Bahai News - Blessed Arrangements Forum On Faith To Discuss Issues Of Intermarriage
Blessed Arrangements Forum On Faith To Discuss Issues Of
ENCINO - Is it possible for a Jew and a Bahai to get married in a Lutheran
church? The answer to this and similar questions can be posed at the San
Fernando Valley Interfaith Council's presentation of "What My Faith
Tradition Tells Me About Inter-Marriage" on Sunday.
The discussion will be held on two consecutive Sundays and will explore
various combinations of intermarriage, including marriages that cross
religious, racial, ethnic or cultural lines.
"It's amazing the amount of money and planning that is put into the wedding
ceremony by couples, but there's no planning for their future life
together," said the Rev. Jeffrey Nelson, who will be one of the four
speakers at the event. "They haven't even considered seeking premarital
Various fears, not just a time factor, may be the reason why couples decline
premarital counseling. Nelson believes that a preconceived notion that he
will "sit in judgment" regarding couples living together before marriage
might turn people away. But fear of discussing sensitive issues or issues
they don't see eye to eye on may be other factors.
Nelson may not have been asked specifically if a Jew and a Bahai could get
married at his Van Nuys church, Christ the King Lutheran Church. But he
fields plenty of calls from couples "calling cold" as they search for a
pastor and a site for their ceremony.
"Usually they call me when they don't have a home church. But when they hear
that I require a number of sessions for premarital work, they call someone
else," Nelson said.
Meeting the challenges of interfaith marriage and learning how he can help
couples plan for a successful future life are two of the topics that Nelson
will bring up during his presentation.
"I've seen interracial and intercultural marriages work. When two come from
different cultures, respecting and honoring each other's traditions can add
a lot to a marriage. They have the potential to grow in their own faiths,"
Nelson said. "There are far more problems with marriages between different
religions or marriage between a nonbeliever and a believer. A Christian
marrying an atheist is probably the most difficult marriage because there's
the intolerance factor."
Robert Merrill, a spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, will be speaking about interracial marriage and being married in
the Mormon faith.
"The Mormon church doesn't really have a policy for or against interracial
marriage. We regard weddings as a very sacred ceremony. The main goal for
members of the LDS church is to be married in a temple, like the one over
the hill (on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Los Angeles) or in San Diego,"
Merrill said. "Our faith encourages couples to both be members of the LDS
church before getting married."
Rabbi Jim Kaufman of Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village is planning to
focus his presentation on the definition of interfaith marriage and how the
different branches of Judaism view intermarriage.
"There are different strategies nationally. Some discourage it but some
wholeheartedly embrace the idea (of interfaith marriage). The goal of this
evening is to broaden people's knowledge. Any opportunity I get to educate
people I accept wholeheartedly," Kaufman said.
A representative from the Bahai faith will also take part in the discussion.
After each presentation, there will be a discussion by the panelists
followed by questions from the audience.
The "What My Faith Tells Me About Inter-Marriage" discussion will be held
at 7 p.m. Sunday. The second part, with representatives from Roman Catholic,
Jewish, Methodist and Islamic faiths, will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 27. Both
presentations will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, 5338 White Oak Ave., Encino. Call (818) 718-6460.
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