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1
mmmirele  Oct 21, 2017 • 10:03:03am

“Rigorous theological training” is going to eliminate a lot of preachers from Independent Baptist and Pentecostal churches, many of whom do not have college degrees. It’s also going to be a smack in the face to Mormons, who have a lay ministry. The bishop of the local congregation could be an accountant!

2
Anymouse 🌹  Oct 21, 2017 • 10:11:01am

re: #1 mmmirele

“Rigorous theological training” is going to eliminate a lot of preachers from Independent Baptist and Pentecostal churches, many of whom do not have college degrees. It’s also going to be a smack in the face to Mormons, who have a lay ministry. The bishop of the local congregation could be an accountant!

Yup. She essentially argues for the state to regulate religious credentials. In that instant, the Separation of Church and State is gone.

That separation not only protects religious groups from the depredations of state power, it also protects them from the depredations of each other.

If a church sect can gain the levers of power in government and that wall of separation is gone, that church can dictate the religious requirements of every other religious group.

3
mmmirele  Oct 21, 2017 • 10:14:06am

This is what I posted:

I’m not sure what the point of this article is. Is it to bash wedding officiants who don’t have the credentials Ms. Wernke thinks they should have? Is Ms. Wernke suggesting that only people with the proper education and credentials can officiate at weddings? Is it suggesting that properly educated and credentialed wedding officiants will somehow screen marriages properly to make sure the unready don’t get married? What is it?

I’d just point out that many ministers do not have college degrees or the advanced M.Div, but they lead churches. Moreover, this idea that a minister should have some sort of educational credentials would cause problems for churches like the Mormon church, where the local bishop is a lay leader, can perform marriages, but might also be your local accountant or plumber.

Also, having an educated, “appropriately” credential minister perform your marriage is in no way an indication that the marriage is legally valid. I offer up my parents’ experience as an example. They got married in 1959, or at least they thought they did. They had a white wedding, newspaper announcement, reception, the whole works. It turned out the minister died the next week and did not file their marriage license. My parents lived in a state where common law marriage was not recognized, so they were effectively not legally married until 13 years later when they moved to Texas, which recognizes common law marriage. When I was 36, my parents went down to the courthouse and got a “certificate of informal partnership,” recognizing they had been married since 1959. They continued to be married until my father passed away three years ago. Now, tell me: that credentialed, educated minister failed to file their paperwork, but my parents thought they were married and acted like they were married, even though, legally, they were not. Just because ministers have the education and the credential doesn’t mean they’ll do everything right.

4
Anymouse 🌹  Oct 21, 2017 • 11:07:58am

(deleted)

5
Anymouse 🌹  Oct 21, 2017 • 11:14:09am

My wife’s original letter to the author (shortened for the letters column of the newspaper):

Getting married is easy in Nebraska. It’s more difficult than in some states and easier than in others. Nebraska’s age 19 without permission of parent, guardian, or judge is quite high. Blood tests no longer exist in most states, as they have been shown to be ineffective at reducing the rates of STD transmission.

Despite the ease of getting married, the divorce rate has been declining steadily since 1981 at 5.3 divorces per 1000 to 4.7 in 1990, falling further to 3.6 in 2011 nationwide. That includes Nebraska. The reasons for the divorce rate declining is a combination of the age of marriage having increased, the reasons for marriage more often being straight-out love than someone looking for a good homemaker or good breadwinner. Society has changed as well, with many people living together before or without getting married, so an ill-fated match ends in a breakup rather than a divorce.

A wedding is one day in a couple’s life. Even if they have gone through extensive premarital counseling with the priest or minister, the day-to-day problems and resolutions are done by the couple themselves, seldom having any interaction with their religion - much less the theological training of whoever performed the ceremony. In Colorado, no officiant is required for a marriage - only two adult witnesses. Their divorce rate has not skyrocketed, although lax laws regarding officiants of weddings have always been on their books.

Living in an environment with a great deal of religious overtones may bode ill for a lasting marriage. The National Review, in their July 16, 2014 article “A Little Religion Is Terrible for Marriage: Here’s Why” gives statistics for all US counties, illustrating that the highest divorce rates are in the southern US, in what’s known as “The Bible Belt.” The lowest divorce rates in the northeastern US and northern plains states - including much of Nebraska. They point out that living in an environment that fosters conservative Christian beliefs without living that way themselves, is singularly bad for marriage - or long-term friendships.

Marriages that last decades may or may not be happy marriages. Those who are now elderly and in generations past may have e stayed married because the wife had no money nor job skills with which she could support herself. Many are good marriages, and some of those were entered into by young teenagers who would be barred from marrying in any state in 2017.

What mattered in those long-term marriages was how well their values agreed and continued to agree, how good either or both of them were at negotiating, following their agreements, and forgiving each other when agreements or expectations were not met. Never did it come up what the theological training was of the person who performed their wedding. The words of a ceremony are similar whether the officiant has seminary training, got their ministerial credentials from a mail-order house that preceded the Internet, or a clerk or judge with no theological training. It takes two people to make a marriage - and one to break it. The one to break it is seldom an untrained officiant and the officiant is not the two people who make it.

6
calochortus  Oct 21, 2017 • 7:41:15pm

Nothing like the search for simple solutions to complex issues.

My atheist parents were married by a justice of the peace in Reno. They remained married until Dad died.

My atheist husband and I were married in a church (made my mother-in-law happy and we had to get married somewhere.) We’re still married after 40 years.

My husband’s devoutly religious parents were married in a church and remained married until my mother-in-law died.

My atheist daughter and son-in-law were married by neighbor with a genuine certificate of ordination from Universal Life Church. Their marriage seems fine.
Son-in-law’s parents aren’t religious and have been married about as long as we have.

And so on. Stable families tend to produce other stable families, with or without religion, much less a church wedding.
Anyone can have something go wrong in a relationship. Divorce isn’t evil. Stable, happy relationships are a wonderful thing, but they are not created by the person who performs the ceremony.

7
dangerman  Oct 22, 2017 • 6:37:04am

silly from the start.

unless im mistaken, nebraska doesnt require a religious ceremony ;-)

so:
Premise 3.5: State law permits non-religious judges, retired judges and clerk magistrates to perform marriage ceremonies.

what’s theological training got to do with it? nothing.

and as an aside, in some states, not nebraska, you can be married by a notary

8
calochortus  Oct 22, 2017 • 8:51:17am

re: #7 dangerman

silly from the start.

unless im mistaken, nebraska doesnt require a religious ceremony ;-)

so:
Premise 3.5: State law permits non-religious judges, retired judges and clerk magistrates to perform marriage ceremonies.

what’s theological training got to do with it? nothing.

and as an aside, in some states, not nebraska, you can be married by a notary

In California anyone can get a license to perform a marriage on a given day.
You could have your dog walker, your real estate agent or anyone at all perform your ceremony for you.

9
Jay C  Oct 23, 2017 • 11:15:07am

Leaving aside the creeping-theocracy aspects of this inane proposal (not to mention what to my untutored eye is its serious unconstitutionality), its fundamental inconsistency is pretty glaring. If “high” divorce rates are a Bad Thing in and of themselves (which point this lady is perfectly free to advocate), what difference does it make WHO performs/performed the actual ceremony? Marriages are going to succeed or fail on the characters, personalities and psychologies of the individuals in them: whether or not the actual ceremony was done by a robed Archbishop in a massive cathedral, or in a public park by one of the couples’ friends who got his Internet “ordination” online that morning ought to be (especially from a legal standpoint) irrelevant.

It would be interesting to see what sort of responses Ms. Wernke gets.

10
Quoth the raven, Covfefe.  Oct 23, 2017 • 3:28:35pm

I would love to see the so-called “proof” for the fourth premise listed. The religious credentials or lack thereof of the officiant have nothing to do with the long-term health of the marriage whatsoever. How could it?

11
calochortus  Oct 23, 2017 • 6:46:39pm

re: #10 Quoth the raven, Covfefe.

I wonder if she thinks that if only religious people would be able to get married? Or that the “unchurched” would be forced to hear a few sermons? And that people of faith have a lower divorce rate?

12
Anymouse 🌹  Oct 23, 2017 • 8:54:37pm

re: #11 calochortus

I wonder if she thinks that if only religious people would be able to get married? Or that the “unchurched” would be forced to hear a few sermons? And that people of faith have a lower divorce rate?

That wouldn’t surprise me. I have heard from Christians such arguments as:

a) Why would atheists want to get married, if marriage is ordained by God?
b) Marriage is a religious institution.


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