Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Legality of Online Ordination of Ministers

Ordained Minister

Many more couples are deciding to have a close friend become an ordained minister online to officate their wedding service. This could lead to a beautiful wedding, however in the past there have been questions raised about the legal status of ministers who hold online ordinations.

The majority of legal opinions are that clergy with Internet certificate are legally empowered to do weddings precisely comparable with a traditionally ordained clergy person. Anytime this legal status is challenged the ACLU vigorously defends online churches and our freedom of religion.

That said, there have been court case law that has made online minister credentials at least temporarily not legal. New York City had a long-standing case law that mail order ordinations from the Universal Life Church were not valid. This was recently reversed. The state of Utah at one time had state law that refused to recognize ministers ordinations that were not done face to face. This was challenged and changed in court. Also in Pennsylvania some county clerks refuse to recognize online ordinations. The American Civil Liberties Union is litigating this issue in each county in the state.

In every court proceeding our freedom of religion as stated in the US Constitution has led to the validation of online ordinations.

the Wall Street Journal reports that the average cost for a regular wedding minister is $228. Having some one ordained to perform the ceremony can save wedding couples a considerable amount of money for an already expensive event. There are a few US states that require additional verification before performing the wedding. Usually this a Letter of Good Standing from the church body and perhaps a signed Ordination Certificate.

The leading online churches for this service are the Universal Life Church, the American Fellowship Church and the Church of Spiritual Humanism. One of the churches for free ordinations is the Church of Spiritual Humanism. At this church's web page one can become an ordained minister online very quickly and without paying a fee. Any extra documents like ordination certificates requires the purchase of a modestly priced clergy pack.

So there you have it. There is no legally impediment to become an ordained minister and assisting your soon to be wed friends save some cash for their big day.

No comments:

Post a Comment