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Posted on 09/03/2015 10:03:37 AM PDT by GIdget2004
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Because God in His mercy gives us free will. It is perfectly possible to love Him and not belong to a church. And some people do not believe in Him but still should be able to marry each other.
And if they want their marriage blessed by God in the presence of Christ’s church no state mandate ought be required.
All I am saying is that the church has no obligation to the state for performing its rites.
Really lj, the wave against Trump is strong, and very grass roots oriented.
He is the False Prophet, after all! :o)
Do you get the feeling that lots of FReepers are in love with Government interference in their lives?
Bitter Clingers of a different sort.
I am increasingly beginning to believe we may be dealing with a core difference between the older laws of states settled by people from New England and the older laws of states which had a tradition prior to the Revolutionary War of the Church of England being primarily responsible for conducting marriages and maintaining marriage records.
Theology has consequences, and one of them in predominantly Reformed regions of Europe was that the civil government, not the church, was regarded as being responsible for recording and supervising marriage. That was a direct and deliberate response to the Roman Catholic view of marriage as a sacrament. While churches could and did hold “church weddings” with prayers for the couple getting married, the act of marriage was what happened in the courthouse, not the meetinghouse.
While that system of dual marriage ceremonies was the general practice in the Netherlands, Geneva, and the Reformed cantons of Switzerland, that isn't what happened in most of colonial America for a variety of reasons, both practical (i.e., huge distances to the closest courthouse on the frontier) and principial.
The common practice in modern America of ordained ministers serving as an agent of the government in solemnizing marriages isn't an innovation, though it certainly was helpful to circuit riding ministers on the frontier whose parishioners had no realistic way to get to a courthouse. On the contrary, it dates back to one of many compromises between more conservative Calvinists in the Church of England (the Puritan wing which eventually gave rise to Presbyterianism and Congregationalism) and the more traditional wing of the Church of England which won its ecclesiastical and political battles in the late 1600s to become what today would be considered Anglicanism.
Compromises aren't always bad. Saying that an ordained minister acted as an agent of the state in solemnizing marriages avoided unnecessary fights over whether a marriage was or was not legitimate. It's not unlike one of the common compromises in Ulster during the early days of Puritanism, when many of the Irish bishops were sympathetic to Puritanism, and talked some Presbyterian candidates for pastorates of Scottish settlements in Ulster into accepting episcopal ordination while serving Presbyterian churches which were for all practical purposes independent of the Anglican diocese. If the Presbyterians agreed the local bishop was a godly man and held the office of presbyter in his own church, though denying that he had superintendency over other churches, they had no valid grounds to refuse to allow him to be one of many ministers laying hands on a candidate for ordination. In that way the man who had received episcopal ordination prior to pastoring a Presbyterian church avoided a fight over whether he had the right to preach, to solemnize marriages, and to perform other roles as an ordained clergyman.
We can debate endlessly whether that compromise of clergy acting as agents of the state for the purpose of solemnizing marriages was or was not wise in the context of the 1600s. I think we can all concur that it's not going to work much longer in light of the Supreme Court decision this summer.
Not only has my family (both sides) researched our tree to the Richmond colony and beyond, to England, I have benefited from an extensive education with graduate degrees from 2 major universities in theology with emphasis on the church in the colonies and later in the US.
My background is Unitarian and Methodist although neither are acceptable to me now. I am independent, charismatic and conservative with no ties to any denomination.
I appreciate your erudition although your background is not mine. I remember pastors who performed weddings in churches with no state certification at all. Not in my time but as recently as the beginning of the 20th century there were pastors in my family history who did not consider themselves an agent of the state in any regard. They performed marriage based solely on the vows of the couple “in the sight of God and His members here gathered.”
We have always been a rural people with little regard for government authority. The single exception occured when George Washington commissioned the Foxwell militia of Cambridge, MD to stand in protection of DC during the revolution.This was a motley crew of patriots who had little respect for formal government but who, to a man, hated the British.
A hotly debated ancestral tradition held that Martha Washington, a widow before marrying George, had inherited substantial holdings from her late husband, an ancestor in my family tree.
Thus, the story goes, did George become the largest landowner in the colonies by virtue of acquiring by marriage one of the largest estates in my family. Rather than harboring hard feelings the family appears to have been enamored of this grafted limb of the family tree and sought to support George’s military objectives. There were posted marriage banns and formal certification of this marriage, although that was not the tradition in our rural area.
I am proposing a return to a more halcyon time when the auspices of the church were sufficient for the solemnizing of family celebrations - birth, baptism, communion, catechism, marriage, elder office, and death.
Surely the state has trampled these ancient traditions beyond recognition. The church, if it is to survive, must recapture its central importance in the life of the community. If this means going to war against the state, so be it.
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