It is disappointing to many a religiously affiliated first-time marrying couples when their clergy or a parent invariably insists that the other person convert to their faith tradition, some do, and some fake it and some are not comfortable with the idea at all.
When a couple is deeply committed to marry, they go ahead and get married any way but sorely miss out on the ceremony, the ceremonies that were identified as marriage. Over the years, I have seen too many couples miss out on the joy of that additional sense of completeness that comes with a religious ceremony. Marriage is between two individuals, and their families and friends ought to be supporters and cheerleaders to celebrate and complete their joy.
What is it that God really wants? He wants nothing more than harmony in his creation. Because he created everything in balance he expects us to preserve it or restore it when it is off.
Look at the universe, everything is programmed precisely! The moon revolves around the earth and the earth goes around the sun decisively. The seasons are programmed and the plants and animals have a determined cycle of birth and death. Within the human body, different organs work cohesively for a normal functioning (with of course built in anomalies) of the body. However, he did not program us how to relate with each other and live with each other. He gave us complete freedom to chart our own course of harmony with the other. God is happiest when two people can rise above their differences and live in harmony.
As a Pluralist, I have chosen to officiate the weddings of such couples to reflect the essence of Bride and Groom’s tradition. I laud such couples who embrace genuine humanity by respecting the otherness of other, and accepting each other’s uniqueness. If the couple prefers to please the religiosity of their parents, relatives and friends, the sermon would include reflections and essence of the faith of the couple.
I am blessed to have performed some uniquely beautiful combination of weddings; Jewish bride and a Christian groom; Muslim bride and Jain groom, Hindu bride and Muslim groom, Muslim bride and a Jewish groom, Christians bride and Atheist groom….. it was such a joy to see their families cheer at the end.
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Mike Ghouse is a member of the American Marriage Ministries, a non-profit established in Washington State in 2009.
“We provide all people the ability to celebrate marriage and other religious functions according to their beliefs. We believe that this is an innate human right and is also protected by the 1st Amendment. Our values come from the understanding that all people, whether religious or not, have deep personal values and should be treated with respect, acceptance, and understanding.”
Marriage is a celebration that brings people together, and we want to extend that ethos further by being a church comprised of a wide cross-section of people that have found common ground in the service of bringing people together.
To begin, the legal dimension to officiating a wedding simply involves completing a piece of paper, the marriage license. The marriage license is the legal document of marriage. It is filed for by the couple from their local government prior to the wedding.
The role of the minister is to conduct the wedding, have the couple present their marriage license, make sure that the information is correct, and complete the license. The couple then returns the completed license back to its office of issuance.
Personally, Mike is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. He is a professional speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, interfaith, politics and civic affairs.
Mike is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News and regularly at Huffington post, and several periodicals across the world. The blog www.TheGhousediary.com is updated daily. Two books are poised to be released this year on Pluralism in America, and Americans Together building a cohesive America. Details at www.MikeGhouse.net