Atheism Religion

For the Benefits of Religion without Religion …

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[This just in an email from the skeptics:]

The Center for Inquiry is launching a Secular Celebrant Program!

CFI Secular Celebrant Training
December 5, 2009
Center for Inquiry Indiana
350 Canal Walk, Suite A, Indianapolis
Click here to register online.

Why a CFI Secular Celebrant Program?

As we move through life, we celebrate many occasions filled with joy and love, accomplishment and striving, loss and grief. Unfortunately, the choice of persons to conduct ceremonies for these occasions is usually between religious clergy and impersonal civil officials.

For the 16% of the U.S. population not affiliated with any religion,
this can be a traumatic experience.

They may be required to go through religious counseling and/or have religious references in their ceremony. They may be prevented from having their choice of music or readings as part of the ceremony. The local minister called on to conduct a funeral/memorial may preach a “come to Jesus” sermon or otherwise use religious references that are not in keeping with the worldview of the person being memorialized. Many of us have seen this done.

Wedding ceremonies, memorials, and other life passages are extremely important events—they are life’s milestones—and people should be able to have these ceremonies conducted in a manner and by a person of their choosing.

While some people of the secular worldview do not see a need for rituals and ceremonies of any kind, many feel that having a way of marking life passages is important. CFI feels that this is a personal choice and that secular ceremonies—and persons to conduct these ceremonies—should be available to those who want them.

Who can become a Secular Celebrant?

CFI Secular Celebrant Training is open to all, but additional steps are required of those wishing to receive CFI Secular Celebrant Certification and listing in the CFI Celebrant Directory.

Cost for all-day training workshop: $75.00


CFI Secular Celebrant Training in Indianapolis will be led by Reba Boyd Wooden, Executive Director of CFI Indiana, and Jim Underdown, Executive Director of CFI Los Angeles. Both have performed many dozens of ceremonies and have taught the art of secular celebrations to many others. They will be joined by John Shook, CFI Vice President and Senior Research Fellow, and D.J. Grothe, CFI Vice President and Director of Outreach Programs.

For more information, please visit the following links:

Registration Page
Conference Schedule and Lodging (Hurry! Special hotel rates expire 11/4/09)
CFI Certification and What This Certification Qualifies You to Do

We are excited about this new CFI program and look forward to meeting you in Indianapolis!

Reba Boyd Wooden, Executive Director, CFI Indiana
Jim Underdown, Executive Director, CFI Los Angeles

Co-directors, CFI Secular Celebrant Program

Questions? Call 317-423-0710 or email

11 Replies to “For the Benefits of Religion without Religion …

  1. 1
    tragic mishap says:

    lol. What’s with all the humor lately? I like it!

  2. 2
    Rude says:

    And whereas we’re fast becoming a socialist nation, and whereas secular humanism is the state religion, therefore these secular social celebrants should be trained and employed by the all powerful socialist state.

  3. 3
    tragic mishap says:

    Good point. Since this isn’t a religion, I wonder if Secular Celebrants will be allowed to do things like putting up paintings of Jesus that have been urinated on on public propterty?

  4. 4
    tyke says:

    And whereas we’re fast becoming a socialist nation…


    If you’d have grown up in the UK during the 60s and 70s like I did you might realize how ludicrous that statement is. America is probably the least socialist democratic nation on Earth and will continue to be so long after Obama is out of power. Listening to all this nonsense about ‘socialism’ coming from the right-wing since the last election, I am now thoroughly convinced that they don’t even know the meaning of the word.

  5. 5
    Graham says:

    ID is constantly (& strenuously) denying any links to religion, yet religion just keeps popping up, in topic after topic. Is this ‘serving the ID community’ ? Whats going on ?

  6. 6
    O'Leary says:

    Piffle? Here in Canada there is no difficulty finding secular celebrants. I’ve attended all too many of their piffle sermons at various cultural events (weddings, et cetera).

    Their problem is not lack of acceptance but lack of content.

    Also, under a “hate speech” regime, what you really find is – and it is happening in Canada – a Christian group was fined for refusing to host a lesbian wedding, but no one would ever dare try that at a mosque.

    Tell the piffle guys (oh, sorry, I meant “secular celebrants”) to try hosting a lesbian wedding at a mosque. My guess is they will vanish into the twilight, which would be a better idea.

    MY big question is not why Muslims do not put up with this, but why Christians do. Too many churches just sell out on their basic values. Why?

  7. 7
    deric davidson says:

    “but no one would ever dare try that at a mosque”

    homosexual causes are not worth dying for perhaps?

    One can slander Christian beliefs with impunity. The same cannot be said of such meekness existing within Islam.

  8. 8
    O'Leary says:

    deric davidson at 6,

    Just to clarify, as a free speech journalist, I do not care that some people choose to slander Christian beliefs. Anyone familiar with the history of “hate speech” laws in Canada (my country, wrong or wrong) will soon discover that such laws bend toward persecuting traditional Christians and exculpating others, whatever their interest (gay, radical Islam, who cares?).

    There is always some employee or contractor who can make a living out of it.

    If you are not a Christian, you can even hold “death to the Jews” marches in the streets of Toronto.

    No Christians I have ever heard of would hold one anyway, but others do. And you never hear a thing about it from the “human rights” establishment, which is busy with … hassling a Catholic bishop about who should be allowed to be an altar server or a comedian about which of his jokes are funny.

    Look, guys, this stuff is not – and never should have been – public business. It becomes so when out-of-control “human rights”, “anti-hate”, or “diversity” demands become objects of legislation.

    I really do not care if people want secular celebrants – but often way more is involved. It is all too often associated with campaigns that target traditional Christians. If you don’t believe me, believe Ezra Levant, an observant Jew who has made a special study of this problem.

    I wish I were this was only a nightmare, but I wake up to it every morning.

  9. 9
    Rude says:

    One trusts Tyke’s “Piffle!” isn’t a fizzle, that the citizens of the republic once again will rise up and rally for liberty over security, the individual over the collective, freedom of speech over political correctness. What is troubling, though, is that for a long time those values have been ridiculed in the academy, and in elite opinion are now viewed as aberations of the “far right”.

    Do the government schools teach respect for liberty? Do they value the Western Heritage? To they point out the evils of the Marxism that over a hunderd thousand of their fellow citizens died fighting? Do they explain how taxing the corporations means passing the bill on to the poor? Do they thus innoculate the citizenry against demoguery?


    Well the one room country school I attended so very long ago did.

    Yes, the USA has some of the best grad schools in the world. But if the whole system, from K through post doc, is corrupted inasmuch as our civilization is either demeaned or left undefended, then there is need to worry for, as a wise man once said, Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    I prefer the “religion” where God reaches down, touches a heart and changes a life:

    A walk to remember – Only hope – Music video

  11. 11
    O'Leary says:

    Rude at 9, yes, and don’t think Canucks are not fighting back.

    We invented ice hockey.

    Our problem is that our persecutors are on the public payroll, so our own tax money and extra-constitutional [Trudeau-era] laws now front them (which will shortly happen in the US too).*

    That’s like giving the government ten players and us citizens only five and then withdrawing our goal tender but leaving theirs.

    Look, Canada is NOT full of bigots and racists.

    Canada is not full of anybody actually. We troll the whole world for immigrants.

    All we traditional Canadians ever say is, please leave your ethnic hatreds behind. We don’t know what happened back there and can’t deal with it. If you want to make a fresh start here, great. If you want to to pursue a grievance or a revolution, please choose somewhere else to live.

    If you end up in conflict with the law here, you will be dealing with local law enforcement who don’t know any more than I do, and (I hope) deal with you under English Common Law.

    If you live here and they didn’t do that, write me. I care. English Common Law is the best contribution the English-speaking peoples ever made to the world.

    *The horrid “human rights” abuse is not happening under English Common Law. The human rights commissions are exempt from it. If they were not exempt, they probably would not even exist.

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