I recently read a surprising article about a Swedish couple who, on their wedding day, walked into church, only to be told by the vicar that she would not let the brides father walk her down the aisle:
“In Sweden we have worked hard in many different ways to eliminate everything that is unequal,” a Lutheran Church vicar in the Stockholm region, Yvonne Hallin, told AFP.
She said she would not allow the custom in her parish, and noted that Stockholm’s bishop issued a recommendation in 2003 that pastors discourage it.
Couples who marry “are equal when it comes to finances, politics, values … but when they come to the church … the woman suddenly turns into a man’s property,” she said. – [Yahoo/AFP]
I’m sorry people. I am all about equality, womens rights, and marriage uniting two equal halves into sacred whole, but to be perfectly honest, this sounds to me like a bunch of passive-aggressive feminist manure. I’m really sorry if you find my view of this offensive. I really am. But marriage is a religious tradition, that has nothing to do with secular ideas of feminism, or cultural relevancy.
If you are Christian, it is more than that, it is a sacred tradition that binds two people together in holy matrimony. No Christian woman who enters into marriage today does so with the intention of being “sold” to her husband. And if you want to get theological about it, Marriage is a ceremony based purely on biblical principles, and even though the bible asks wives to “honor and obey” their husbands, husbands are equally required to “fulfill their marital duties to their wives” and even more importantly, to “love their wives as they love themselves”. It says nothing about “ownership”.
Somehow militant feminists conveniently always dismiss, gloss over or even ignore those other parts of the bible. Marriage is what the married parties make of it, not the priest, not the bishop, not even the Pope. What’s even worse is that this pastor started spouting more nonsense about how the father walking the daughter down the aisle is some American / British movie tradition, etc., etc., etc… ad nauseum. What?
What in the name of all that is holy does that have to do with anything? There are so many traditions, in many countries, that have their roots in the influence of other cultures, that this is one of the most asinine arguments I have ever heard. I am no clergyman, but this sounded a whole lot like this vicar was using her position as some sort of feminist soapbox. And honestly, who cares where it came from?
Fathers have different relationships with their daughters than they do with their sons. Not better, not worse, not unequal. Just different. Fathers feel a lot of different things about their daughters getting married, and walking them down the aisle has become a rite of closure, of letting go, for them. It doesn’t matter where it came from, it serves a practical purpose, and just because someone disagrees with it doesn’t give anyone the right to tell someone else they can’t do it.
She kept talking about equality, and at the same time she was blatantly trampling over the rights of every single member of that marriage party, the mother, the father, the bride, the groom, everyone, in the name of “Equality”. Yeah. That’s real equal. Your beliefs trumps their beliefs because you are the pastor. Hogwash!
And what was even more appalling to me was that she waited until their wedding day, probably knowing full well that the father expected to walk his daughter down the aisle, to tell them that she wouldn’t allow it. I think that was just manipulative, petty and childish. And unbecoming of a woman of the cloth. Absolutely unbelievable.
I’m done. Time to get off my soapbox…