Post # 1
- Wedding: May 2016 - St. John\'s Lutheran Church
So my fiance and I are getting married at my church. I go to a very liberal Lutheran church, though Fiance is not religious at all, nor is anyone we’re inviting.
My pastor has been fairly strict about the structure of the ceremony, which includes Bible readings and several prayers. After the exchange of rings, there is a response which goes as follows:
“(Name) and (name) have joined themselves together as husband and wife. Those whom God has joined together let no one separate.”
To which the assembly is supposed to repond, “Amen. Thanks be to God.”
It really bothers me that I’m asking a bunch of atheists to parrot back distinctly religious dialogue, and I worry that my guests will be bothered by it, too. My fiance and my parents have all told me that I’m putting WAY too much thought into it, and that no one will care. They’re probably right. I just would never want to make anyone feel uncomfortable or put words in their mouths.
If you attended a wedding where you were supposed to give certain verbal responses, how would you react if the text went directly against your own beliefs?
Post # 2
If anyone is uncomfortable saying it then they don’t have to. You aren’t forcing them to say it. Those who are comfortable with it will respond, those who aren’t will politely sit quietly during the response.
Post # 3
I wouldn’t parrot that back as a guest.
Post # 4
I would still respond, I think there is a big difference between supporting a person and supporting their religion. I’m attending your wedding, I am going to do the polite thing 🙂
Post # 6
I am not religious and in the case you describe I would either mumble or remain respectfully silent. I would not be offended or bothered by the form of the ceremony; I believe that the couple should choose ceremonial form that best represents them/their beliefs. Will your officiant be upset if there isn’t a particularly loud response from the assembled in this moment?
Post # 7
It’s very kind of you to consider your guests.
As an atheist I would find it very annoying but I wouldn’t find myself offended. Fiance is also atheist, and the religious ceremonies we’ve been to, we just sit there quietly and don’t participate (and perhaps exchange a subtle eye roll or two). We just wait for it to be over and then move on to the reception in high spirits ready for a good time.
The only time I was ever offended was at a church ceremony where the priest was asking the “Will you../I do” questions and he asks my cousin (the bride) “Will you bear his children willingly and without question?” My jaw dropped! THEN, at the end of the mass, the priest was rattling off a list of groups/people who needed prayer…and he said “Pray for all of those fighting in Washington to protect the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman” !!!!! I almost walked out.
Post # 8
I would probably just mumble it. It’s your ceremony, as a guest I would respect that. I’ve sat through many a LDS baby blessing because it was important to my friends even though I was moderately worried I would burst into flames in the door way 😉
Post # 9
Honestly, as an athiest I wouldn’t actually know that’s what I’m supposed to respond with! Lol. And I just wouldn’t say the words…I went to a Catholic mass wedding once and sure, I stood up and sat down when asked, but when it came to responding and singing hymns and taking communion, I just respectfully kept quiet and stayed in my seat. It had no meaning to me, but I know it had meaning for others (namely the bride and groom). As long as I’m not forced to do anything, I’m OK with being witness to other people’s beliefs, even if I don’t share them. I wouldn’t worry too much about your guests being offended, just make sure they know that if they don’t want to repeat back the words they don’t have to.
Post # 10
It’s not about me (or any guest); it’s about the bride and groom and their religious beliefs. You can be a witness without being a participant.
Do Jewish people genuflect at Catholic weddings? Do non-believers take Communion? I’ve been at weddings where there’s a full mass–and there are always a ton of us who don’t stand up to take communion. I’ll respectfully bow my head during prayer. It’s not even annoying to me–it’s just the way it is.
Post # 11
I personally would just say the line IF I knew it. They’re empty words, not offensive words. However, it’s probable most guests won’t know what to say when anyway (Even as a former practicing Christian, I wouldn’t know to expect a response line.)
Post # 12
Personally, I would find it disingenuous to parrot back so I would skip it. It would not bother me however, I am there to support the couple. I may not pray along, but I will bow my head in respect to those that do
Post # 13
I am more of an agnostic? I guess I dont know what you would call me but not quite an atheist. My husband is an atheist though, and this is somthing that would not bother us one bit. We are the only non religious out of the majority of our family. We would do it out of respect for our friends and loved ones if asked. Its not a big deal really, Everyone has different beliefs etc and that doesnt mean we cant participate and be supportive of others just because we have different views on a subject. If you are worried it may offend maybe just let them know ahead of time? This is just me though… I could care less what other people believe as long as it makes them happy and content… and can remain a non judgemental asshat of course 🙂
Post # 14
As a non-religious person myself, this wouldn’t bother me at all. I just wouldn’t say the phrase, but that has nothing to do with my support for the couple or my happiness to be there.
Its very similar to when religious family members say grace before a meal. I generally bow my head just to be respectful of the moment, but I feel no pressure to say “amen” afterwards.
Post # 15
As an atheist I would likely need someone to tell me the expected response. Maybe have the priest let the folks in the audience know or have it in the program? I wouldn’t have a problem saying it though.