am a Humanist Celebrant, and am legally credentialed as such. As
a wedding minister or wedding officiant, I may perform wedding
ceremonies in any state. I also play a central role in my couples'
wedding planning. Humanism is a philosophy, or we might say, an
attitude toward life. Humanists believe in
the support and nurture of the
entire human community. As a Humanist, I strongly endorse the following
- democracy, reason, education, equality, social justice, environmental
responsibility, the arts, open mindedness, tolerance.
give you a better understanding of how my background
as a Chicago wedding officiant relates to my brides and
grooms, I will present this information in a
and answer format, using those questions typically
asked of me by couples.
Is Humanism a religion?
it is not, and therefore it is not in conflict with
anyone's religious views. Humanism is a philosophy
or an attitude toward life. Most people are humanistic
but may have never heard their beliefs given that
title. Most Americans I know, be they Christian,
Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, or non-religious, believe
in most if not all of the points I have listed above.
Humanism is not a substitute for religion,
it simply upholds a number of wonderful ways of living
with fellow human beings. The vast majority of religious
people hold very Humanistic views about living with
kind of ceremony do you use?
ceremony uses many universal themes that
also express my views on marriage:
the institution of marriage is to be honored.
marriage is a commitment for life.
married life will have its ups and downs ("in
sickness and in health") and that these times
are to be endured.
marriage is not a means to an end, but rather,
a opportunity in life to grow.
wedding ceremony is no place for controversy. Neither
is it a place to preach, raise money, or express
political views. My ceremonies have always been well
received because they express what the majority of
the public and I believe about wedded life.
couples compose their own vows?
Yes, they may compose their own vows and any other element of their ceremony,
including substituting the entire ceremony with their own.
your ceremonies reference God and use prayer?
Complete freedom is given to my brides and grooms regarding the expression
of their religious beliefs. Many couples have requested me to use prayer and
scripture reading. Other couples have asked to have their own clergy participate
in the ceremony with me. Consequently, I have concelebrated my ceremonies with
Jewish rabbis, Protestant ministers and Catholic deacons. These ceremonies
wonderfully expressed the religious beliefs of the bride and groom.
of my couples want to honor God, their faiths, or
religious identities during their ceremony. However
they don't want any religious expression used in
their ceremony to be heavy handed, preachy or saccharin.
as many other couples want no religious expression
in their ceremony
because that would not reflect who they are. Your
ceremony is not a place to become more or less religious,
that would be disingenuous.
you have any prohibitions regarding your ceremonies?
I will not perform a ceremony that fails to honor and dignify marriage. I also
will not perform a ceremony in an inappropriate place. I have
no use for gimmick weddings.
is the foundation of family, and a lifelong commitment. Let
us therefore honor and protect it, and let this begin at your
brides and grooms advise me on the specifics of their
wedding ceremony. They alone are the sole authority.
Third parties such as wedding coordinators play no
of my ceremonies (just as I don't advise wedding
coordinators on their duties).
you question the religious beliefs of your brides
and grooms, or their reasons for getting married,
or require them to take classes?
No I don't. You're adults, and deserve to be treated that way. It isn't anyone's
business but your own as to why you are marrying.
What other advice do you
have for couples who are considering your services?
My couples have power of editorship over everything that is said and done during
their ceremony. These details are worked out during their wedding planning
session with me at their home and during their rehearsal session. Put your
heart into what you're doing and create a ceremony that reflects your feelings
for each other as well as your beliefs in marriage. Your wedding day and your
married life begin with this event.