Friday, August 24, 2007

I'd love your opinion

This one's been bothering me for a while.

A couple I know are getting married. I used to be pretty good friends with him, less so with her because we have very little in common. We're not such good friends now - I think we've grown apart as people are wont to do. But we still speak and see each other occasionally, and of course they've invited me and Michael to the wedding in the autumn.

I found out just after they announced their engagement that they are getting married in a church. Okay, so what's the big deal?

Well it makes me a little uncomfortable because they aren't churchgoers. I'm not 100% sure about her, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't believe in God. Either way they never go to church.

Until they went to talk to the vicar about the wedding. Turns out that the church insists that if you want to get married there, you have to attend services for six months beforehand.

Cue the happy couple going to church every Sunday.

For some reason, this feels way wrong to me.

I know that loads of people get married in church because they "want a church wedding", God having nothing to do with it. To me that's like tying the knot at Old Trafford if you're not a football fan. Whatever - I can get over that, simply because it's quite common, especially back when my parents got married, as a church wedding was the done thing (although my parents got married in a registry office - as they're both agnostics at best they thought it would be hypocritical to do the church thing).

It's the going to church for six months when you don't believe that really gets me. It feels like lying, like taking advantage of people. Actually it is lying. Pretending you've "got Jesus" to a whole congregation of people - well, wrong is the only way I can describe it. It's taking the piss out of something that's a central part of people's lives.

It would be similarly wrong of me to get myself a bat mitzvah just because I fancied some presents and a party.

What annoys me most though, is the occasional comments from the pair of them, to the effect that going to services is a pain in the arse, but something that has to be done. Now you all know I don't do religion, but even I think that "because you have to" is a pretty piss-poor reason for attending church. And anyway, it's something they've both chosen to do to get what they want - STOP FUCKING COMPLAINING ABOUT IT.

I'm actually considering not going to the actual wedding service, just because I disapprove.

What do you think? Am I making sense? Am I being childish? Do I have any right to comment, since I often sing in church with my choirs, yet I'm an atheist?

I'd love to know what you think about it (especially those of you who are religious).


  1. I get what you're saying, totally.

    But I don't think you need to boycott the wedding on principal.

    Here's why: First, for one reason or another, they feel like they need to have a church wedding, whether they are able or willing to articulate the reasons to others.

    It could be because their families' expect it.

    It could be that one or both of them feel that now that they're being "grown-up" and tying the knot, it's time to stop being "the rebel" (ie; denying the faith of their forebearers) and part of their thoughts of being "grown-up" include church.

    Don't feel like the church is being fooled. They aren't.

    That's why there's a 6-month rule. Or else they'd have weekenders booking weddings right and left as if they were an Elvis Chapel in Vegas.

    The church is in the business to gain new members and hopefully save souls. They're taking a chance that at some time during the 6-months they can "sell" (for lack of a better term) salvation and/or a membership.

    Don't feel like they're being taken in.

    My mother is a retired Methodist minister, and my step-dad (now deceased) was a Presbyterian minister. Talk about a mixed marriage!!

    Although my faith is strong, I stopped attending church as soon as I became an adult, because the behind-the-scenes church politics just tore me up.

    My mom was an older woman in a profession traditionally dominated by men, and the things that "supposed" Christian people did to undermine her or get her fired was heartbreaking.

    Knowing that this stuff goes on in many churches made me wary of it as an institution.

    I do somewhat regret leaving, simply because at this late date, it would have been nice to give my kids something to believe in.

    Hope this made sense!


  2. Go and enjoy it. A church is just another building after all.

  3. well I expect she just wants to walk up the aisle in a nice white dress. If that's what she wants then fine but like you say stop moaning about it.

    It does strike me as Hypocrisy.

    Oh what church? Just curious ;)

  4. Yeah Attila, that makes sense.

    Judging on past behaviour, the reasons for wanting a church wedding are as follows...

    a) As Pete says, the white dress thing.
    b) They secretly like playing the martyr - this gives them moaning opportunities r.e. having to attend services.
    c) They want to show off how much money they have by having a lavish wedding, and that to them means church. I know the party afterwards is gonna be huge.
    d) I suppose joining the church gives them a whole new group of people to show off to.

    Yeah, I know, I sound bitter. I kind of am.

    I'm pretty sure that it isn't to do with being grown up, as she's as grown up as she can get, and he'll never grow up. I know they'll stop going straight after the wedding.

    The six month rule makes sense I guess - it's like the Book-of-the-Month Club. They send you books you don't want every month in the hope that you'll forget to send some of them back.

    That "supposed Christian" thing - yeah. It sickens me sometimes to hear the things that people do despite, or even because of, being religious. The whole "God hates blacks/Jews/homosexuals/Catholics/ abortion/prostitutes/gingers/
    personally-like" types. That's another post though I guess!

    Yeah, birdwatcher. I hear you.

    Pete, I'll let you know. I've forgotten where the invitation is.

  5. Oh blech. If it's a "show off all the money they have" kind of do, I'd prolly boycott it too. LOL

  6. If there's going to be a decent choir singing something nice, I'd go.

  7. Rob, there probably won't be, unfortunately.

    Although strangely I don't enjoy choral music half as much when I'm not singing it!

  8. BUT!
    The church and the Minister know that they don't believe. The reason they have to go for 6 months, is to hopefully convert them and even better join that particular church as members (I know as I did this as a Minister, its standard practice).

    So in reality both sides have alterior motives and are using each other.