Friedrich Nietzsche once made a memorable complaint about the ubiquity of clergy:
What happened? Simply this: the priest had formulated, once and for all time and with the strictest meticulousness, what tithes were to be paid to him, from the largest to the smallest (–not forgetting the most appetizing cuts of meat, for the priest is a great consumer of beefsteaks); in brief, he let it be known just what he wanted, what “the will of God” was…. From this time forward things were so arranged that the priest became indispensable everywhere; at all the great natural events of life, at birth, at marriage, in sickness, at death, not to say at the “sacrifice” (that is, at meal-times), the holy parasite put in his appearance, and proceeded to denaturize it — in his own phrase, to “sanctify” it…. For this should be noted: that every natural habit, every natural institution (the state, the administration of justice, marriage, the care of the sick and of the poor), everything demanded by the life-instinct, in short, everything that has any value in itself, is reduced to absolute worthlessness and even made the reverse of valuable by the parasitism of priests. [emphases in original]
The Antichrist, §26
I was reminded of that passage by this story, which I consider a healthy development.
Bovarnick and Convery, who live in the District, opted for what is known as a “self-uniting marriage”: a ceremony in which one member of the couple getting married acts as the officiant. In their case, it was Bovarnick, meaning he signed the light-blue piece of paper provided by D.C. Superior Court. (He has “a much better signature,” Convery explained.)
This kind of wedding is legal in a handful of states, including Colorado and Pennsylvania, and the marriages are legally recognized everywhere.
The District began allowing self-uniting marriages in 2014. Although the D.C. Marriage Bureau said it does not track the number of self-uniting marriages performed in the District, wedding planner Starlene Joyner Burns said they have risen in popularity.
Good. Clergy contribute nothing to marriage but their insistence that marriage is about growing their ridiculous club, which is why evangelicals have the highest divorce rate in society.