The Steampunk Vicar

A Presbyterian Pastor on Neo-Victoriana and American Faith

De Diebus (or When You Might Not Want to Schedule Your Wedding)

When Shall We Two Join in Train?

calendar72Of Course, dear Readers, I should never dare to dictate to you the Details of your Wedding. As many of the Internetizens whose Weblogues and Fora I have read suggest, the Wedding is the Affair of those Persons being married – a large Party for your Guests, your Family, and your Friends, but, centrally, for the two of You. As such, the ultimate Arbiters of all Matters are, indeed, You. Your various Vendors (Florist, Caterers, Photographers, Videographers, Dirigible Captains, and, of Course, your Servant) will inform you of what they can or cannot achieve, and you will balance your Employment based on their Requirements and Abilities.

However, if you wish to obtain for yourself the greatest Flexibility in your Vendors, and, most especially, your officiants, you will pay Heed to the proceeding Advice.

During Business Hours

I am by no means immune to the Arguments in Favor of the Friday Vespers Wedding, say five Hours after the Meridian. Venues, Vendors, and many other divers Expenses shall decrease. Time for Jollity and Merrymaking are maximised, and any Honeyed Moons commence at earlier Dates and Times. Surely, there are excellent Reasons to schedule at just such an Hour.

woman-at-desk-with-knitting

I regret to inform you that I shall be too busy reading and knitting to attend.

As a personal Matter, however, I must admit that such Weddings are an automatic “Swipe Sinister” for me. I am not (currently) employed by the Church, and so my Labour is more fixed than once it was. Not only would I have some Difficulty attending such a Wedding broadly, but it would be nigh impossible for me to take off the Time required by such an Event.

As strongly as I word the Editorial above, I intensify it thusly – Weddings at Teatime on a Tuesday are incredibly discourteous to Guests, Family, and any Vendor unfortunate enough to not be able to serve at Weddings full time. How precisely a Couple might be available at such an Hour (understanding that Many in the present Œconomy are working at peculiar Shifts), I am not sure. Never the less, I am unavailable, and so, too, are many of my Colleagues.

I am not the only Officiant in the Sea, (see you what I did there?) but you will lose some Options with a Wedding during Business Hours.

Times of Spiritual Weight

curzon-illustration-1

No, I shall not celebrate your Union with part of the Cross. Please depart immediately, or I shall summon the Beadle.

I speak here uniquely for the Christian Crowd, and for those whose “non-denominational” Solemnizers identify in that way. Any Priest, Pastor, Minister, or Elder worth their Incense will be unavailable for the Whole of Holy Week, and very likely the Week to follow. This is the greatest Celebration of the Faith, no matter the Altitude of your Church, and it shall not be missed. Thus, I should block out the three Weekends – Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday, and the First Sunday after Easter, and make it a Point to arrange your Nuptials on some other day.

By the same Token, I caution against Marriages during the Christian Seasons of Lent and Advent. These Seasons of Preparation and Prayer are best observed with a Cleric’s full Attention, and long Tradition in much of the West in Fact forbids such Celebrations at those Times. When Their Graces of Cambridge (“Will” and “Kate” I find obscenely on the Aethernet) were first engaged, many thought that the Wedding would take place in March. The cognoscenti, however, knew that the Bishops of the Church of England would by no Means permit such a Ceremony in Lententide. Indeed, that Royal Wedding waited for the more appropriate Easter Season, as well it should have done.

The same goes, I suppose, for those of the Jewish Faith and the High Holy Days in the Autumn (I find here extensive Lists of Days Recommended, not Recommended, and Forbidden), and, I find, there is Reason for Muslims to be thoughtful about Marriage during Ramadan. I find no obvious Guidance on Weddings in Hinduism or Buddhism, and would advise any such Adherents to consult their own spiritual Leaders on the Matter.

When It Is Wrong For You

Perhaps an over-broad Categorization, and yet…many in my Industry and the Digital Photographs of my Generation will be all too happy to tell you the precise Details of the Perfect Wedding. Glorious Sunsets, unbelievable Vistas, gorgeous Vestments, delectable Dishes ~ all are the Stock in Trade of my fellow Vendors. The Perfect Wedding, however, is the One in which you are marrying the Person whom you Love. If, for any Reason, you have Cause to doubt the Wisdom of such a Union, I urge you to postpone, to delay, or to cancel if you must. No Sum of Treasure, no Flights or Plans, no Dreams or familial Expectations can be worth the Devastation of being married to the Wrong Person (or the Right Person…at the Wrong Time).

Victoria And Edward

No one seems to think that this is a Good Idea

As well – this Wedding, as we have said again and again, is Yours! Make it thus! Have you always wished for a snow-bound Ceremony? Make it so! Does the Change of Leaves turn your Romantic Heart? Let your Life then be turned! Do not be Steam Locomotived into a summer Wedding because it is “The Thing That Is Done.” Do not be wed when it is wrong for you.

 

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De Sacredote in Nuptiis (or, Five Reasons Why You Want Your Officiant at Your Wedding Rehearsal)

victoriaalbertmarriageengraving

In my original Time Line, Her Majesty Queen Victoria at this point had her Mechanical Wings

As I continue on the Journey of officiating at an increasing Number of Weddings for Persons with whom I am unacquainted, I find that often, in the Catalogue of Requests, my Presence is not required at the Rehearsal for the Wedding. Many of you Brides and Grooms seem to feel that the Officiant will not add Value to this Event…I suppose? I find some of your Reasoning rather obscure.

 

If, as seems to be the Practice among many of our modern Iconoclasts, the “Rehearsal” is simply an intimate Dinner for the Bridal Party and associated Families, I am wholly in support of these couples’ Forbearance. There is little more awkward than a Cleric at a Party at which she knows no one, and such Clergy have an unfortunate inhibiting Effect on the Jollity that should proceed from such Festivities.

If, however, the “Rehearsal” is in truth a Rehearsal, and will feature a review of what is to come with Groom(s), Bride(s), Maid/Matron/Man of Honor, Best Man/Woman, other Groomsmen, Bridesmaids, Bridesmen, Groomsmaids, Parents of the Couple, Ring-bearers, Flower Children, Ring-bearing Dogs, Musicians, Interpretive Dancers, Bagpipers, and the like, then my Presence, as your Officiant, is most certainly required ~ for the following Reasons, as I shall now demonstrate.

I. I Shall Corral the Circus

http://www.vam.ac.uk/__data/assets/image/0019/184105/2006ah6188.jpg

One of my favorite Weddings

Having been involved in Weddings which involved all of the Elements listed above (save the Dancers, at least thus far), I have a Wealth of Experience in bringing Order from the Chaos of these sundry Personalities and Priorities. I can help to guide Photographers and Bridal Parties in the choicest Places to stand, and can, through Jokes and Japes, maintain the whole of the Cavalcade in good Humour as we await the inevitable Delays. Children, Dogs, and all other such Actors do not faze me, and nor shall they faze you, as we practice what is to come.

 

II. We Will Do Better with One Run-Through

w-s-_gilberts_burlesque_comedy_engaged

Gilbert is much funnier in my Time Line, but Sullivan’s Music is superior here

Arguably, your Wedding is one of the most important Ceremonies of your Life ~ perhaps the most important, depending on your Career, etc. No one anywhere in the Spheres thinks it wise to perform a Ceremony with no Practice. Even if there is but one Run-through of the whole Process, there shall be then no Confusion amongst the Participants about what will happen, or in what Order. A Rehearsal solidifies Lines, the proper Blocking, to wit, where the Participants will Stand, the Order of the Service, and in general, the Expectations of the Couple and the Officiant. Re-inforcing the tasks of your less able Participants (cf. Dogs, Children, Grandparents, or inattentive Friends) can only help them to make your special Occasion even more special.

 

III. We Will Catch Things

“Oh,” your fainting Groom will say to you as I pose a Query that had occurred to no one. “I hadn’t thought of that.” No, you had not. It is conceivable, though unlikely, that you have participated in as many Weddings as I have, in the Office of Bridal Party or otherwise. Believe me when I tell you, though, that, there are always Details that evade even the most assiduous Planner, Groom, or Bride. Taking time enough to assure that all concerned are on the same Page minimizes those tiny (or enormous) Surprises with which all Life, and especially Marriage, are seasoned. Is the Music prepared? Are the instruments in tune? Will both Brides be able to safely ascend the Stairs? Will the Height of both Grooms need to be accentuated? Is there some sort of Sand that we intend to use, and can we practice with it beforetimes? Better far to encounter these Challenges the Day before than the Moment of.

IV. I Will Feel Better

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I sit at Home with this Expression on my Visage

I realise that this is largely immaterial to you, dear Betrotheds, but I am taking a certain Measure of Responsibility for the smooth Operation of your Nuptials, even when you ask me not to attend a Rehearsal. This can be, for me, rather an anxious Process, as I put many Hours into the Crafting of your Service, and I should like very much to do the Thing Up Right. I was much mortified when a couple whose Marriage I was solemnizing began uncontrollably to giggle during the second Prayer. I would have gladly cut the Prayer, had they asked ~ they did not know to ask, as we had not a Chance to rehearse! My Shame was a Shock, and did the Couple no Favours. I stress far more over those Weddings for which I feel unpreparerd, lying sleepless the preceding night. Please ~ for the sake of my poor, weary Brain ~ let us have a Rehearsal.

 

V. You Will Feel Better

Much more relevant to your Interests, you as a Couple will feel better having rehearsed your Wedding. My Sister once noted that, at the Altar, “One’s febrile brain has traveled to Tahiti.” Your full Cognition will not be available to you at this Time. Believe me ~ I speak from Experience. In order to maximise your Memory of the Blesséd Event, you may wish to have heard the Words previously, to have encountered the Rhythms and some Inkling of what may be to come. I aver that you will sleep better, plan better, and feel, in general, better, if you have, at least once, walked through the Liturgy, the Locations, and the Timing.

At a previous Wedding, the Maid of Honor and the Photographer got into an Altercation on where the Couple should stand. I was the loud and shameless Voice who asked what the preferences of Groom and Bride would be, for which the Groom subsequently thanked me profusely. My paramount Aim is to make your Wedding as memorable and special as I can arrange, and I will do so with much greater Effect if you are in a calm and joyous Frame of Mind ~ most easily attained when you know precisely what is coming. I can make no Promises for the Future of your Marriage; I pledge myself to the excellent Effect of your Wedding. Let us give it one go beforehand.

1815-regency-proposal-woodcut

What do you think? Have you Stories of hideous Horrors averted or suffered due to a Rehearsal, or the Lack thereof? Have you a Reason I did not explore that a Wedding should go unrehearsed?

De Belli Astrae, v. 2

Oh, dear Friends of mine – I am beyond thrilled. Excited past all that might be reasonable for a Victorian Gentleman lost out of Time and cast upon the Twenty-first Century in Her Majesty’s rebellious American Colonies. For, you see…the Stars march once more to War.

There are many truly fascinating Moments of Cinema in this Era and Timeline, but, in this humble Narrator’s proud Opinion, Star Wars exceeds them all. It is a crowning Triumph of Storytelling, of Practical Effects, of Moral Theory, and so much more.

I rather enjoy those Films. You might have noticed.

Therefore, in Honor of the Arrival, this Week, of the Seventh Episode of the Series, I share with you all one of my favorite graphical Representations of that Universe.

Enjoy!

http://www.bjornhurri.com/category/steampunk-2/

De Hospitibus

I rather cannot believe that I feel obliged to say this aloud. The Point seems so elemental, so obvious to me from where I stand, that I cannot envision any Person imagining I could have any other Perspective. Certainly, likewise, I have great Difficulty in interpreting the perspectives of others on this Issue. Still and all, I must speak, lest I should keep an unholy Silence on one of this Nation’s greatest Trials. Thus, say I:

I condemn the Words of Mr. Donald Trump of New York, and the Attitudes and Fears that lie behind them. I declare myself opposed to any Abridgement of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, notably the Establishment of Religion and the Right to Peaceable Assembly. I, as an ordained Teaching Elder of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, as a Christian living in this Nation, yea, even as a human Being, I refuse to bow to Terror and the political Pressures of Thugs and Murderers from Abroad or Domestically. As Pastor, Christian, and Man, I declare that I support and endorse my Muslim Sisters and Brothers, their Right to worship as they choose, their Right to live and work in this Country, yea, their Right to live.

In support of this Standpoint, considered almost not at all by myself before its Composition, I offer the following Verses of Scripture.

First, from the Exodus of Israel, the Twenty-second Chapter, the Twenty-first through the Twenty-third verses:

21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. 22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. 23 If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;

And then, from the Gospel according to St. Matthew, the Twenty-fifth Chapter.

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Friends, this is the Gospel of our Lord. Not a Gospel of secured Borders and backgrounds Checked. Not a Gospel of watch Lists and Visas denied. Not a Gospel that says “No, not you.” The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ promises us no Safety, no Security, no Shelter, and no Succor. The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ promises us Christ alone…and eternal Life. And this promise it makes to Everyone, especially to Strangers, regardless Color or Nation.

And thus I say, to the estimable Mr. Trump – sir, you are wrong, and you do not speak for me. I speak for myself, when I say that I welcome Refugees, Immigrants, Muslims, and Persons of every Stripe and Kind to my Table. I so speak in the Name of Jesus the Christ, and I welcome these and more than these in His Name.

For my fearful Neighbors and Friends, I can say only this – if you believe on Jesus, then Anything you suffer in the Name of the Peace of Christ Jesus is a Martyrdom in His Witness. I should rather die a Victim of Terror than live a Victor because of it.

 

Post Scriptum

I considered linking to Mr. Trump’s Remarks, but shall choose instead to deny him further air Time. He must be taken seriously, as he currently leads the Polling for the Republican Party’s presidential Nomination. As with any communicable Illness, I shall choose hereafter to quarantine his Thinking, the better to prevent its Spread.

De Clerico

In the Course of composing at the CREDO Conference in Roslyn, VA, I came across a rather remarkable Revelation.

A Portion of my Youth was misspent in that possibly heathenous pursuit of Dungeons and Dragons, a Role Playing Game of a fantasy Theme. Many happy Hours I whiled away in collaborative Storytelling, taking the part of an Elf or Dwarf or Gnome, a Fighter or a Wizard or a Druid.

My favorite Class to play, however, surprising No One, was the Cleric – that Channeler of the Power of the Gods, their Representative among the mortal Races. For Reasons that would become clear subsequently, I am very attracted to the Concept of the Figure of religious Authority. I identify with such Characters – they carry deep Meaning and Weight for me.

Now that I am, in fact, a Cleric of the American Church of Scotland, I had become disconnected from a Fact which would have served me well in my Ministry.

According to the Game Rules for the Third Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, in order to cast Spells, a Cleric must spend a Minimum of one continuous Hour in study or prayer each Day. Other Powers and Skills remain in Play. but a Cleric’s most powerful Abilities require an Hour’s Communion with their chosen Deity.

In discerning new Practices for my Life, I have chosen to take on this Burden. If I am to do pastoral Work, I must spend at least one Hour that day in Study, Prayer, or Meditation. I can commit to other Duties, those of Home or Family, but my Employ as a Pastor demands a single Hour of my Attention to God – or there is no Spell that I can cast.

A large Burden – but one I am overjoyed to be taking on.

De Sedi Argenteo

chronicles-of-narnia-silver-chair-book-cover[1]The penultimate Moment of the rising Action of Clive Staples Lewis’ The Silver Chair relies on the eponymous Seat. A mysterious Prince explains to the Protagonists that his mental Health requires the nightly Use of an enchanted Throne. Each Evening, the Prince’s Attendants appear, and secure him into the Cathedra. For a single Hour, he raves in stark Insanity, dangerous and violent, as he relates it. The Queen of that Place has magicked that Seat so that it helps this Prince to maintain his Sanity over the remainder of the day. Twenty three Hours of the Day his Faculties are in Order – for a single Hour, he is overtaken by the Spirit.

The Prince invites our Heroes to observe this unclean Hour, to stay hidden and watch as he rants in abject Lunacy. They stay – they watch. The mad Prince claims from the Silver Chair that only at this Hour is he in his right Mind – it is the Chair that binds him, traps him in a Prison of his own Mind the greater Part of the Day. One hour he has of Clarity, and the rest of his Time is shrouded in Darkness.

So, indeed, it proves. The Chair is the Source of the Enchantment that the Queen (read: Witch) has laid upon the Prince, the rightful Heir of the Throne of Narnia.

I write all this to say that, for my own Experience, Depression often feels as though I am that Prince. Much of my Day, I am lucid and clear. I am operative – as I told my Physician when I embarked on the Course of Anti Depressant Medications, I hoped that they would make me functional, and they have. I have recovered my Mind sufficiently to present as Working, to seek new Employment, to spend Time with Friends and Family.

And yet…there comes an Hour, late in the Night, often as I am taking my evening Ablutions. The Light is gone. A Peace steals down the Stairs, a Centering. I find, of a sudden, that a Yawn transforms into a Sob, and I am weeping in the Dark. All that I have failed to do, all those broken Dreams, shattered Promises, they press upon my Chest, and I am undone.

To this Day, to this Hour, I do not know, though, which is which. Am I mad at that accursed Hour? Or is that my moment of Sanity in each Day? Am I bound by ancient Sorcery to grin and salute and be gracious, while all the while some Part of me is screaming? Or is that passing Madness a Symptom, a Weight that presses on me now, but will lift again?

To be fair to all those who love me best, I am doing better. My days are less fraught. I feel less perilous, less like I stand on a Precipice of Madness. These wearying Troughs weaken – my Peaks begin to resemble an ordinary day.

Still I wonder. Which is the mad Prince? And which of us is Sane?

De Armis Ignis

A Moment ago, I posted rather sarcastically on Twitter (I have no idea how to say Twitter in Latin, I wish that I did), but my Heart remains too filled with Rage to let the Bone from without my Teeth. Yet again, Personnel of the Armed Forces of the United States are dead at the Hands of a Shooter. I use that Word advisedly – perhaps this Man was not a Shooter until his Finger pulled the Trigger. Too much is not yet known about the Circumstances, the Story, the Truth.

My Regret for these dead Marines, however, is tempered by my persistent Fury that yet again I am forced to respond to a Shooting in the Land that I call Home. Yet again there are Dead on the ground, and my Congregation and I will grieve and rage and do Nothing. Yet again blood has been spilled, and I can see, as could these Writers, that there is a grim Inevitability to the Reporting and Debates that each of these “shocking” Atrocities brings forth. I am no longer shocked. I am now merely disgusted.

For these were Marines – the ever faithful Best of the Best, some of the most highly trained Soldiers this Nation has ever produced, and they were killed by a Man with a Gun. According to early Reporting, several Guns, in Fact. I am reminded yet again not only of the Shooting at Fort Bragg, but also of the Shooting of Four Police Officers in a Town where I used to go to the Mall to play on the Playground. These are Soldiers and Police Officers – trained to face the Horrors of War on Soil abroad, and Violence in our Communities. We prepare them for this – we pay them for this. But this Afternoon, these People are still dead.

There is much to be said about a Nation fighting a War on the far Side of the World against Peoples whose Crime is obscure, and whose only Recourse is attritional, guerilla Warfare both there and here – I shall, perhaps, write on that Topic another Time. Today, though…today all that I can say is not fitting for a Victorian Gentleman to write on the Aethernet, where anyone might read it.

For, my Friends, I am weary of Guns. I am tired to Death of them. I am exhausted by the persistent, paranoid Fantasy that we are faster, wiser, braver than our Neighbors who wish us Ill. That a “good Person armed with a Gun is the only Protection against a bad Person armed with a Gun.” Are we unprepared, in the Face of the Death of four Marines, to admit the Possibility that, perhaps, some Persons should not have Firearms? That, perhaps, some Persons have forfeited the Right to bear Arms, being unwilling to submit to the Laws of this Land? Are we unable to grant that, perhaps, we could all be made safer by a Decrease in our Capacity to kill one another?

I do not know if universal background Checks would have stopped this man. I don’t know what might have done. I do know, however, that I am sick unto Death of Guns. I can hope only that you, too, are prepared to Dispense with the Fantasy, and to dream of a bright Future when no one needs them any longer. Perhaps, when Christ returns in Glory, we can beat them all into something else.

Until that Day comes, please keep your Guns away from me.

De Commutatione Caelorum et Matrimonio

I am in the Process of grinding my Way through Laudato Si’, His Holiness Francis’ Encyclical Letter concerning Climatic Alteration due to Human Activity. I await eagerly the more theological Portions of this Work, but am currently following His Holiness’ Recitation of the Facts of the Case.

However, as I was searching for an aetheric Edition of the Encyclical, preferably in Portable Document Format, I came across this Article, which niggled at the Back of my Mind for a good Half Hour of my Reading.

Surprising precisely No One, there have been a great many Opinions tossed back and forth over the Aether over the Week End on the Subject of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges, but None that troubled me quite so much as this One did. I am astonished to find that this Priest and Professor in the United States could be so blinkered by the political Reality of a social Issue in one Nation when a far greater Issue confronts our entire Species. I felt that this Essay revealed a deeply rooted Case of #FirstWorldProblems, when Catholics in this Country are too concerned with their Neighbors’ civil Marriage (which has Nothing to do with them), to read and listen to their spiritual Leader’s very pointed Criticism at our global Care for the entire Planet, which is very much the Business of the Citizens of the United States, as Members of the World’s largest Economy.

I would best describe my Sensation in the Reading as Annoyance. While I acknowledge that, for many American Catholics and Christians, there is (for some Reason obscure to me) no greater Event occurring than the license or not of civil Marriage between two consenting Adults of the same Gender, and thus the Pater‘s very becoming Pastoral Concern for his Flock, I cannot but feel that the looming Crisis of our Climate will have Impacts of Life and Death on Millions of Souls across the Globe. Most of these Changes, of course, are not being wrought by the Citizens of, say, Pakistan, where more than a thousand Persons have perished in the Course of this Summer’s heat Wave. Nor is this Revision in global Temperature and Weather the Fault of the Corals of Australia or the Forests of the Amazon.  Even the Farmers and Movie Stars of California are not to blame for that State’s enduring Drought.

We are all responsible, you see. Each of us. Even I, driving a Friend to the Airport this Morning in my own Locomotive Gasoline Vehicle, when she could have, had we chosen, taken the City and County of Denver’s excellent Public Transit System. I must take Responsibility for that.

Perhaps the most striking Item I’ve yet encountered in His Holiness’ Letter was this: “In fact, the deterioration of the environment and of society affects the most vulnerable people on the planet:” If our Societies are degrading, it must be, it is in Conversation with the Degradation of our World. How will we hope to Solve one Problem, when the Other has an excellent chance of killing us all?

De Jure Matrimionque

This Morning, hearing on the Aetheraudiogram the News of the Supreme Court of the United States’ Decision in the Case of Obergefell v. Hodges, I was struck, perhaps surprising No One, by the core legal Arguments of each opposing Side. Find contained herein my own Analyses, in short, of the Legalities to be found in the Case, followed by a brief Reflexion of my own.

J. Kennedy

They assert the petitioners do not seek to exercise the right to marry but rather a new and nonexistent “right to same-sex marriage.”

This, it seems to me, is the very Heart of the Debate before the Court. Is the Right of two Persons to marry contingent on who the Persons to be married are? Is the Court establishing a new Right to Same-Sex Marriage, or opening the old Right of Marriage to all comers?

J. Kennedy and the Majority of the Court seem to assert (I found this harder to find than one might expect), that, truly, we are not creating a new Right, but expanding the old, and granting it to those Persons who desire, so to speak, to be permitted into the Meadow from which they were previously excluded, based not on what they wanted to do, but on whom they wished to do it with.

C.J. Roberts

There is no serious dispute that, under our precedents, the Constitution protects a right to marry and requires States to apply their marriage laws equally. The real question in these cases is what constitutes “marriage,” or—more precisely—who decides what constitutes “marriage”?

Indeed, this is the Question. I find puzzling the Idea that ‘applying marriage Laws equally’ might be a distinct Category from ‘permitting two Persons to be married, regardless any other Facts about them.’

it is something else to portray everyone who does not share the majority’s “better informed understanding” as bigoted.

I feel that C.J. Roberts mis-interprets J. Kennedy, here, arguing not that these Couples are damaged by their Peers (which he does not), but, in Fact, by the Application of Laws (which he assuredly does). The Decision here has Little to say regarding Discrimination by Individuals, and much to say regarding Discrimination by Laws.

If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.

The TL;DNR (Too Long; Did Not Read) Edition of the Dissents can be summarised as above: This Decision had Naught to do with the Constitution, particularly J. Thomas’ more thorough linguistic Analysis. Perhaps, in Truth, this is the Weakness of our Constitution. If only we had Access to the Language of Angels, we might be able to Name our Government, Laws, and Rights in the Forms and Ideas of Plato! Alas, we are but Mortals, and are forced to communicate with the Imperfections of the Queen’s English.

J. Scalia

…it is unquestionable that the People who ratified that provision did not understand it to prohibit a practice that remained both universal and uncontroversial in the years after ratification.

I was most entirely lost by this Argument, speaking of the Fourteenth Amendment. To what possible Practice does he here refer, so cruelly prohibited? This, I feel, is the heart deep Fear of many Opponents of marriage Equality – that, as Some have argued, Marriage as an Institution is on the Route to Destruction in this Country.

As a Citizen of the United States, I must admit that I face that Idea with some Ambiguity. What would it mean if my Government no longer had any Say whatsoever in Marriage, and that Right and Privilege and holy Bond was reserved to my Church? I know Many for whom this has worked. What prevents us from removing government Tyranny over Marriage?

Also, it is, in my Opinion, worth noting that JJ. Alito and Scalia do not respectfully dissent.

J. Thomas

In the American legal tradition, liberty has long been understood as individual freedom from governmental action, not as a right to a particular governmental entitlement.

I am still much enamored of the Vision of Marriage as a fenced-off Meadow, into which some Couples are admitted, and others are not. Today, the United States has declared that the Meadow is more open than once it was, not granting a Right that did not previously exist, but permitting Access to a current one.

The Steampunk Vicar

Surprising absolutely no one, I am an avid Supporter of the equal Right to marry, within or without the Church. I cannot but rejoice in today’s Decision. I am unmoved by the Arguments opposed, save One.

I feel that in my Lifetime, Opposition to marriage Equality will fade until, like interracial Marriage and Coverture, such Objection lies upon the Ashheap of History. Today’s Decision does, indeed, force all the States to accede to the Will of a growing Majority of the Citizens nationwide, to the manifest legal Opinions of a Majority of Judges around the Nation, and to the Promptings of a Moral Law that argues, at its Core, for Justice and Fairness.

I am sorry, I think, though, that there is a Sense of an End to the Conversation – that the Supreme Court having ruled, no more is there to be said. I hope that I am wrong – that Conversations and Debates and Discussions and Democracy will go on in this Issue. I believe that I am right on Marriage Equality – I might be wrong. If ever I forget those two Facts, I will be on the dark Path to Error, and can only hope that I will in timely manner be corrected.

Benedictio Mandatumque

A Bit more than a Fortnight ago, two dear Friends of mine, Acquaintances exceeding ten Years, joined one Another in the Catholic Sacrament of Marriage. I was honored to be included as part of this holy Rite, serving as a Reader and Liturgist. I was, particularly, able to share the following – the Blessing and Charge to the Couple that I wrote for them both. I share it also with you, a Sample of the Sorts of Work that I do to ensure that your Wedding is a Moment not only of deep Meaning to you and yours, but also a Point of liturgical Beauty.

A Sample Blessing and Charge

Lord God of Heaven, Father of All, bless now your children, N. and N. Grant unto them the courage to be honest, the compassion to be generous, the strength to be just, and the love to endure all things. Secure them in their relationship with one another and in the life they will forge together. May they be partners in life, teammates in adversity, celebrants in triumph, and always refuges of safety and rest to one another.

N., N. Go from this place secure in the knowledge of love: your love for one another, the love of your families and friends, and the love of Jesus Christ for you both. Go from this place, and build the life that will glorify God and delight your hearts. Go, and be excellent to one another. In nomine Patri, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.