Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Monday, September 12, 2005

There are things that I'd like to do that you don't believe in

You know, I have always listened when people claimed marriage in the U.S. was founded on a religious background. This is usually used as a point against legalizing gay marriage, or for explaining why people might have trouble with it.

I am taking a religion class, and I was reading an article about religious practices of Puritans in 17th century--, the religious practices this country was founded with. ("The Ordinances of Public Worship" by Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe) Almost everything in daily life was religious:

Chief among these [devotional acts-religoius celebrations] were election day, militia training days, and civil days of fasting and thanksgiving proclaimed by magistrates. Weddings were civil affairs, and no evidence indicates that ministers participated in them or that they carried religious significance. Funerals, however, took on more religious and ecclesiastical characteristics as the century progressed...

Bolding is mine, as this is not an article about marriage rights or anything like that. The information was just there, facts to be stated.

Take that!


Anonymous Johnicholas said...


might be helpful- as I understand it, marriages were carefully "unsacramental" because the Puritans argued that there ought to be only two sacraments rather than seven (the Catholic number).

8:46 AM

Blogger the roommate said...

Actually, johnicholas, if you read the full quote it makes clear that while all these aspects of daily life were religious, weddings weren't

11:01 AM

Anonymous Johnicholas said...

I apologize if I was confusing:
I agree with you about the behavior of the Puritans.

I was merely attempting to say that the Catholics contemporaneous to the Puritans did hold marriages in churches, and this might explain why weddings unusually devoid of religious significance.

1:21 PM

Blogger Harper said...

This is a good find, Roommate!

12:09 AM


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