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Faith: Woman marries herself

By UWE SIEMON-NETTO, UPI Religion Editor   |   March 12, 2003 at 5:49 PM
WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- For Jennifer Hoes, a Dutch student, May 28 will be a doubly exciting day. She'll turn 30, and she'll be a blushing bride -- plus her own groom. In the Trouwzaal, or wedding room, of the City Hall of Haarlem in the Netherlands, Jennifer will marry herself.

Bedecked in a wedding gown studded with 200 perfect latex copies of her own nipples, Jennifer will appear before Ruud Grondel, Haarlem's registrar, and promise to "love, respect and honor" herself in good times and in bad, according to Dutch and German newspaper reports.

Then Jennifer, her mother, her uncle, aunts, cousins and some other 80 relatives will indulge in a $22,000 wedding feast. That done, Jennifer's wedding garment, studs included, will wind up in the show window of the shop that manufactured it free of charges.

Jennifer pretty much acknowledges that hers will be the quintessential postmodern union. "We live in a 'Me' society. Hence it is logical that one promises to be faithful to oneself," she told a reporter of Der Spiegel, the leading German newsmagazine.

This leaves of course a number of unanswered questions: Will she fall for the postmodern rage and adopt a double-barreled name -- Jennifer Hoes-Hoes, for example? And what if she ceases to like herself -- will divorce be an option, and which Hoes will get the car?

Indeed, what if she should fall in love with somebody else deeply enough to wed him -- must she first send herself packing? In case she doesn't but still says, "I do," to the guy, would this be considered an act of bigamy? Could she go to jail for that? "There's room for two rings of my finger," she said.

In more ways than one, Jennifer ought to be congratulated. Intentionally or unintentionally, she is taking the Mickey out of a nutty society determined to deconstruct matrimony, a state most religions and cultures have since time immemorial held up as holy and essential for the health of communities and nations.

To be sure, Jennifer's auto-marriage will be a secular event. But, rest assured, it won't be long before some churches and synagogues will give such unions their blessing. To paraphrase Malcolm Muggeridge, there is no cause mad enough not to enlist the services of demented clergymen strumming their guitars.

Think of those Dutch, Danish, German and indeed American clerics asking men and men and women and women to kiss each other after they appeared with white carnations in their lapels before the altar. Think of the pastors sealing these unions with the sign of the cross.

Think of Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ, who in the year 2000 withdrew his signature from an interdenominational "Marriage Declaration" defining matrimony as a union between a man and a woman.

At their ordination, all these ministers promised to uphold Scripture, which makes it very clear that marriage between man and woman is an order of creation. It an essential element in man's role as God's cooperator in the ongoing process of creation.

Seen from the monotheistic perspective, Jennifer's "marriage" is the quintessence of idolatry; it is a bow before what Christopher Hershman, a pastor and psychologist in Allentown, Pa., calls the "postmodern Trinity": Me, Myself and I.

Jennifer doesn't say, but perhaps she got the idea of marrying herself after years of observing same-sex pairs of seemingly identical twins all over the place. If so, she is to be commended. What better way mock a culture, which is so much into itself that its generally youthful exponents -- their mobile phones glued to their ears -- keep banging into you in the street because they simply do not see you unless you look precisely like them.

Whatever folly visits Holland will soon cross the Atlantic. That's a rule of thumb. One shudders to think of the ornaments on the wedding gowns worn at one-person weddings and then exhibited in American malls.

By God, if any mad event underscores the need for a federal amendment declaring marriage as a union solely between a man and a woman -- an amendment introduced in Congress in 2001 -- Jennifer Hoes's wedding will certainly fit the bill.

Look at Haarlem, the Netherlands, on May 28, and sniff the postmodern rot. This might well become America's future -- or, rather, no future at all.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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