Remember Kate and Erik…? August 27, 2010

Remember Kate and Erik…?

Kate is an atheist, Erik is a Christian, and for years now, they’ve been dating. A couple years ago, I wrote about how that worked and what the reaction was like from their families.

Last year, they got engaged

And last week, they got married 🙂

The sunglasses are badass. I approve.

So, was it a religious ceremony or a Humanist one? Kate writes in an email:

The ceremony was co-officiated by my minister (a female UU minister) and Erik’s minister (of his liberal Christian church). As for language, we struck a compromise with sticking to the word “God” (not Jesus) and I’m a little biased, but everyone — all of his conservative family, all of my liberal friends, atheists, everyone — commented afterward at what a beautiful ceremony it was, and no one seemed to notice the lack of strong religious language. We think it was because the ceremony focused on us, and not Jesus, and yet language of God was woven into the background. We were both thrilled with how it turned out.

Now, that’s compromise for you. (Aren’t happy beginnings awesome?)

I still think their first child should be named Hemant.

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  • Justin

    I was there! And yes, it was beautiful.

    You also can’t see it from the photo, but the church has a statue of Robert E. Lee near the front entrance.

  • Esperanza

    Great story, great compromise! And Hemant is a fine name;-)

  • Congratulations!

    May good fortune be with you.

  • bigjohn756

    Hemant, how do think a girl would feel going thru life with a moniker like Hemant?

  • “I still think their first child should be named Hemant.”

    Why? To prevent you from eating it? 🙂

  • WishinItWas

    Im in a 5yr relationship with my GF who is Greek Orthodox, herself and her family are religious but very liberal. From what I observe they embrace the “big family” aspect of their religion and are respectful of my Atheism (so far :P)

    I can only hope we can compromise on a ceremony like this one, It sounds like a great balance, congrats to the couple

  • Sackbut

    I’m very happy for them. They worked out a compromise that was acceptable to both of them, and it had the additional benefit of not ruffling feathers (too much!) for the families involved. Congratulations.

    I wonder what kinds of compromises might be needed by a couple in which the atheist member of the couple did not have a minister and was not a member of UU (or HJ or any other organization providing ritual without explicit theism), and for whom mentions of gods were not acceptable. My Catholic wife and I were married at City Hall, with no family in attendance, but that’s not going to fly for too many couples, I suspect, particularly young couples and first marriages.

  • Richard Wade

    I wish them happiness. If they have a girl, Hemantine would be a lovely name. 😉 Her friends could call her Hemmy. I forsee a successful career in auto racing.

  • Ron in Houston

    I’m glad Erik and Kate were able to reach a compromise on this issue.

    However, Erik, while Kate sounds awesome and the kind of person who is quite reasonable, I want to give you two words of advice that have worked well for me:


  • Claudia

    Congratulations to the happy couple 🙂

  • I wish all marriages (religious or not) focused on the couple. Last year I was at a religious wedding for my cousin, and the entire time I felt like the preacher was trying to proselytize. I visibly got angry when he mentioned that ‘only marriages done in the eyes of god count’ and ‘people who don’t get married in a church are doomed to divorce.’ Drove me crazy, is this a wedding or a church service?

    Anyway – looks like they had a great time, and wish them all the happiness in the world in their coming future!

  • I wonder what kinds of compromises might be needed by a couple in which the atheist member of the couple did not have a minister and was not a member of UU (or HJ or any other organization providing ritual without explicit theism)…

    When I got married, I was fortunate that my nominally Christian fiancee was not involved with a church at the time. We found a local minister for hire to perform the ceremony and rented out a local mansion and had the ceremony and reception all at the same place. We invited everybody we knew and all had a good time. I don’t think God was mentioned at all or if so only very briefly.

    Marriage can work between just two people. For me, 15 years and counting. You don’t need that Jesus guy in bed with you hogging all the sheets.

  • allison

    Congratulations to the happy couple!! Kate and Erik, you look wonderful. I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness together. 🙂

  • That’s not a compromise. That’s a religious wedding.

    As long as Kate’s fine with it, it doesn’t matter to me what kind of ceremony they had, but let’s not pretend using “the language of God” is any kind of compromise. It was a liberal ceremony, but it still invoked one very specific deity. Just because they didn’t mention Jesus doesn’t make it any less religious.

    Congrats to the couple, though. I wish them happiness. I’m sure Kate’s willingness to compromise will serve her well, considering that she’ll probably be doing a lot more of it if they decide to have children.

  • I’ve been curious for a while, how do you pronounce your name Hemant? Is it [?he??mant], [?h?m?t] or something else entirely?

    (Hemant says: HEH-mint 🙂 )

  • Thanks 🙂 I tried to put IPA pronunciations, but I guess your blog couldn’t recognise the characters.

  • Priscilla a.ka.Kate’s mom

    It was a beautiful service. These two will go far in their relationship because they have learned tolerance and compromise early on. Many couples get married without ever encountering disagreement. Then when the giddiness of the new love dies down, they discover they have no skills to deal with difficult issues. Kate and Erik have have learned to deal with it right from the beginning!! I couldn’t be happier for the two of them.

    My first grandchild, Hemant…? I am going to have to “digest” that one. Haha. At least I have a few years in which to do it.

  • well, f*ck it. this is the atheist blog, after all.

    marriage is stupid. or rather, i get annoyed by how much effort people put into the ceremony; the hard work comes after. yes, i’m bitter and divorced and all that and no one should listen to me. but when i go to the gay blogs i read, and it’s all “marriage equality, eleventy111!!!” i get sort of annoyed. throw a party, wear a nice dress. i do that all the time, this occasion is “special,” why, again? sorry, you only impress me at the other end of 40 years of raising 3 kids none of whom end up in prison or dead, surviving a war and a depression, and actually being “faithful.” 99% of marriages fail in that regard.

    anyway, my general contempt for marriage aside, i have to agree with Anna. this is your typical american liberal “compromise,” in which that word means “the liberal agrees to shut up and do what the conservative wants, with a smile.” i wish them well, i really do. marriage is hard, and i hope religion doesn’t come between them. many other things will try, like money and babies, so they won’t have a shortage of challenges.

    still, i think of one of my sisters. actually, i think of both of them. sis #1 married a real, honest to gawd Christian. i only capitalize that word and type it out for people like him. which is rarely. but he really does “pray (only) in secret” and gives 10% and more of his income to charity, and doesn’t judge people and their lifestyles. he’s an amazing man, for all he’s a brick wall on the argument about why the 10 commandments deserve to be in a court house, but not anything from the Vedas. sis #2 is married to a fellow atheist, and uses the hammer of “you’ll never see your grandkids again” over his fundie parents, who suck donkey balls.

    but i just don’t know. it’s going to be so hard, for sis #1, to raise the kids. dad is a great guy, but how is she going to put my nephew to bed, and say, “that story your dad just read you? i think it’s total poppycock?” eventually, that’s going to happen. i love my family and we never lie to our children. the day is coming when one or both parents in sis #1’s family have to fight that out, in front of the kids. it’s going to be ugly. i hope this couple figures out a way to do that which won’t destroy the family or marriage. forgive me for being such a downer, but this is a reality i’m seeing up close, right now. out of the 7 weddings in which i’ve been maid of honor/best whatever, the one that failed the fastest was between a liberal, reformed believer and an atheist. just sayin.

  • Marcel Kincaid

    That’s not a compromise. That’s a religious wedding.

    Exactly so. If she’s willing to have lies told at her wedding that’s her business, but let’s not engage in them ourselves. It’s like saying that “In God we trust” on money is secular and not a violation of separation of church and state because it doesn’t mention Jesus.

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