Federal judge rules atheists must become ‘clergy’ to perform marriages
A federal judge appointed by former President Ronald Reagan has ruled that a group of atheists in Indiana cannot performance marriages unless they “become a member of the ‘clergy’ by seeking immediate Internet ordination.”
In her ruling on Friday, Judge Sarah Evans Barker denied Center for Inquiry’s (CFI) request to expand who is allowed to solemnize marriages and sign marriage certificates, saying that the First Amendment was designed to give the power to churches, not nonbelievers.
Under Indiana law, marriages may be solemnized by members of the clergy, judges, mayors, town clerks, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Muslim imams and several other faiths. Center for Inquiry had sued the state with the hope of expanding the law to the nonreligious.
“We conclude that the Solemnization Statute is rationally related to the legitimate purpose of alleviating significant governmental interference with pre-existing religious beliefs about marriage,” Barker wrote.
She added that CFI could take advantage of “several readily available avenues by which a Secular Celebrant may facilitate a marriage ceremony in Indiana: she may (1) preside at a wedding and then instruct the couple to go before one of the individuals listed in the Solemnization Statute to have the marriage solemnized; (2) become a member of the ‘clergy’ by seeking immediate Internet ordination from the Universal Life Church; or (3) seek certification to solemnize marriages from the Humanist Society.”
As the judge pointed out, secular humanist group The Humanist Society is allowed to perform marriages in Indiana because it was charted as a religious organization.
But that’s exactly what CFI was hoping to avoid, according to Reba Boyd Wooden, who serves as the executive director for the CFI-affiliated Center for Inquiry Indian.
“If we would declare ourselves a religion, then we could do it,” Wooden explained to The Indianapolis Star. “But we’re very adamant we’re not a religion.”
|by Anonymous||reply 20||12/06/2012|
See, I'd take the ability away from religions and just have marriages be a function of the government.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||12/03/2012|
Thank God I'm an Atheist.
|by Anonymous||reply 2||12/03/2012|
Exactly, r3, your religion has a sacrament that you wouldn't want someone from another religion to perform. (They probably call it something else in the Muslim and Jewish faiths that don't have "sacraments.") And most people are free to go to a house of worship and engage in a marriage rite according to that faith's rules. Marriage is similar to other religious rituals, like coming-of-age and death pageants, that the state has no part in.
A civil marriage should only be performed by a civil official. Religious officials should not be conferring civil rights. They don't adjudicate traffic tickets either.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||12/03/2012|
Great. More material for another billboard.
|by Anonymous||reply 5||12/03/2012|
[quote]Marriage is a sacrament [R1] whether you people want to accept that or not.
No, actually, it's not. The religious institution of marriage may well be a sacrament, depending on the beliefs of that particular denomination, but the civil institution of marriage, by law by by Constitution, is not. You can get married without ever setting foot in a church and without ever consulting a religious leader, and many do.
You really do seem to have trouble grasping basic facts, based on your reply here and on other threads, don't you?
|by Anonymous||reply 6||12/03/2012|
Can I get a lisence to perform marriages from the Church of the Flying Spagetti Monster?
If not, maybe we can set up a tax-exempt Church of the Almighty Almiqui ourselves.
|by Anonymous||reply 7||12/04/2012|
R3, Considering that a faux Elvis Presley conducts hundreds of marriage ceremonies yearly, your argument seems a little passe.
|by Anonymous||reply 8||12/04/2012|
R4, Marriage is not a sacrament in Judaism and does not in theory require the presence of a rabbi or other religious official. It is enough for a groom to give his intended bride a ring and say “Harei at mekudeshet li Kedat Moshe veyisrael” (Behold thou art sanctified to me according to the religion of Moses and Israel), preferably in the presence of witnesses. The ring is a symbolic payment to the bride that cements the contract, but it is not “purchase” of the bride. A woman cannot be married without her consent. Though a rabbi is not required in theory, long tradition calls for the presence of a rabbi.
|by Anonymous||reply 9||12/04/2012|
Back to ivillage with you R10.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||12/04/2012|
Marriage is nothing but a contract, a special kind of contract, but it's still a contract. People should be able to enter into the marriage contract any way they want. If people want to have it "blessed" by some religious leader, let them. The government should have no more role in marriage contracts than it does in any other form of contract.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||12/04/2012|
Religion has nothing to do with atheism or marriage. They don't own the rite of marriage, except in their own mind-controlled sanctuaries of hypnotism.
Let's face it, religion is just holding back the positive progress of mankind.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||12/04/2012|
Can't Sea Captains marry people too? I don't see what the big deal is? Why not just get married by a registrar in a non-religious ceremony.
If you want to get married in a religious ceremony get married by a member of the clergy and if you want a non religious marriage get married by a civil registrar.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||12/04/2012|
R10 You are by far the dumbest fuck here today. Wishing someone to be killed because they point out how illogical your argument is? That says a real lot about you, none of it good. And how the fuck can an institution be insulted? And an "atheistic involvement" has no place in marriage? WTF? Are you saying that atheists are not allowed to be married?
|by Anonymous||reply 15||12/04/2012|
This is all Obama's fall. Next think you know, he will be bringing SHARIA law to America.
|by Anonymous||reply 16||12/04/2012|
OK, so then that means you must be ordained clergy to grant divorce.
|by Anonymous||reply 17||12/04/2012|
[quote]has the stench of Paul. The condescension is ripe. The sooner you are killed the better. You annoy me so.
My, how ... Christian ... of you.
Here's a free clue: if you don't want to be mocked and condescended to, stop writing such stupid shit.
[quote]Anyway, my point is that of course people should be able to get married without stepping inside a church but the actual marriage rite is a sacrament.
That depends on whether you're referring to the civil institution of marriage or the religious institution of marriage. And even for the latter, your statement isn't necessarily true.
[quote]So they should be required to have a religious official perform the ceremony - not an atheist. It would be an insult to the institution of marriage to have an atheistic involvement.
I'll simply ditto R15's response here.
|by Anonymous||reply 18||12/06/2012|
Marriage isn't a sacrament in most Protestant churches either. Only the mackeral snappers think of it as a sacrament - and then it's performed by fruits who can't get married.
|by Anonymous||reply 19||12/06/2012|
I keep wondering if people who get married in religious ceremonies that aren't "sacraments" are really married? Are their children bastards?
|by Anonymous||reply 20||12/06/2012|