Several weeks ago, I wrote a column about how my fiancee and I having a hard time finding an officiant to marry us because we're co-habitating before our nuptials.
The gist of it had to do with how narrow-minded and un-Christ like many of today's professed Christians have become.
Many people called after my column ran. Some sent me e-mails. One man even came in to speak to me face-to-face.
One reader pointed out the Pharisees didn't crucify Jesus. They only asked for it.
During those talks, a more-glaring error became evident. I should've clarified I'm getting married in Cleveland, my fiancee's hometown, not the Sandusky area. I was never turned away by any local churches.
Some may be happy to hear my fiancee and I will marry in July. We didn't really "struggle" to find an officiant, but we were met with resistance from her hometown church and some religious family members.
Nevertheless, my words struck a chord -- or a nerve -- with a lot of Register readers.
Most of the people I talked to, however, were self-proclaimed Christians, even clergy, who agreed with me.
Some even offered to act as the officiant in my wedding, which shows there are still LOTS of good Christians out there.
Pastor Katie Suggitt of Grace Lutheran Church in Castalia, whom I've met previously, wrote:
"I, too, struggle with an (organized religion) that has become more and more like the Pharisees... I do believe that the Holy Spirit will sustain Christ's church in spite of our North American tendency to lose sight of what it means to be the church."
Although Pastor Suggitt represented the majority, their were some dissenters, one who advised me to marry in a mosque.
One woman wrote:
"Chauncey, unless you can state that you and the girlfriend have NOT had sexual relations then YOU ARE SINNING ... I do know for a fact that a member of God's family WILL MARRY YOU ... They may require a short separation until you are formally married and may even require some marriage classes. But if she is truly the women of your dreams and you truly love her, is she not worth it?????? and further more if you state yourself as a Christian is not the love for the Lord worth it to you??????"
Very good points, I thought. But I disagree with the conclusion. I don't claim to be a Biblical scholar, but my fundamental understanding of God's ideal marriage involve a man, a woman, and the Almighty.
My hometown church in Dayton taught me God didn't just make laws for the fun of it. He did it to protect mankind from destroying himself. As such, the institution of marriage makes sense logically as much as it does morally because monogamous relationships have fewer problems.
STDs, baby-mama drama, and all the other confusion that comes with commitment-free sex are not an issue for married couples.
But all that is irrelevant because when I or any person wants to do something "the right way," we should never be turned away because of the cultural norms of some misguided people who are maintaining a tradition that has no religious justification.
It's un-Christian to turn away a "sinner."
Forcing two co-habitating people to move out before they get married is not only impractical, it's phony.
It doesn't change the fact that they've had premarital sex. Living apart before marriage doesn't change that fact either. Some sex health experts estimate 95 percent of Americans have had premarital sex. So none of us should be allowed to marry?
A lot of churches even refuse to marry non-members. This is what Christ would want? I think not. Weren't the people who crucified Jesus a bunch of intolerant, judgmental bigots who thought he was a blasphemer? Turn on the TV or pick up the newspaper and who do most so-called Christians today resemble -- Jesus or the people who condemned Him? The stone-throwers or the one who said "judge not lest ye be judged?"
The truth is ALL religions have historically been misused to justify people's personal prejudices and vendettas. Need examples? Look at Osama Bin Laden, pre-illness Arial Sharon, or even George W. Bush.
And with all that being said, have a very merry Christmas, Sandusky!