I’m an Ordained Minister.

In my Secularisms and Atheisms class, students are reading Living the Secular Life. In one place, the author talks about the Universal Life Church that allows people to easily become ordained.

Curious, I Googled “Universal Life Church.” The website asks people to give their name, email address, country, and state. With this and a confirmation that this person is 18 years of age or older, the personal is immediately deemed an “ordained minister.”

It’s weird.

Being a minister with a click of the mouse.

But what does that really mean? Not much. At least not necessarily or immediately. The “Universal Life Church” is not a regular church—it’s a secular organization. It’s reputable and dates to 1962.

I quickly realized that such an organization has important purposes. In order to for two people to get married, for example, laws across the United States require that a minister or a judge (or in a few cases, an elected official) preside over the ceremony. People who don’t want to be married by a stranger or by religious doctrines are out of luck!

Enter the Universal Life Church, which certifies anyone as a minister and which works as an effective and legal way around theoretic laws. In the one week since I became a minister, I’ve heard over a dozen stories from friends about being or knowing someone who is a minster through the Universal Life Church in order to marry friends in non-religious ceremonies.

A need for people to help with important rituals in our society but focused on humanisms instead of theisms clearly exists. Maybe, I’ll get to help with that. 

Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda (or should it be Rev. Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda)