Humanist celebrants seek same status as ministers

Feb 14, 2017

By Danae King

It might seem like any other wedding — vows, an aisle, a dress, love in the air.

Sometimes, guests even come up to August Brunsman IV and tell him what a lovely ceremony it was, saying, “Thank you, minister.”

But he’s not a minister. He’s a humanist celebrant. And though humanism is considered a religion, its members don’t believe in a god or the supernatural and their wedding ceremonies usually don’t mention God.

The designation as a religion, however, makes all the difference in Brunsman being able to perform marriage ceremonies legally. Without that designation, something many secularists and atheists balk at, he wouldn’t have any power “vested” in him by the state of Ohio.

That’s something several groups are fighting. They say anyone, regardless of religious beliefs, should be able to perform marriage ceremonies.

The way Monette Richards sees it, changing the law would be a win for all involved.

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5 comments on “Humanist celebrants seek same status as ministers

  • @OP – The designation as a religion, however, makes all the difference in Brunsman being able to perform marriage ceremonies legally. Without that designation, something many secularists and atheists balk at, he wouldn’t have any power “vested” in him by the state of Ohio.

    There is a lot to recommend the UK system of having state registrars of births, marriages, and deaths – independent of religious organisations and available separately from church services.

    There is an interesting example of the conflicting and contradictory views of marriage, derived using “faith-thinking here!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38982013

    Members of the Church of England’s ruling body
    have voted not to “take note” of a controversial report
    on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

    The report by the House of Bishops upheld views that marriage in church should only be between a man and a woman, and services should not be held to bless same-sex relationships.

    The motion was defeated by the House of Clergy, following hours of debate.

    The House of Bishops had voted overwhelmingly (43-1) in favour.

    The House of Laity voted 106-83 in favour of the report, while the House of Clergy rejected it by 100 votes to 93.

    Bishops will now have to produce a new report on the issue.

    The decision was welcomed by LGBT rights campaigners, some of whom had staged a protest ahead of the debate.



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  • There are two principles that seem to be the major role of a “marriage.” 1. The two people of a couple make life long vows to each other that bind them together and 2. The person leading the ceremony gives the couple permission to have sex. It is #2, giving permission to have sex to the couple that I think is archaic or rather stupid. Forming the head of a family I think is an important part of a marriage, NOT getting the approval from some delusionary “god.” Surely there must be a better way for this ceremony to occur. Also how about three people getting married?



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  • @OP – The designation as a religion, however, makes all the difference in Brunsman being able to perform marriage ceremonies legally.
    Without that designation, something many secularists and atheists balk at, he wouldn’t have any power “vested” in him by the state of Ohio.

    That’s something several groups are fighting.
    They say anyone, regardless of religious beliefs,
    should be able to perform marriage ceremonies.

    . . . and funeral services! – as in Wales where humanist politicians can be elected to head parliaments, and humanist celebrants can conduct funerals of national leaders!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-40099436

    Hundreds of people have paid their respects to former first minister Rhodri Morgan in a funeral at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

    Family and friends delivered tributes to the former Cardiff West AM and MP, reflecting his political and personal life, and his passion for sport.

    Humanist celebrant Lorraine Barrett, who conducted the ceremony, said he was the “people’s first minister”.

    The Senedd was at capacity, with crowds standing and sitting on steps outside.

    Mr Morgan, who died earlier in May aged 77, served as the Welsh Assembly’s first minister from 2000 to 2009.

    He was credited with bringing stability to the fledgling assembly during his years in charge.

    It is understood Mr Morgan had been out cycling near his home when he died.

    About 500 people attended, with 360 inside the building.

    Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock and former acting Labour leader Harriet Harman were among Mr Morgan’s party colleagues attending, with Conservative Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns among those from other parties.

    Ms Barrett is herself a former AM, having served between 1999 and 2011.

    “He was the people’s first minister and this is a people’s ceremony,” she said.

    “He wouldn’t want a police escort but sorry Rhodri, needs must.

    “He wouldn’t want any heavy mourning.
    This is a celebration of his life through words, poetry and music.”




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  • The world needs to undergo a new Renaissance, that is, a change in the way people think. We must climb out of the dualism trap and think in terms of gradients and curve distributions. Why is it so absolutely necessary for marriage to be between two people and only two people? There are far more possibilities than just polygamy, that is a man with many wives. Although it’s not necessarily the case, one man and many wives sounds more like “ownership” rather than a relationship. If one man marries two women it’s probably best if the two women love each other and are bisexual. Or if one woman marries two men, it probably best that the two men are bisexual and can love each other. That’s probably the only way something like that would work. It is difficult enough for two people to join in marriage because of the high complexity of human behavior. Humans are complex organisms. For more than two people to join in marriage, the complexity increases exponentially as the number increases. The more people that join in marriage the more the complexities of the interrelationships become. It is advantageous for two people who want to marry, to live together first. It is essential for three or more people who want to be married, for them to live together perhaps a year or more.

    It is time that we stopped religious leaders from controlling our ways of thinking and forcing upon us their rigid and uncompromising narrow views of life from a dualistic and delusionary perspective.

    Let us have a new Renaissance!



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  • Alan4discussion #3
    May 31, 2017 at 11:30 am

    . . . and funeral services! – as in Wales where humanist politicians can be elected to head parliaments,
    and humanist celebrants can conduct funerals of national leaders!

    Hundreds of people have paid their respects to former first minister Rhodri Morgan in a funeral at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

    Family and friends delivered tributes to the former Cardiff West AM and MP, reflecting his political and personal life, and his passion for sport.

    Humanist celebrant Lorraine Barrett, who conducted the ceremony, said he was the “people’s first minister”.

    In the UK, TV stars also have humanist funerals.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-44208891

    The funeral of television and radio presenter Dale Winton has taken place on what would have been his 63rd birthday.

    The star was found dead at his north London home in April. His death is being treated by Scotland Yard as unexplained but not suspicious.

    A non-religious, humanist service was held in central London on Tuesday.

    Anthea Turner, David Walliams, Piers Morgan and Christopher Biggins were among those who attended.

    Walliams has described the star as “the best company, always outrageous and hilarious”, adding: “He adored being in show business and loved meeting fans.”



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