Follow-Up: 20-something “nones” getting married by friends
Remember the article about college students being more nonreligious this year? Well other 20-somethings are eschewing the clergy in their own way. Just like the college kids are getting more secular, weddings are starting to eschew traditional authority:
Here at Reason Freely, we love breaking from tradition and traditional authority. That’s what it’s all about here. So I love hearing stories like this. I’m not cheering the demise of the ministry’s role in marriages so much as cheering the increasing freedom within which people are choosing their officiants.
I think religious officiants and settings do a great job of adding a sense of ancient austerity to a ceremony, but I like the idea of choosing a personal friend or family member to officiate, as well. Instead of choosing from a list of approved religious passages, the friend can personalize the ceremony a lot better, based on shared experiences and intimate knowledge of the couple.
Let’s discuss factors that contribute to these numbers. Here are my first-blush thoughts:
– There are more nonbelievers. Recall from a previous post, 21.9% of college freshmen are “nones.” And ARIS says 16.1% of the US are nones. 1/7 is 14.3%, so some of the nones are still getting married with pastoral officiants: In some cases, nones are marrying people of faith, and acquiescing to a religious marriage out of respect (myself, for instance).
– Probably more licensed officiants are “nones” now. Thank you Universal Life Church.
– Keep in mind, just because a friend is officiating doesn’t mean the couple or the officiant aren’t deeply religious. However, it means that the couple and the friend are willing to break from traditional religious authority and custom. That, alone, demonstrates free thought. As I’ve said over and over again, I’m not against religion; I’m for free thought.
– There are more mixed marriages, with denomination meaning less and less and tolerant denominations (methodism, unitarianisn) growing in popularity (no source right now, sorry). If you’re going to argue whether his or her pastor should officiate, and if you’re already marrying a heathen anyway (depending on the tolerance level of your denomination); why not do away with argument and let your best friend officiate?
– Community no longer means the people you go to church with. Modern technology keeps you in touch with friends in ways you couldn’t before. Now your friends are your community, even if they’re spread over a 500-mile+ diaspora.
– Weddings are getting expensive and heinously over-planned as expressions of self-identity and personal/family pecuniary might. If your wedding becomes more of a personal expression than a religious sacrament, it makes sense to personalize the officiant, too. Especially if you’re not as socially bound to your preacher.
Did anyone out there consider a friend for an officiant? Anyone have a friend officiate? If so, please comment with your reasons and thoughts. I’d love to hear them!