Opinion

Fewer couples are marrying in churches. Does it matter?

The number of traditional church weddings has dropped dramatically in the past decade. Photo courtesy of Pixabay/Creative Commons

(RNS) — As summer begins, another wedding season is upon us. The air is warm, the earth is lush and everything is as pretty as a June bride.

But for all our marriage cliches, one now belongs on the endangered species list: Wedding bells are not ringing.

We live atop shifting sands, at least as far as faith is concerned. Part of the change is that fewer Americans are Christians. Churches nowadays do not usually have bells, especially churches that meet in storefronts, rented school cafeterias or aluminum-sided monstrosities in far-flung suburbs. And the percentage of weddings that take place in churches has plummeted, dropping by almost half in less than a decade.

Reporting on a survey from a leading wedding website, the evangelical Facts & Trends discussed religion’s recession from the wedding landscape.

Religious congregations hosted 22 percent of weddings in 2017, down from 41 percent in 2009. Churches are losing ground to banquet halls, hotels, country clubs, wineries, rooftops and museums.

Clergy are solemnizing fewer and fewer marriages. Instead, couples are turning to civil magistrates or even loved ones who obtain credentials. In 2009, 29 percent of couples had a friend or family member solemnize their wedding. That number had increased to 43 percent by 2016.

What accounts for this dramatic change? Is anything lost? Does it even matter?

The main reason church weddings are dropping is that more people are raised without religion. This is something we can prove empirically: Though rates of belief remain persistently high, church membership, worship attendance and congregational participation are in decline.

Since the 1960s, social expectations concerning sex, cohabitation, childbearing and marriage have quietly undergone profound changes.

Religion is the great loser in that revolution, not only ceding its cultural influence, but also struggling to govern the lifestyle choices of its own adherents.

Clergy and churches, once gatekeepers to the social respectability that marriage afforded, are now often reduced to paid extras and photo ops.

Couples are increasingly choosing less traditional locations for wedding ceremonies. Photo by Ibrahim Asad from Pexels

It’s not just a decline in faith. With Americans more mobile, atomized and rootless than ever before, fewer have a connection to a religious congregation where they live or even “back home.” Thus, when rites of passage like marriage (or birth or death) come, we are less likely to turn to the church to help us mark them.

It would make sense that couples who lived together before marriage and/or have no intention of attending worship together thereafter are much likelier to skip the church wedding today than in previous generations.

In this way, it is perhaps a credit to young people’s integrity: At least they are not pretending to care about marriage as a sacrament or religious rite. Many just do not see marriage (or sex or childbearing) as bound up with religious faith anymore. We can debate whether that is god or bad, but it is undeniable.

This was certainly my own experience. My first marriage as a 21-year-old virgin was a traditional religious wedding, though held outdoors.

When I remarried following a divorce, my religiosity was at a low ebb. But having cohabited with my then-fiancee and having no intentions of being religious together, we were in no mood for pretending. We hired a notary public, had her say a prayer or two commensurate with my nominal religiosity and my unhealthy need for older folks’ approbation, and got married in a city park.

Lots of marriages today seem to lack a self-consciously divine character, and certainly not one mediated through the life of a religious congregation. They are not “Christian marriages” in any meaningful way.

So what, if anything, is lost?

I hesitate to admit it, as a person whose religious marriage ended in divorce, but both church and society are worse off as marriage has declined and shed its sacredness.

With no religious wedding, couples receive less marriage preparation. They have less access to marriage counseling from a clergyperson. They do not spend time thinking or praying about what’s distinctive about sacred marriage. They aren’t taught to embrace marriage as a vocation to a particular way of being in relationship as a symbol of Christ’s love for the world.

Marriage is a bedrock social institution. We all suffer if it is weakened. Civil marriage may have no sacred character, but strong, enduring unions are vital to our common life together. Sacred marriage builds social capital that benefits everyone.

Religion imbues marriage and families with value, commitments and permanence that neither law nor culture can confer. Society is impoverished when fewer couples enter marriage through this portal.

(Jacob Lupfer, a frequent commentator on religion and politics, is a writer and consultant in Baltimore. His website is www.jacoblupfer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jlupf. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of Religion News Service.)

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Jacob Lupfer

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  • Marriage has been in decline, whatever that means, since the end of World War II, according to statistics supported and put out by the National Association for (Some People’s) Marriage. There are a great many reasons for that, one of which might have to do with the corresponding decline of religious influence. But only one.

    “I hesitate to admit it, as a person whose religious marriage ended in divorce, but both church and society are worse off as marriage has declined and shed its sacredness.” I’m not going to make a comment, other than I sure hope that the reason was for adultery.

    “With no religious wedding, couples receive less marriage preparation.” Proof anywhere, or just an assertion? Getting marriage advice from a celibate priest, or growing up in an unhappy household, might have something to do with it.,

    “They have less access to marriage counseling from a clergyperson.” Who may not know anything about marriage and making it work. Being a clergyperson doesn’t mean jack. I’ve met a number of clergy whop couldn’t be trusted to tie their shoes.

    “They do not spend time thinking or praying about what’s distinctive about sacred marriage. They aren’t taught to embrace marriage as a vocation to a particular way of being in relationship as a symbol of Christ’s love for the world.” A rather narrow point of view, maybe responsible for more marriages not working than you can imagine. Jewish people, muslims, hindus and atheists aren’t going to be thinking about that. People value their marriages, or they don’t. They have good role models, or they don’t. They work at them, or they don’t. As a wedding photographer, I met far too many couples who shouldn’t have married anyone, much less each other. I was rarely surprised when I found out some years afterwards that certain couples had divorced.

    “Marriage is a bedrock social institution.” Absolutely, so why ban gay people from getting married? Why do Mormons encourage teenagers to get married? Why are 70% of the babies born in certain vociferously religious communities born ou of wedlock, whuile their pastors rail against people they don’t know getting married?

    “We all suffer if it is weakened.” define “weakened”. what do you mean? I think it is weakened when people don’t take it seriously. My friend S has been with his husband for 38 years. Their collective siblings, all 7 of them, have been divorced at least once, some twice. The nieces and nephews go to Uncle S and Uncle T for relationship advice, not their parents.

    “Civil marriage may have no sacred character, but strong, enduring unions are vital to our common life together.” Quite a non-sequitur.

    “Sacred marriage builds social capital that benefits everyone.” Another assertion made without evidence. We’re still together after 16 years, and though we were married by a Christian minister, our marriage is decidedly not religious. Most of the gay couples I know that have survived past initial romance have been together from 16 years (us and SR) to 45 years (my second-oldest friend) to 60 years (a couple I knew). Most of my heterosexual friends had little to no religious component to their weddings, yet 30 years, 45 years– not uncommon.

    “Religion imbues marriage and families with value, commitments and permanence that neither law nor culture can confer. Society is impoverished when fewer couples enter marriage through this portal.” Also asserted without evidence. I repeat: People value their marriages, or they don’t. They have good role models, or they don’t. They work at them, or they don’t.

    how many marriages has Jabba the trump have under his quite expansive belt? What about Stormy Daniels?

    What about that Graham boy? What about the several pastors in the past two months in these very pages who were making sexual advances to women not their wives? What about porn watching protestant ministers whose marriages are in trouble? What about Newt Gingrich, now remarried in the catholic church? What about the wink-and-nod of catholic annulments, despite years together and the presence of children?

    People value their marriages, or they don’t. They have good role models, or they don’t. They work at them, or they don’t. I have grave questions about the role of religion.

  • Re: “With no religious wedding, couples receive less marriage preparation. They have less access to marriage counseling from a clergyperson. They do not spend time thinking or praying about what’s distinctive about sacred marriage. They aren’t taught to embrace marriage as a vocation to a particular way of being in relationship as a symbol of Christ’s love for the world.”  

    Really!? Only religious folk are serious about marriage and invest time and effort into preparing for it? For the record … yes, I’ve heard of non-religious couples getting pre-marriage counseling.  

    The OP assumes — very broadly — that “religious” marriages are inherently more committed than non-religious ones. This seems like a rash generalization to me. How does he know non-religious folk don’t work to be ready for marriage? On what evidence does he base this conclusion?  

    Honestly … marriages began failing in occidental society, in larger numbers than ever, in the decades after the War. This decline began while religious marriages were still the “norm” — it continued in spite of (for example) the Roman Catholic Church and its imposition of “pre-cana” counseling programs on marriage candidates within their sect. Within the US, the incidence of failed marriages is at least as common in strongly-religious regions (e.g. the Deep South aka the Bobble Bayelt) as it is elswhere, too.  

    Please, let’s get over all this bilge about how much more serious about marriage religious folk supposedly are. They’re not … and we all know it. What they’re good at, is pretending to take marriage seriously, then using this pretense as a bludgeon to go after non-religious folk. What a crock.  

  • “Absolutely, so why ban gay people from getting married?”

    I hear tell that thar got coh-rected. Y’all miss it?

    “What about the wink-and-nod of catholic annulments, despite years together and the presence of children?”

    How about telling us all you know about annulments?

    For example, how would the presence of children impact a positive or negative decision?

  • Divorce rates per thousand population in 2015 in godless Massachusetts: 2.6

    Divorce rates in Moore lovin’ Alabama in the same year 3.9.

    Easily googleable.

  • It’s a 1.3 per thousand difference. I’m not sure how significant it is, because I no longer have the statistical background to make the comparisons. But you can go here:

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/621703/divorce-rate-in-the-united-states-by-state/

    Perhaps this will give you an idea. For 2016, Godless Massachusetts rate is among those lowest: 2.3 per 1000. Godly Oklahoma is the Highest, with 4.4–nearly twice the divorce rate.

    These are probably better figures.

  • OK, I see, it’s 1.3 per 1000, as opposed to 3.9 per 1000. So AL has 3 times as many divorces as MA.

    I thought originally it was 2 out of 6 and 3 out of 9, which are both 1 out of 3!

  • Jacob Lupfer basically demeans secular people and marriages. Was this article only meant for Christians?

    Since when is a clerygyperson always best for marriage counseling? And since when is marriage divine? Is there some demonstration that these things are true? And another push for thoughts and prayers … which will do for marriage about the same as it has done to stop mass shootings…Nada !!

    -> “Sacred marriage builds social capital that benefits everyone”…”Religion imbues marriage and families with value, commitments and permanence that neither law nor culture can confer.”

    Calling BS on that. This is why we should fear taking the god-botherers’ advice about what marriage is — and keep these theocrats out of the bedroom and government too !!

  • “Sacred marriage builds social capital that benefits everyone.” No disagreement.

    “Society is impoverished when fewer couples enter marriage through this portal.” (Speaking of religion)

    Sacred marriage is not about a portal, sacred marriage is about a commitment to someone. I say this as a person who was married in the church he grew up in 31 years ago yesterday.

  • I’ll be sure to pay him the same attention that I always pay him, because he is worth whatever attention I have to pay.

    In fact, his non sequiturs and changing the subject are easily worth double that.

  • “Religion imbues marriage and families with values, commitments and permanence”

    Values = patriarchy

    Commitments and permanence = the little woman needs to take the abuse and pray.

  • Not quite it. the DIFFERENCE in the rate per thousand is 1.3. The rate for Arkansas is 50% higher.

  • Why is isn’t getting married in a courthouse just as sacred? My Grandfather and Grandmother were married in church…and Grandpa almost beat Grandma to death a few years later…tell me again about social capital?

    Marriages are what people make of them…not what presumptive deities make of them !!

  • The same two paragraphs jumped out at me too. I think you’re right to call BS on the “religion imbues” part because it’s implied to be a absolute truth. As a person who would get labeled as very religious in any kind of survey there are just too many details missing from the “portal” statement for me to agree with it.

  • It’s another facet of the trope that humanists and atheists can’t have morals because they don’t have God.

    No matter how many times you repeat the lie won’t make it true.

  • In the end, he is saying religious marriages trump civil marriages, but I doubt there has been any research which backs such a claim. The quality and stability of a marriage would depend upon the seriousness and commitment of the two folks entering the marriage, regardless of the venue or the officiant.

  • Thanks for this, brother Jacob Lupfer. It’s the most meaningful article I’ve retrieved from Religion News Service, since I’ve been here at St. RNS, as of January 2017. How? I noticed it becomes so only when I apply it to my life and the lives of loved ones in my life. Especially in terms of your last two paragraphs here. Which I’d now like to put into my own words:

    “Marriage is a bedrock social institution” in my family tree. My loved ones and I have “all suffer[ed when] it is weakened”: By their marriage-free and free-sex cohabitations. By their porn addictions and infidelities. By their secularized wedding events. By their broken family ties. This effected “weaken[ing]” confirms for me that “strong, enduring unions are vital to [my] common life together” with all of them under this family tree, to wit: That “sacred marriage builds social capital that benefits everyone” bonding to this family tree. That only God’s gospel of Christ Jesus “imbues marriage and families with value, commitments and permanence that neither law nor culture can confer.” And that my family tree “is impoverished when fewer couples enter marriage through this portal.” Praise God & Jesus, therefore, that two dearly beloved individuals in my life are getting married in church this summer! Maybe I’ll even read your article at their sacred wedding – free of charge. How’s that?

  • Yeah. That’s pretty much what I said. A church doesn’t represent a sacred marriage anymore than grandpa represented the church.

  • Some years back there was a story in the local paper about a nearby rural couple. They were in a happy, loving, and fulfilled relationship and decided to get married. Their joyful wedding was attended by their children, their grandchildren, and their many friends and neighbors. As the groom put it (with a good-natured jab at social convention), “We decided it was time to make an honest woman of her.”

  • That’s how I read it too. I did hear a statistic once that gave the success rate of couples that prayed together and there was a big jump there, don’t remember what the number was. Prayer being something intimate whether you believe in it or not I think it’s something that identifies some of the folks in the serious and committed group as you say.

    Like your take on the article.

  • Re: “Jacob Lupfer basically demeans secular people and marriages. Was this article only meant for Christians?”  

    Yes it was. Obviously! Lots of things are. They need these sorts of little “props” to prove to them how much better they are than everyone else in the world … because without them, they might not be able to rationalize feeling superior to everyone else, and the poor little things just couldn’t handle that.  

    If you keep in mind that most of what Christians say is actually intended for each other, rather than a more general audience, it’ll make more sense. They can, and do, live in their very own “echo chamber” whose goal is to ensure their feeling of moral and intellectual superiority over everyone else — even though, ultimately, Christianity is, at its core, amoral and anti-intellectual.  

  • What Evangelical Christians say is not only for those in their “echo chamber”. They want to expand their “echo chamber” around the rest if us with any means necessary.

  • About the only benefit I see from a church marriage is the requirement in some churches to complete a pre-marriage course of counseling. Control for this variable and I think civil vs church marriages would have very similar outcomes.

  • That statement could be meaningful to those who agree with our president that “we all have the same values”. Meaning we all should have the same values, he and they, have.

  • Since faith = ‘pretending to know what you don’t’, they are used to this method of understanding their world.

  • So far my marriage has lasted 42 years. We also cohabited for one year prior. Our marriage is a commitment to our relationship to each other. Christ or other Deities are not invited. We interact with the world together as much as possible. Neither of us would feel whole without the other. It is my belief that maintaining that relationship and commitment is always a work in progress. The rewards are substantial and the source of permanence. My only use of the concept of faith is in my wife’s love.

  • Re: “They want to expand their ‘echo chamber’ around the rest if us with any means necessary.”  

    Well, yeah. Which is why the keep injecting their religionism into schools (so they can indoctrinate children early in life) and it’s why they’re so committed to a Christofascist government that imposes their beliefs on everyone.  

  • If the churches offered to marry people of the community in ten minutes between Sunday Preaching’s benediction and a potluck fellowship lunch in the basement (doubling as reception), they might 1) do a much-needed service, 2) have a lot of people wanting to get married in their church. Venue and menu. For how much? How about nuthin’.

    Weddings cost too much for young people and are ridiculously stressful productions. Is there a church somewhere who wants to do a Wedding Ministry as an outreach? “Come on over. We’ll do one a month. (Love having those potlucks anyway.) Just wear whatever dress-up you have. We’ll marry you sweet and cheap—–no rehearsal—–group prayer for your marriage after dinner. If your friends come, tell ’em to show up for regular service at 11:00 AM and bring a covered dish. That’s it. Done by 2:00 pm.”

  • Sure, humanists and atheists do indeed have morals … because somewhere in their lives, young age or older, they were influenced in some manner by theists with morals.

    Atheism itself cannot even explain why individual atheists have built-in moral consciences. But the Bible can do so, quite easily — and quite supernaturally.

  • “Faith … in [your] wife’s love” has no power to save either of you and whoever else is in your “echo chamber” – not if, but when that time to be saved comes.

  • My “echo chamber” is not in your fantasyland. I don’t expect or desire to be saved or go there.

  • because somewhere in their lives, young age or older, they were influenced in some manner by theists with morals.

    So you admit that theists who don’t share your Christian faith, also have morals that guide and influence their lives, even though they believe in a different concept of God to yours? Or are Christians the only true theists?

  • No, you have not provided any good reason to pay attention to the Christian Bible. Plenty of other books deal with morality too — probably in a better way. We don’t need to spend any times with Romans 2:whatever…

  • Lupfer got married at 21 – while still a virgin.
    (All those yrs of onanism really affected his brain)

    ” They say there’s a heaven for those who will wait
    Some say it’s better but I say it ain’t
    I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
    The sinners are much more fun ”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhjNm20XbXw

  • But doesn’t factor in how many are bothering to get married to begin with. If you want a true measure of divorce rates, look up how many are bothering to get married and turn it into a ratio.

  • “Theists with morals”… Such as… those theists who perpetrated anti-Semitism for centuries? Those theists who stormed the New World and carried on a genocidal campaign to destroy indigenous people and their language/culture? Those clergy theists and their uppers who perpetrated centuries of child sex abuse and cover-up? Just for starters.

  • “They have less access to marriage counseling from a clergyperson.” – If that person is Paige Patterson they’re probably better off without it.

  • Marriage hasn’t been ‘weakened,’ Mr. Lupfer. It has evolved. All that’s happening is that churches are losing their grip on those marriages, many of which are moving forward without even stopping to genuflect at some dusty old altar. Civil marriages are every bit as solid and enduring as religious ones, and contribute just as much social capital (if not more).

    Marriage is better than ever now that people are entering it better informed and with clear eyes; that holds true for society as well.

  • That’s a popular dodge, but it won’t work. Moral and ethical behavior were known long before Christianity came along, it’s flourished in societies that never even heard of Christianity, and plenty of people throughout history and around the world have discussed and displayed morality with no reference to theism whatsoever. It does not “come from” religion; rather, religion jumped on the bandwagon and then tried to pretend it was the driver.

  • As a retired pastor, the paradigm of church membership has not changed as society has changed, much to those who care about numbers in this way. Why shouldn’t the ceremony itself change? The couple are marrying each other, the clergy or other recognized officiant is the legal witness, pure and simple. It can be done elaborately or simply.

    Should a couple come to me, young,old,same sex, whatever, if it’s their first marriage, I have a completely different pre-Cana for them including meeting w/ a banker, a lawyer and possibly a funeral director. That’s different if it’s a second (third, fourth, whatever) marriage.

    My first question for a couple is ALWAYS:” Why in a church?” I don’t see them in services and they’re coming to requests church venue? One very honest couple in a small town setting simply responded they’d get more gifts that way. I gave them the number of the local Justice of the Peace…

    New/returning community members must be made aware of the solemnity of requesting G-d as a witness. Clergy in my denomination are not the final arbitrators of services: Board(s) need to be petitioned as well. And, couples must sign documents saying they will attempt to attend 6 Sunday services, will not be drunk or high at the rehearsal or the ceremony as entering into a legal partnership must be done soberly, and be scrupulously honest about things like divorces, children, and the like.

  • And, if you read the WHOLE page, this is an OPINION piece, and last I checked, that hasn’t been taken away….yet

  • Shoot, I could personally introduce you to some JW clergy, a Muslim imam, and at least one Jewish rabbi who got good morals. That ain’t even an issue. Even the Bible gives you a Non-Christian theist who got good morals, a Mr. Cornelius. (See link, Acts 10, at end of post).

    If “having good morals” was good enough to get to heaven, Mr. Cornelius would be first in line. But as the link makes clear, it seriously ain’t enough. Humanity’s fatal sin virus runs a lot deeper than that, and there’s NO way to wash off your own sins merely by doing good morals. So you need a lot more than merely good morals, as Mr. Cornelius’ story makes clear.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+10&version=NIV

  • The reason I ask is because your compatriot in Christ, sandinwindsor, says that folks who follow any other religion are following the devil. So I was shocked to find that Christians accept that folks following the devil have morals.

  • The trend towards civil marriage is happening in other countries.

    In Australia, civil marriages rose from 3.75% in 1901 to 11.92% in 1970 and then to 76.4% in 2016. (Commonwealth of Australia statistics) Also see https://aifs.gov.au/facts-and-figures/marriage-australia

    In the United Kingdom, religious marriages declined from 85% in 1900 to 50% in 1980 and then to 26% in 2015.https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/marriagecohabitationandcivilpartnerships/bulletins/marriagesinenglandandwalesprovisional/2015#religious-ceremonies-continued-to-decline-in-popularity

    By contrast, 64.8% of marriages in the Irish Republic were religious marriages. (About 35.2% of marriages were civil marriages.)https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/er/mcp/marriagesandcivilpartnerships2016/

  • Sure, moral and ethical behavior pre-dates Christianity — but they don’t pre-date God and theism.

    Make no mistake: Whatever morals and ethics you possess, the Bible says that God is really the source of it. “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.” (Micah 6:8.) Look at the theists in your life who influenced your morals in some manner.

    Every last piece of your morality, you never got it from Atheism. Atheism has NO inherent rationale, nor inherent power, to originate morality.Your daily human moral conscience, comes directly from God (Rom. 2:14-15). Atheism cannot explain it at all.

  • If their moral conscience is built in, why would they need to be influenced in any manner by theists or anyone else?

  • So what are you attempting to claim, Mr. Canis? That theists DON’T have morals? Shoot, I can go right to these RNS articles and grab a quick evangelical counter-example against yours.

    https://religionnews.com/2018/05/25/how-evangelicals-pushed-prison-reform-for-the-trump-white-house/

    Pope Francis initially made a horrible, inflammatory denial regarding the Chilean Priest sex abuse and cover-up, but that did NOT mean he didn’t have morals. In time, he corrected his mistake.

    And let’s link you to Catholic Charities, so you can go attack THEIR morals, while they are helping a ton of poor people, all across America, that you and I aren’t even aware of. https://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/

  • And we need not worry about how much serious about marriage you and your friends are.

    So, we have no worries.

  • If Jacob Lupfer basically demeans secular people and marriages, it means he is in your face.

    Good.

  • It is pretty myopic of Lupfer to recognize that the nation and its marriages are becoming less overtly religious and less overtly Christian, and then to conflate several times Christian marriages with any religious marriage. I got married in a house of worship by members of the clergy. But my marriage is not a “Christian marriage” in any way, much less a meaningful way. We took a marriage preparation course, but we definitely weren’t taught to “embrace marriage as a vocation to a particular way of being in relationship as a symbol of Christ’s love for the world.”
    Of course, you can have a member of the clergy solemnize your wedding outside a house of worship. I’ve been to several. I would be interested to see the statistics on how much such weddings are in decline as opposed to those that take place in a church building.
    One more thing: as reported by your straight-news RNS colleagues yesterday, the head pastor of one of those “aluminum-sided monstrosities” is set to become president of the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. You seem to have sensed the trend, but it’s just as significant as the move away from “church weddings.”

  • “The main reason church weddings are dropping is that more people are raised without religion. This is something we can prove empirically: Though rates of belief remain persistently high, church membership, worship attendance and congregational participation are in decline.”

    To me, it’s sad that more couples are not opting to be married in America’s fine churches. They are relatively inexpensive and they’re a great silent witness to the ones “raised without religion,” that churches are, indeed, friendly places to go and the religious symbols (Cross, Star of David, menorah and stained glass windows) are not overpowering. And no one passes collection plate at weddings!

    With everyone well-dress and in an upbeat mood, enjoying beautiful music, perhaps it also subtly delivers the message that churches can play an important role in keeping us centered, and that children need to be brought up with at least some religious education that they can choose to reject or embrace more fully once they become adults.

    It also can deliver the silent message that a spiritual community is a great place to celebrate the major events in one’s life: marriage, baptism of children, finding support during hard times, and finally, one’s final goodbye at their memorial service.

  • One reason is the church’s over-reach—imposing religious tests on couples who want to use church facilities, requiring them to be counseled, demanding that they buy in go marriage with a ‘self-consciously divine’ character.

    Churches are public facilities. They should provide facilities and do rites of passage no questions asked. You pay your money and you get your wedding. The arrogance of clergy imagining that they have anything to teach in intolerable. They’re functionaries that maintain a facility and do ceremonies. And the sooner they recognize that the sooner the flight from organized religion may slow down.

    We lay people aren’t interested in what you clergy have to say—you are trained moneys we hire to do the pujas. Give us what we want and we might hang around—and pay in.

  • Of course he is saying nothing of the sort. Some theists have morals, some atheists have morals. Religion doesn’t mean you have morals, not having religion doesn’t mean you don’t have morals, all religion does is reassure you that you have morals, no matter what moral atrocities you may be committing.

    In your case, it’s your get out of hell free card.

  • Ben, I appreciate your comment. I don’t think I’ve said anything here that wouldn’t also apply to the gay and lesbian community.

    Perhaps that smaller community within the church needs to be a bit more assertive in claiming their part in the larger church community by having their weddings in their churches. I believe they would be welcomed in all but the anti-gay evangelical churches. Gays and lesbians.who want to stay active in those denominations need to, again, be a little more assertive about reminding their congregations that, “Hey, we’re here and we’re not going anywhere. You might as well open up all the space and services to us, as full members of your spiritual community.”

  • Thank you. We’re 100% in agreement here.

    What I find interesting, however, is that when we do this, we hear it from conservative Christians that we should get out of “their“ churches, and find our own. At the same time, in the course of my business, I was at a great many weddings for same-sex couples in Presbyterian, Episcopal, Unitarian, UCLA, UCC, and a number of other churches. The churches that are “welcoming and affirming” are already performing these weddings. Personally, I don’t see why anybody stays in the church that doesn’t want them, unless you were so committed to that church that you were also committed to changing it.

  • Yes, you can still have morals and yet be unsaved, yet be following the devil. Atheism, for example.

  • Nothing like circular thinking. Ya’ll use that with the Bible all the time as well.

  • Because we all have a sin nature. We’re all still capable of willfully bucking our own built-in moral consciences. So whatever influences we can get to stay moral, is a good thing. God (NOT atheism) uses people to help out. Like this little boy in 2014:

    … And it came to pass, that the child-kidnapper selected his victim, a small black boy. Lure him, snatch him, drive off, then act out all his fantasies upon the little boy. Dispose of him far away.

    The plan worked perfect, the little black boy was snatched, put into the back seat. Done deal.

    And then, sitting alone in the back seat, the boy sang a stupid worthless song the church lady taught him. “Every Praise” by Hezekiah Walker.

    And then the clever, meticulous, successful child-kidnapper broke like glass, stopped his car, and simply let the black boy out, to be found by good adults and police. Moral conscience, it would seem.

  • Not surprised by the self serving and wildly naive commentary by Mr. Lupifer. But there are factors being ignored for obvious reasons.

    1) Interfaith marriages are far more common now than a generation or two ago. Which brings up…

    2) Many churches are becoming increasingly shrill and exclusionary. Avoiding interfaith marriage or demanding one spouse convert as a precondition to the ceremony.

    3) Churches can’t no rely on peer pressure and exclusivity in a community to get rears in the pews like they used to.

    4) In their efforts to coerce people into following church dogma, they are increasingly alienating themselves from the public.

    5) Reason #2 makes church weddings more of a hassle for couples in terms of planning.

  • Actually given the frequent malicious, dishonest or uneducated posts you make in support of your faith, you make a compelling argument to disregard it.

    Nobody needs religion to tell them what is and is not moral. Religion has been poor at explaining or defining morals. All manner of evil gets a pass when you claim its God’s will.

    If you needed God to be moral, it tells me you have zero connection to other people. It means you are a barely restrained sociopath.

  • The churches that are “welcoming and affirming” are already performing these weddings and losing members hand over fist.

  • Actually given the frequent malicious dishonest uneducated posts you make against people’s faiths, you make a compelling argument to join a religion.

  • My point is that “theists” aren’t any more likely to show “moral” behavior than anyone else. People who are atheist also do a lot of good in this world. That said, if you are a theist who brays loudly about how “moral” you are, then engages in such atrocities, small and large… This would render one a particularly nefarious hypocrite. That has been the Church’s history: WE are the chosen. WE are morally superior. WE have God’s ear. Then a host of immoral atrocities follow. Don’t think that the rest of the planet doesn’t see that.

  • Exactly the same thing can be obtained from an ocean-view wedding, mountain-top or natural setting.

  • Actually, it does. The notion that morality requires a divine lawgiver is a fairly recent conceit. Quite obviously, moral and ethical behavior can be found in people with zero religious context whatsoever, proving that the two are related only coincidentally.

    Morality comes from a combination of evolved instinct, compassion, and reason. Some choose to drag in religion and have it take credit for all their choices, i.e., “I’m only doing what God commands!” Ironically, this makes them LESS moral than nonbelievers, since they’re motivated solely by rewards and punishment rather than conscience.

    No, morality has never required gods; this was conclusively proved as far back as Ancient Greece.

  • Indeed, this is a welcome and encouraging trend. Civil marriage is the real deal; having a (nonbinding) church ceremony is becoming rightly viewed as optional window-dressing, no more important than the choice of side dish with a meal.

  • Many have told me why Mormons and other conservative religious young people get married so early — due to rules about no pre-marital sex…they are horny as hell and can’t wait to hop in the sack !!

    But alas, getting married at about 21 is going to lead to a bad marriage in most cases…Lupfer is an apparent example.

    I am very glad both myself and my wife were married in our thirties as very non-virgins. Actually, recommending to our kids against ever getting married as a virgin.

  • My “echo chamber” is not in your fantasyland. I don’t expect or desire to be saved or go there.

  • But I will cut him a break because…you realize that Lupfer is also bound for eternal damnation for his divorce.

    You aren’t forgetting the big ‘L” are you? Leviticus shows no quarter !!

  • Because if it is not Leviticus…it frankly is for snowflake Christians…only fire-and-brimstone will due here !!
    /s

  • You are still ducking the obvious, Brian. Why do “zero religious context” people still exhibit some morals and ethics? Why does a crooked child-kidnapper successfully execute his plan, only to suddenly abandon it upon hearing his little-boy victim sing an irrelevant gospel song?

    You already know why. Romans 2:14-15. God Himself has written a moral conscience into human hearts. And you know what that means. You have a moral conscience within you, whether you are following it or bucking it. Therefore YOU are a living disproof of atheism.

    Imagine that. You are **already** preaching that God exists.

  • I’ve already explained why. Because morality is part instinct and emotion. No god is needed. And in most cases, gods are an active hindrance to developing moral sensibility.

  • When I was in confirmation class the pastor stated that marriage was a commitment between two people in the sight of God. It was his answer in the 1960’s to the old question “What if you were on an island and there was no pastor around?” I like a church wedding, but it can be just as Christian and meaningful in the right setting with nature all around and a ceremony conducted by a trained ordained clergy member.

    It is not the building where the ceremony takes place but rather how the ceremony is conducted and by whom.

  • Except sin is entirely an arbitrary notion from religion to religion. What is considered sinful and what is immoral are not synonymous by any stretch of the imagination.

    “Moral conscience, it would seem.”

    Or lack of interest thereafter.

  • Of course what is unstated is that marriages at early ages have a higher rate of divorce than those who had relations/cohabitation later in life.

  • With far less hassle from the officiate or venue.

    Of course the spiel also assumes the couple are of the same faith and sect as well. Something which cannot be assumed as the norm these days. In many cases sectarian shrill attitudes tend to turn parents away from raising children in one faith or another where there is a mixed-faith couple.

  • That is the most reductively insulting view of marriage ever. Way to attack the sanctity and respect belonging to the institution.

    I bet you are single! 🙂

  • Don’t think you would understand substance…But I’m sure you’re up to speed on how Leviticus will doom us all !!

  • I am actually surprised you can spell “substance”, but then you had my comment to cut and paste it from.

  • Churches are not ‘public facilities’. They are private property. Nor are clergy (unlike civil marriage commissioners and registrars) public officials. They are religious leaders only.

    In civil society today, marriage is essentially a private contract of limited duration. I know of no church that embraces this model of marriage. Couples who do should have the honesty to marry civilly. (I acknowledge that family pressures often play a part in these decisions.)

    To make these distinctions clear, the time has come to uncouple civil from religious marriage altogether, as many European countries have done for over a century (France, since the Revolution). A wedding in a place of worship would then become a purely religious ceremony in which the state and its agencies would have no legal interest or jurisdiction.

  • You should’ve followed up with what Brian Curtis is now asking me, “Saved from what, exactly?” Then, see, I would’ve clarified. Like this:

    What’s the point if your “faith … in [your] wife’s love” has no power to save either of you and whoever else is in your “echo chamber” from:

    World War 3
    Conspiracies
    Foreclosures
    Suicide
    Secular bigotry
    Crime
    Mental and physical illnesses
    Death
    Poverty
    Hate
    Porn addiction & infidelity

  • World War 3
    Conspiracies
    Foreclosures
    Suicide
    Secular bigotry
    Crime
    Mental and physical illnesses
    Death
    Poverty
    Hate
    Porn addiction & infidelity

  • They already are uncoupled, as you note. It is the religious side that is insisting that they are one and the same.

  • In the United States the civil and religious are coupled by law.

    If a religious ceremony is accomplished, the religious practitioner completes the required government paperwork and the marriage is recorded by the state.

    So, it is not the religious “side” that insists they are one and the same.

  • Google “Youth Pastor News”. Just that. And see what comes up.

    Who would want to be married by a child molester? Wow. That’s no way to start a marriage.

    Clean up the hate, the fraud and the abuse in your own house first. Until then, face facts. People don’t want what you’ve got.

  • BobbyJo, you generally don’t present facts, so you’d have no experience in that matter.

  • “Actually given the frequent malicious dishonest uneducated posts you make”

    Now that there is pure irony and hypocrisy from “Bob Arnzen”.

  • And sanctioned by your religion, Shawnie. Now go drink your dead zombie’s blood…

  • “Read bilge, act bilge.” -BobbyJo “Arnzen” describing his life rather precisely.

  • And there we have yet another personal attack from our local hypocrite BobbyJo Arnzen-Carioca. BobbyJo, you’re simply a jerk.

  • And there we have yet another personal attack from typical Christian “Bob Arnzen”.

  • No, Damien is correct. The US is leaving the Christian superstitions behind generally. It’s merely a matter of time now. Other western countries are much further ahead.

  • The wedding business is lucrative and running weddings would fund churches which are now dying. An effect, and cause, of the death of the church is the end of culture-religion, churches understood as public facilities for members of the community, no commitment required, no questions asked—like libraries, supermarkets, and the post office. Church use shouldn’t require commitment because when it does churches die and aren’t available for anyone. The church is not, as we’re endlessly told, people. It is buildings. Facilities that provide various goods and services, including weddings and other rites of passage. It matters that fewer people are being married in churches because it means less money coming in making it harder for churches to maintain their facilities.

  • So you would force clergy to solemnize marriages that are contrary to church teachings (and, in the case of the Catholic Church, canon law)?

  • Declaring it doesn’t make it true. Science has already determined the origins of morality, and it has no connection to any gods. You might as well declare “You have functioning kidneys, so that proves God exists!” It’s the same argument, and it’s just as unsupported.

  • Bob, I think you need to check the statistics before you make such a statement.

    In Canada, 67.3% of the people declared that they were Christian in the 2011 Census. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/91-003-x/2014001/section03/33-eng.htm

    In Australia, 52% of the population declared that they were Christian in the 2016 Census. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/[email protected]/mediareleasesbyReleaseDate/7E65A144540551D7CA258148000E2B85

    In New Zealand, 48.9% of the population declared that they were Christian in the 2013 Census http://archive.stats.govt.nz/Census/2013-census/profile-and-summary-reports/quickstats-culture-identity/religion.aspx

    In South Africa, one survey in 2013 found that 82.4% of the population declared that they were Christian. http://www.scielo.org.za/pdf/hts/v73n2/01.pdf page 3

    In the UK, In the United Kingdom, 59.3% of the people declared that they were Christian. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/culturalidentity/religion/articles/religioninenglandandwales2011/2012-12-11

    In Nigeria, a Pew survey stated that 49.3% of the people stated that they were Christian and 48.8% said they were Muslims. http://www.globalreligiousfutures.org/countries/nigeria#/?affiliations_religion_id=0&affiliations_year=2010&region_name=All%20Countries&restrictions_year=2015

    The Commonwealth comprises a great variety of countries with quite different religious beliefs including Islam (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia etc. Hinduism (India, Sri Lanka) and traditionally Christian countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Therefore a declaration that the Commonwealth is mostly Post-Christian is not really in touch with the reality of this multi-national organisation.

    Of all the countries listed above the one with the least religiosity appears to be New Zealand, but even then it was only just below half. Of course, religious belief as been declining in a number of countries but I think it’s a bit soon to celebrate or mourn the demise of religion in general or Christianity in particular.

  • You may wish to add the percentages actually attending church.

    I should have made clear that my reference was to the former English-speaking British (white) Commonwealth, not the current

    Commonwealth of Nations, which includes countries such as Mozambique which have zero historical ties to the British Empire.

    Of course an argument could made that this could be better described as the slow demise of the Anglican Communion into a post-Christian mode led by the Episcopal churches of Scotland and the USA, with which I would have little argument.

  • Wait, what? “Google “Youth Pastor News”. … And see … Who would want to be married by a child molester?”

    But none pops us reporting people “married by a child molester” – none!

    All the Google Search is telling me is how:

    (1) “Timberlea church ‘saddened’ by child porn charges on youth pastor”

    (2) “Assault trial postponed for former youth pastor”

    (3) “Lawsuits Claim Abuse By Youth Pastor”

    (4) “Sex assault trial continues for Canton youth pastor”

    (5) “Florida mom traced nude photos on son’s phone to jailed youth pastor”

    (6) “Deep Thoughts: Youth pastor re-sentenced”

    I’m overwhelmingly concerned now: Are you OK?

  • I wouldn’t. I am opposed to that, becuase that actually is about religious freedom, not imaginary religious freedom by baking or not baking a cake.

  • Nope. If churches don’t want to marry gay couples, or bakeries don’t want to do cakes for them that’s fine with me. My only objection is to the claim that being male or female is theologically significant. One can consistently hold that there is no theological significance to being male or female apart form the fact that when it comes to marriage it must involve one of each. Without any commitment to who plays what role.

  • I keep coming back to this article. It finally dawned on me why. Married and divorced Mr. Lupfer, lecturing everyone else about the sacredness of marriage. How very christian of him.

    Married at 21, then divorced? Was it for any reason but adultery? And whose? Since marriage is sacred, and must require a church, was he married in a church? did he meet the Pauline exception? did he go to a council of elders from his church and get their permission in a special dispensation if and since he or his former wife didn’t commit adultery— or did— or weren’t of the same Christian faith? Did he get that extra special clergy based counseling that would have made his marriage perfect? did Jesus forgive him his trespassses, because Jesus always does? Did he make all of those promises to god and to his spouse? did he read his bible? Did he get remarried, if it wasn’t all for adultery?

    I could keep going with these kinds of questions all day. But here’s the issue. lupfer talks a good game, but it all rings hollow. he will of course claim that his Christianity shields him, just like Jesus always forgives. “I made a mistake, but Jesus has forgiven me, or I have convinced myself that he has. But here is what all of you should do, and I’ll make sure you know it.”

    Apropos of this, TOMORROW is the 38th anniversary of the date that uber-Christian and arch-homohater Anita Bryant filed for divorce from her husband Bob. It was not because of adultery, either his or hers, which was the only reason that divorce was not sinful, according to Jesus. He was god, and he should know. It was because, according to Bryant’s statement, which the AP reported she released “from her 25-room Miami Beach home” (Who said, ” It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich woman to enter the kingdom of heaven?” No one important.)……….

    Anyway, she charged that Good Ol’ Bob cooperated “with certain hired staff members who conspired to control me and to use my name and reputation to build their personal careers instead of my ministry.” Her statement brought to a close their twenty year marriage. She even went so far as to claim that her divorce was “against everything I believe in.”

    Well, almost everything. But convenience is a harsh mistress.

    For those who think that I am just an anti-Christian “homosexual”, perverted by my perverted perversions of perverted lust,. No, I’m not. I just wish you would all attend to your own sins, rather than trying to find excuses for them, and stop attacking my life, my love, my family, my friends, my faith, and my children…

    …under the guise of loving me. Because I find your attacks completely indistinguishable from hate, and your moralizing completely indistinguishable from hypocrisy. As in “Scribes! Pharisees! Hypocrites!”

    And again, who said that? No one important.

    I’m sorry if his sounds like a personal attack, Mr. Lupfer. It’s not really, it just my reactito one more instance of people who think it is their moral duty to inform everyone else of their moral failings, and use a bunch of fairly specious reasoning and unstated assumptions to prove it. This is what theabortion fight is about, what the gay marriage fight is about, what the gay adoption fight is about, what the masturbake case was about, what the Patterson controversy is about, what the endless attacks on evolution and science, birth control and family planning, planned parenthood are about. It’s even what Jabba the Trump defiling the office of President is about.

    You have declared war on people who want to live their lives without you presumption and ass-umption of moral superiority being injected into it. And then you are all butt hurt because they fight back! I won’t be standing down, not now, not ever, not until you pry my wedding ring and my husband from my cold dead hands.

    And for one special commentator here, a legend in his or her own mind, you may well succeed some day, and be able to declare your victory. But it will NEVER end The war. The only way this war will ever end is when you decide to back off, live your own faith, keep its visions of hell out of the lives of people who aren’t interested in it, and focus on your own damn families and your own genitalia, instead of mine, or people who want to plan their own families and their own lives.

  • There’s is as vast difference in a religious wedding and getting married in a church. The past 6-7 weddings I’ve attended were strong Christian weddings but they were held at venues that more easily accommodated the ceremony and reception. So is this article about religious weddings or getting married in a church? Because those are two separate issues..

  • The entire point of the article was to demean secular marriages. So there’s no reason to act surprised by it. It wasn’t hidden. It’s literally in the headline.

  • Thank you very much for that. I know you mean it. We don’t always agree, but I think we understand and respect each other.

  • 1000% I mean it.
    1000% we don’t always agree.
    1001% I respect and feel respected in those differences.

    Thank you.

  • As a group, pastors obviously are not the most moral of folks. Individuals may or may not be okay.

    I don’t care what my kids believe. I don’t care if their friends are christian.

    But my kids are not allowed to be alone with priests / preachers. Ever.

    There is no way I would invite a member of that club to participate in a wedding.

  • Everyone else makes mistakes, so your mistakes should be endorsed?

    Your hatred of everything and everyone with religious beliefs is the very reason why your position will destroy itself.

  • The only safety from the dangers of life is ourselves. Many of your suggested items would require us to create a just and compassionate society.

    There is no way to avoid death. We can either learn to accept reality, or pretend to know what we don’t know. That is faith in an afterlife and an imaginary god that will protect us.

  • Got it. So your “faith … in [your] wife’s love” has no power to save either of you and whoever else is in your “echo chamber” – except to make you et al – TADA – “learn to accept reality”!

    Which means all atheist non-gay men and lesbians are having such a hard time “accept[ing] reality” that they best just, y’know, place & center their “faith … in [their respective] wife’s love”!

    YUP that should work, innit?

  • Faith is when you pretend to know what you don’t. It won’t save anyone from anything/-, To secure safety from most of the things that you listed we must take action either by ourselves or with others.

    You seem to hope for a savior. Sorry. You have to deal with life yourself. .

  • My point, exactly. Which is: that ain’t faith. That faith doesn’t work like that. And that no atheist will ever get it (pun, coincidental & intentional). You have no idea. And never will.

  • “And since when is marriage divine?”

    As far as most faithful Christians are concerned, forever.

  • Couples get married in places that matter to them. If they are not getting married in a church, it is because church is not important to them.

  • No, to enlighten those who are lost in the fraud that is religion. Do you actually believe two gods sitting on two heavenly thrones is monotheism? Just as soon as christianity pulls its adherents out of politics (In what verse did Jesus command his followers to be active in politics?) you’ll never see my comments on these sites again.

  • Yes, that is indeed rudeness. Thank you for confirming.

    By the way, atheists have never been able to prove an absence of God either. Two sides of the same coin.

  • Poor confused homosexual Paul, the inventor of christian mythology. He never met Jesus but claimed that christianity was also for gentiles although Jesus expressed denied he came for gentiles in Matthew 10:5-6 and 15:24. Since you cite Romans, I’ll cite 1:27 in which Paul claims he lusts after men.

  • Oh great and unmerciful god, sending millions of poor nuns to hell for eternity (fortunately, it doesn’t exist) because 1 Timothy 2:15 claims, “Salvation for a woman will be in bearing children…”

  • I especially enjoy Judges 11:30-39 in the Buybull since god appears to condone the human burnt offering sacrifice of Jephthah’s only daughter in fulfillment of Jephthah’s vow for a military victory while subsequently preventing Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Isaac. The lesson to be learned is to always sacrifice one of your daughters instead of a son.

  • Being saved is irrelevant since Jesus supposed died on the cross for the sins of the world. He died for all my sins committed yesterday, today, and tomorrow. So, it’s an immoral life of debauchery and crime for me with no looking back. Praise god, I’m headed to heaven.

  • Quoting Pauline fiction is lame and proves nothing. And you can’t quote Jesus because he never claimed to be be divine and didn’t offer salvation to gentiles. What a conundrum.

  • Though perhaps not entirely significant a reason for the decrease of church weddings especially among Evangelical Christians is the fact that who wants to get married in one of these Evangelical auditoriums. What couple, for instance, would want to be married in Joel Osteen’s megaplex? I think there are a great many who would prefer a traditional church atmosphere but pastors and priests of those churches often will not marry couples who are not members of those respective churches. Or such a church is just booked for weddings and so they opt for destination weddings or places in the country, etc.

  • Sorry to say, I am confused by why a religious wedding has better results since you write about your first wedding “My first marriage as a 21-year-old virgin was a traditional religious wedding, though held outdoors”. But your second wedding seems to be going OK even though not religious in a serious sense. If your first religious wedding failed and your secular one is going strong… isn’t that a plug for secular?

  • Wow, you hold Damien in high regard but yourself to even higher. /s I bet spell check helped you with it.

  • I doubt it, I bet Ben is comfortable in Oakland. I appreciate that he has been hated by all major religions and is tired of it (as am I, though I’m not gay). We all make mistakes but sins require a god to piss off. I have none, I suspect Ben doesn’t either.

  • I can only DREAM of being from PS101. I’m from the back country in the thumb of michigan where my family ran the KKK in the 1920’s. I have never been to the Bronx but Manhattan is really nice (love the Row NYC on 43rd and 8th). What part of Alabama you from?

  • God was a really crappy creator then. He let his favorite creation die without adequate reason to understand him. Kind of like me burning the ants in my ant farm with a magnifying glass for not worshiping me. (Actually worse, since my ants just die and god burns me FOREVER). So just.

  • Personally, Porn addiction isn’t so bad since I have it well in hand. Foreclosures and infidelity I should have some control over. The rest are too dependent on others. I bet you of all those, the porn, infidelity,bigotry, hate and death (we have all been affected by that), are the only ones you personally have been involved with. (I’ve been involved with infidelity due to my mom btw).

  • My sister lived with her boyfriend for 10 years. The country radio DJ in Saginaw said “Sue and Bill are finally going to stop living in sin” on the radio. Sue was horrified but now, 34 year later, kind of funny.

  • I’m always learning something new here at St. RNS. So kindly cite for me chapter & verse where, like you said, God throws dice in the game of craps.

  • Where did I say God plays craps? I said he was a crappy creator if his creation doesn’t have adequate evidence of his even existing, let alone being worth worshiping. Please let me know where you got the game of craps in that. As an aside, If God played a game of chance, how could you tell he wasn’t cheating.

  • Focus, LandRover, focus on how your “faith … in [your] wife’s love” overcomes these things.

  • No worries, my wife and I are fine (for 34 years). Faith is belief without evidence. I use faith for very few if any things. My beliefs come in 3 flavors, Not important if true or untrue (which is the best chocolate vs vanilla ice cream), Moderately important/intesting: A statement that falls within norms or one I doubt (I can run a 8 minute mile vs. a 3 minute mile), Or important and requiring evidence “Follow my god or burn in hell forever for your “sins””.

    p.s. I won’t get into my wife’s medical conditions.

  • I can believe your family ran the KKK.

    In fact, I would believe you if you told me you were in the KKK.

    You’re certainly not in Mensa.

  • I can believe you have no deity.

    You have opinions and you’re the center of your universe.

  • Funny thing, I am in Mensa and I can’t be in the KKK, I’m not a Trump supporter. Out.

  • i guess delusional christians will always be delusional, desperate to believe in a god who, based on all the evidence, doesn’t exist.

  • It appears that the “Church of What’s Happening Now” doesn’t hold a great deal of appeal.

  • For several years now, Lebanese citizens have to travel outside of the country in order to marry individuals who do not share their same religious beliefs. However, according to Marwan Karkabi, a judge from the Justice Ministry’s Higher Committee for Consultations, civil marriage is actually granted under the Constitution of Lebanon. Lebanese citizens have the freedom of opinion, thus, they have the freedom “to marry freely according to their beliefs” (http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2014/Jan-10/243642-civil-marriage-is-legal-in-lebanon-experts.ashx). An overwhelming amount of people are being raised without religious influence which contributes to the declining numbers of people marrying in churches. This is mostly due to the fact that religion is not as valued as it used to be and individuals would rather take the secular route. (https://religionnews.com/2018/06/07/fewer-couples-are-marrying-in-churches-does-is-matter/).

  • Civil marriage should be legalized due to the fact that the Constitution of Lebanon allows for the pursuit of happiness. Civil marriage does not make an individual immoral or kufar. Lebanon needs to focus on its growth as a nation and this is one of the steps that it should take for the sake of its citizens.
    The legalization of civil marriage will be a huge step for Lebanon. Instead of Lebanese citizens resolving to leave the country to get married, Lebanon will attract couples from nearby countries to get married there. Although there is a religious aspect to marriage, it is not forbidden to get married in front of the State especially since the times have become more secular.

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