the ULC is a joke.  It is not what we, as Lutherans, would consider an ordination.  But I am in agreement with Pastor Austin.   The interest of the state is that the t's are crossed and i's are dotted and not who presides.  I'd rather attend a wedding where Aunt Betty, a devout Christian, presides over the wedding than to one where I know the couple will not be back until the baptism of their first child - despite all the promises in counseling sessions to the contrary.  And these days, baptism is even in question.   Every situation is different.  Yes, there are some who register withe the ULC (and other such mills) simply to make a few bucks but there are others who do so very intentionally, perhaps for a family wedding.  It's not for the state to determine if the presider is a 'joke' or not.

Ms. Smith,

I don't care if Aunt Betty or someone from the ULC presides either. But it appears that most states do. And in all cases the state does care that there is someone who can validate a marriage.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2018, 12:21:37 PM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it’s not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 11299
    • View Profile
Re: Benne on Bolz-Weber
« Reply #299 on: December 19, 2018, 12:07:19 PM »
We have far overdone this teeny bit of hoodoo, Pastor Kirchner, but what the heck; I'll add a final tidbit.
When I was chairman of the town's Ethics Board (a state-mandated body), we handled a case brought against the mayor, who had done some deceptive things with his financial disclosure statement. I "presided" over six weeks of hearings, I signed subpoenas, I swore in witnesses; and I chaired the six-member panel as we considered the matter.
The attorney hired for our Ethics Board asked whether I had ever gone to law school.
I said no, and asked why.
He said "because you think like a lawyer."
I said that in theology, we considered things that were like "precedents," we considered old data and "laws" which had to be interpreted or re-interpreted for the current day, and we considered how those things matched or didn't match the issue at hand.
He said that was thinking like a lawyer.

So, after he stroked you, he then submitted his bill to you, right?   ;)
« Last Edit: December 19, 2018, 12:24:12 PM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it’s not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs