Posts Tagged As: Universal Life Church

Your Mail Order Ally

Timothy Kincaid

April 16th, 2009

You’ve probably don’t recognize the name of the Universal Life Church, but you have heard of them and may even know one of its ministers. The ULC is that organization that will ordain you as minister for free over the internet without any religious training or belief requirements.

What you may not know is that this church is not a gimmick. They are a real church with real congregants and a real belief system. And part of their beliefs are that everyone is ordained by God to be a minister and that your religious values and ideals – as long as they are not violent – are as valid as anyone else’s (though much of their ministry has the language and a theological association with Christian traditions). Which is why they have for decades been providing mail-order ordination.

For the most part, the ULC has been non-political, entering into the fray only when the rights of their ministers or ministry have been challenged. But now the ULC has a cause that they believe is worth fighting for: you.

The Universal Life Church Monastery ( has announced a legal defense campaign that will take action in all states that have enacted unconstitutional same-sex sacramental marriage restraints. The Universal Life Church Monastery reports that “States that deny ministers the religious right to perform the sacrament of marriage, regardless of the couple’s sexual orientation, do so in violation of the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution.”

It’s not clear what actions, if any, that the ULC will engage in. But it is encouraging that they have begun to look into the constitutionality of states denying recognition of sacraments solely based on the doctrines of those denied.

I’ve long felt that laws which recognize the marriage sacraments of the local Southern Baptist Church but refuse to recognize those of the local Congregational Church were likely in violation of the Constitution. But because more people attend churches that are anti-gay (including legislators), they feel comfortable in declaring that pro-gay churches should be denied equality under the law.

And this has become even more clear to me when I note that nearly all of the argument in favor of excluding same-sex marriages performed by a Congregational Church were based on religious doctrine. Virtually all of those who stand to speak in opposition to marriage equality do so motivated by the desire to encode their religious doctrines into law.

This isn’t the first time churches have objected to inequality. More than a few Unitarian Universalist or United Church of Christ ministers have announced that they would not solemnize opposite-sex marriages for as long as the state banned them from solemnizing same-sex marriages.

So I’ve been waiting for the day when a denomination would announce that they were going to court to sue for religious freedom. I just was kinda was hoping that it would be the United Methodists or the UCC rather than the church of mail-order ministers.


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