Want a Traditional Marriage? Skip the Church

There is more news today about a cranky little group of Lutheran churches leaving the ELCA over gay pastors who are not married.  This focus on the chruch’s big, even huge, role in marriage is not part of the long history of human beings.  That is, it is not part of “traditional marriage”.

In the millions of years of humans living on earth, insertion of the church into the practice of marriage is a very recent thing.  Traditional marriage falls under the responsibility of government, not the chruch.

Government has been the decision maker in marriages of couples in extended families, clans and tribes for most of human history.  These governments, the clan’s leaders, had to adopt strategies of survival. That is, how does the clan find enough food and ward off attacking clans?  Sending a daughter off to marry into a different clan was part of that strategy.

We now call these ”arranged marriages”.  Arranged marriages are traditional  marriages.

The is a common belief that having the pastor and church perform the marriage ceremony makes the marraige “better”.  It does not mean less likely to end in divorce.  We have had several couples as friends, born in other countries, whose marraiges were arranged.  Those marriages seemed wonderful.

If people want to get married in churches and churches want to provide this service, those are choices of the people involved.  But, it is dishonest for some Christian churches to portray themselves as the ultimate authorities of what is a good, traditional or successful marriage.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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4 Responses to Want a Traditional Marriage? Skip the Church

  1. Linda Caldwell says:

    Wow…and Amen!!! Folks are so confused on this issue. They throw around Christian beliefs like leaves blowing in the wind and don’t even take the time to think out what they are saying. Marriage has been around long before Christianity…and where the idea came from that the church should govern it is out in the universe somewhere.

  2. Avatar of Grandma Grandma says:

    In the Old Testament, if a woman’s husband died she was promptly married off to one of his brothers. What happened to her if there were no brothers I have no idea.

    Historically, as our country was settled, we had serial monagamy. After one wife died in childbirth the husband had to find another wife to take care of the children already present. A woman who lost her husband was in deep trouble.

    I think that somewhere in the New Testament there’s a statement about folks not being able to divorce and remarry. The Catholic Church follows this to silly degrees: somehow, the Protestant churches have forgotten all about it.

    I figure that since there’s so much confusion about marriage, why not let couples who have been together for a long time get married? It sure doesn’t hurt me, and it sure doesn’t hurt my marriage.

  3. Avatar of Mac Mac says:

    My partner and I married in Winnipeg 4 years ago. I initially wanted to get married in London, but they had a 30 day residency requirement which didn’t work with our bank accounts nor our jobs. We could have listed an English friend’s address as our own, and traveled to England a couple times 30 days apart, but it seemed wrong to start our marriage to each other with a lie to the British government.
    Canada seems just fine in spite of marrying same gender couples for years.

  4. Jason Schoenack says:

    When my wife and I were married at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead, MN, before we were both nonbelievers, the whole process proceeded so smoothly, so automatically, that we never even questionsed it, we never even heard about what our other nonreligious options might be, as if that was the ONLY way to get married, by a religious official. Its another cog that keeps religion in our daily lives and our life events.

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