Sunday, June 25, 2006

Pastor "hijacks" wedding ceremony

My husband and I went to the wedding of our friends' son yesterday. It was an outdoor wedding at a nearby country club. The weather was perfect -- 70s, blue skies, a nice breeze. Everyone was happy and excited to be there and see friends we haven't seen in awhile. The service began with the bridesmaids walking up the path in their matching pink gowns. The flower girl was as cute as a button. The bride was gorgeous, and everyone got teary-eyed as her father escorted her to the gazebo and then gave her away in traditional fashion.

Then comes the pastor. From that point, what was supposed to be a wedding ceremony turned into a service for Jeebus and Gawd. The first words out of his mouth were, "Thank gawd for this gorgeous day he made especially for this day." What if it had rained? Would gawd just have been in a bad mood that day? We have been to other weddings where there have been downpours. Does that mean gawd didn't like those people as much even though they were believers in him? He went on to thank gawd for the friends who came together, thank gawd for this, gawd, gawd gawd!

Then he asked the parents of the bride and groom to come forward. He asked them to pledge their support of their children in their married life with the "help of gawd". Now, do parents who have been loving and supportive of their children their whole lives NEED to vow to an invisible sky daddy that they will continue to love and support their children in marriage? I, as an atheist, love and support my children and will till the day I die, WITHOUT invoking the help of gods, goddesses, satan, or any imaginary supernatural beings. I would support my children and family BEFORE any gods, even if they did exist.

The service moved on and turned even more into a worship service. There was scripture reading and prayer to the great sky daddy. Then MORE gawd preaching. The pastor droned on, telling the couple about loving each other "just as Jeebus loved the church". And he said that marriage can only be held together by gawd and prayer. (This is where my eyes were rolling and could not help myself. My husband was squirming in his seat.) More scripture reading. Towards the end of the "sermon" he asked everyone if they would promise to pray for the couple and support them in their married life. Most of the people robotically and in unison chanted "we do" and some added "with gawds help" (does that mean these "friends" and family who were brought together "by gawd" were reluctant on their own accord to wish them well?)

The usual xian pronouncement was made: "What gawd has joined together, let no man put asunder." If you need a gawd to hold your marriage together, then it is kind of weak from the very start, isn't it? Also, I have seen so many times that "gawd's glue" doesn't hold very well...almost all the married xian friends we have are now divorced, remarried or "living in sin" or looking for someone new. What really gets me is when these divorced xian people remarry and say the same exact religious vows "before gawd" a second, third or even fourth time!

We were just at a wedding a few weeks ago of a young couple where these same exact words were spoken. At the reception, there was a lengthy gawd prayer read that was framed for the bride and groom to hang in their new home. Less than a month later, they are having their marriage annulled despite the bride being pregnant with their child. Again, so much for gawd's glue!

Let's hope the couple who were married yesterday look beyond superstition and to EACH OTHER and remember their committment THEY made to each other. If they continue to love one another, respect one another, with the help of true friends and their loving families they will have a long and happy marriage.


Steve said...

That's what happened at my dad's funeral. Why do these people not understand that weddings and funerals are supposed to be about the people involved, not their particular brand of mythology?

CyberKitten said...

Steve said: That's what happened at my dad's funeral.

Mine too. Though both of my parents had been Catholics - as technically am I - we have been a non-religious family for as long as I remember. At my Fathers funeral my Mother asked for a non-religious ceremony... and what did we get... 30 minutes of God this & God that.

My Mother was actually rather impressed that I didn't even once roll my eyes and not a single 'tut' left my lips. I was, however, VERY annoyed with the whole thing.

Religion is for those who want it and shouldn't be foisted on people during weddings and funerals.

[sigh]. I feel *so* much better now.....

Lya Kahlo said...

This is also what happened at my grandfather's funeral. Most of the time was spent babbling about gawd and jesus instead of the deceased. I was actually getting angry during the service because of the amount of time wasted talking about this pointless garbage.

Shinsyotta said...

My mum got remarried in Las Vegas. She wanted to have fun with it and had Elvis do the introductions. The pastor who did the actual service started harping on about Gawd as soon as Elvis had done the introductions. None of my immediate family (only ones who were invited)- including my mum and new stepdad- believe in Gawd. It was all they could do to keep from laughing. My parents actually found the whole ceremony quite amusing and said that it added to their "American experience".
After the ceremony the pastor came to speak to us all individually. We were all making fun of him behind his back. We are such nice people!

Stardust said...

I think most pastors take advantage of people at weddings and funerals because we are all "trapped" by etiquette. At weddings, no one wants to ruin the happy day, so we all "tolerate" it, and at funerals no one wants to cause the family of the deceased any more grief than they already have so out of respect those who are not xians zip our lips.

My three grown kids are atheists and I wonder what would happen if they had atheist weddings and invited all of our xian relatives and friends, and had someone talk about how gawd doesn't exist and we are all responsible for ourselves to treat others with love and respect...etc. I wonder if xians would sit there as tolerant as they expect us to be? Maybe give an "invitation" at the end to "give up their mythology and free themselves" (I have been to a wedding where an invitation to be "saved" was directed at me and my family and that was REALLY irritating. We just stared back at the ignoramus pastor, unflinching.)

Stardust said...

Shinsyotta - A Pastor and Elvis together for a wedding in Vegas! haha! And the pastor meeting with you afterwards while you snicker behind his back. I can imagine the whole scene!

When we were in Vegas we got a kick out of people getting married on the fake gondolas, in the fake Venice canal, in a fake Venice setting by a minister in his robes (also fake?)...bizarreness!

CyberKitten said...

stardust1954 said: I have been to a wedding where an invitation to be "saved" was directed at me and my family and that was REALLY irritating.

But.... But.... That's APPALLING!

[Too surprised and appalled to think straight].

Lya Kahlo said...

"I think most pastors take advantage of people at weddings and funerals because we are all "trapped" by etiquette."

Bingo. They're captive audiences. Kind of funny that they can't get people to listen to their silly garbage until etiquette compels them too.

Aaron Fowles said...

Wow. This is confusing. Is the wedding supposed to be about the couple's beliefs, or the audience's? If the couple is religious, then shouldn't they have the right to have a religious ceremony without having their pastor ridiculed?

Or if this couple is agnostic or atheist, why did they get a church wedding?

In the cases of the funerals, who made the arrangements?

Stardust said...

Aaron -- It was the bride’s parents who pressured the religious part. Our friends, though they say they believe in gawd, they are not religious and not church-goers. The bride’s parents are catholic, but the bride and groom chose a protestant minister to marry them (because the groom refused to change to catholicism and the priests of her parents’ church would not marry them because the groom is not a "true" xian). The groom’s mother, who is my good friend, said that they didn’t know this non-demoninational pastor before the wedding (they must not have realized that non-denominationals are usually fundies)…they met with him a few times and just left it up to him what to do with the service. He just went overboard from what was expected.

As for funerals, it doesn't matter who asks for the service...some pastors take full advantage of their "opportunity" to evangelize at a time when people are a "captive" audience.

Mikayla Starstuff said...

Yea, reminds my of my brother's wedding. They paused twice in the wedding to play sappy contemporary christian worship songs. I just sat there and tried to keep a straight face . . .