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Home » CHFWeb Forum » HotTopics » Protection or fear
Protection or fear [message #818492] Sun, 09 October 2016 16:23 Go to next message
Rosemary-MI  is currently offline Rosemary-MI
Messages: 1314
Registered: April 2005
Location: Lower mid Michigan
Senior Member
My church is considering changing their by-laws to say that the pastor will no longer perform civil marriages but just religious ceremonies. The people wanting to get married there will have to be members, obtain a marriage certificate and have a civil marriage performed so that the license is already signed before the church ceremony.

They say it's because they do not want to be forced to perform marriages that do not follow biblical teachings. I perceive it as being afraid of a law suit.

Does this make since and how do you perceive this?

~Rosemary (who is looking for other points of view)


I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!
Re: Protection or fear [message #818498 is a reply to message #818492 ] Sun, 09 October 2016 23:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tracy in Peru  is currently offline Tracy in Peru
Messages: 7973
Registered: April 2005
Location: Trujillo, Peru
Senior Member
Avoiding a lawsuit would be one thing, but also too, pressure can't be brought on the pastor to perform ceremonies he is not comfortable with.

It is a very hard thing to turn down any couple that wants a "church wedding". Even if the couple hasn't attended church, they feel a draw to the church at that time for whatever reason, and it is a difficult thing for a pastor to rain on their parade. If the couple is already married and they want to celebrate with an additional religious ceremony, there is no matter of conscience for the pastor.

Separating the two gets the church out of its hand/glove situation it is in with the government. Voluntarily surrendering the right to legally marry someone to focus on the spiritual aspects is a forward thinking move given today's climate.

It would be nice if the government was not involved in marriage, but they are. Making weddings a "religious ceremony only" is sort of a way of taking a stand and can make it more meaningful.

I don't know about everywhere, but in South America and several European countries I know of, the two aspects are already separated.


In Him--Tracy
Re: Protection or fear [message #818500 is a reply to message #818492 ] Mon, 10 October 2016 09:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 14917
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
Senior Member

Most wedding ceremonies end with something along the lines of, "By the power vested in me by the state of ___, I pronounce Bob and Sue husband and wife."

Your pastor is voluntarily giving up that power which rightfully belongs to the state, and sticking with only what is vested in him by God. I sort of like that.

I'd enjoy exploring the concept further by considering the stipulation that the couple already by married civilly. What if the pastor didn't concern himself at all with whether the couple is civilly married? What if a couple objects to the state being involved in marriage and wants to have a biblical wedding where they fully commit to the biblical concept of marriage, but choose not to involve the state at all. Can a couple be married in the eyes of God and the church, but not be legally married? What if the pastor/church married church members in a religious ceremony with no regard for a connection with civil ceremonies?


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: Protection or fear [message #818502 is a reply to message #818492 ] Mon, 10 October 2016 09:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Leigh  is currently offline Leigh
Messages: 4572
Registered: April 2005
Location: Tennessee
Senior Member
In a lot of places, I believe the custom is to have both a civil ceremony and a religious ceremony.

This day and time the government is going to get its poud of flesh, and marriage is one way to ensure the disposition of property and the custody of minor children in the case of death and divorce. Without the requisite paperwork, a surviving spouse would have problems laying claim to Social Security and marital assets.

In the nation of Israel, a marriage was primarily a legal contract surrounding dowry, inheritance, and conjugal rights. There was paperwork, signed by fathers, in the presence of scribes/priests. The betrothal was a legal ceremony. That's why the Bible says Joseph considered putting Mary away privately. It was the equivalent of divorce. He had money invested as part of the contract to marry her.

If we had a government that was less interested in our financial assets, I would have no problem with religious ceremonies on their own. Unfortunately, that's not what we have. Back in the day, church records were considered official records. In fact, in the genealogical world, they are considered proof.

Along that line, I don't think a minister or magistrate marries anyone. When a man and a woman exchange vows in the presence of witnesses, they marry each other, so I think ministers should stop saying that part about having power conferred by the state. Really, the state and the church can merely declare a couple married.

[Updated on: Mon, 10 October 2016 09:37]


Leigh
Tennessee

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

~~Benjamin Franklin

Re: Protection or fear [message #818503 is a reply to message #818492 ] Mon, 10 October 2016 10:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Rosemary-MI  is currently offline Rosemary-MI
Messages: 1314
Registered: April 2005
Location: Lower mid Michigan
Senior Member
We have discovered that you cannot have just a church marriage because that is a misdemeanor. That came about because older people wanted to remarry but did not want to give up S.S. payments. So they would forgo the civil marriage and just have a church one performed. That way they could each keep their payments as they were and still be considered married.

The marriage license as we know it didn't come into existence until after the Civil War (to get men to take care of families they started) and didn't become standard practice in all the states until after 1900 (to stop interracial marriages) , becoming firmly established by 1920. In effect, the states or governments appropriated or usurped control of marriages in secular form and in the process declared Common Law applicable to marriages "abrogated." It became a legal business contract between two people allowing them to be named as co-owners of loans, debt etc.

It's a fascinating topic to research and to see where it all started.

~Rosemary


I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!
Re: Protection or fear [message #818506 is a reply to message #818503 ] Mon, 10 October 2016 14:59 Go to previous message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 14917
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
Senior Member

Interesting about the misdemeanor. I was not aware of that.

Leigh, I wouldn't forego the civil part for myself because of exactly what you said.


Blessings,
Lisa R.
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