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22: Ceremonies

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Today, we’re talking about playing ceremonies.

Specifically, should the state put any weight or value on religious ceremonies?

Show notes and links:
Non-believers push for legal recognition of humanist weddings (The Guardian)


Full episode text

Nearly every religion has some ceremony that is considered important or pivotal. A religious ceremony will often mark the transition to adulthood, a marriage, a commitment, or promise of some kind.

In a country with an officially recognized religion, these ceremonies are usually also civilly recognized. In countries where a specific religion is not officially recognized, however, this question arises quite often. In the United States, religious symbols are used to cement a promise to tell the truth in a court of law.

This question comes up most often in the context of marriage. In the UK, Canada, and US, a religious marriage is recognized only if it is paired with a civil registration of the ceremony – usually. Yet a religious ceremony doubles as the minimally required civil ceremony. There is, of course, also the option of civil registration or action without that religious element.

So do you think that the government should put weight or value on the ceremonies included in a religious practice?