Last week I posted an exploratory paper called Civil Marriage, Uncivil Times by The Reverend Canon Mark Rudolph, about whom you can learn here, who the rector of Saint John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Abington, Pennsylvania. You can see the aforesaid post here. The basic thrust of the paper is the movement of Christian clergy away from issuing civil marriage licenses and merely conducting Christian (i.e.: religious) marriages.
Fr. Rudolph drafted this paper as its proposition gains steam in American Christendom. Indeed, just recently Philadelphia Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput suggested that the Church get out of the civil marriage business (see here).
Apparently Fr. Rudolph and Arbp. Chaput are onto something as the idea that Christian clergy discontinue issuing civil marriage licenses has gained traction in other Christian circles. Jonathan Meritt in On Faith & Culture reports here that this idea is becoming more than just a merely theoretical action to be taken. Indeed, First Things has now issued a so-called “marriage pledge” calling and challenging Christian clergy to withdraw from issuing civil marriages. You can see the pledge here. Of course, there are also Christian clergy who wish to slow down this movement a little in order to allow for more time for discernment, and you can read about that here.
So, needless to say, this is a very interesting development and I will be following it and reporting on it here so please stay tuned!