This story ran on my local TV news station tonight.
You can also watch the video here.
I pasted it here so as to add my own commentary.
It's a little sarcastic at times, but I think you will get the point.
Perform a wedding... bury the dead... or exorcise evil spirits -- legally. With the click of your computer mouse you can become ordained - even if you're a convicted felon.
[You need legal clearance to do exorcisms? Uh-oh.]
Religious freedom advocates applaud online ordinations.
[No, people who disrespect organized religions applaud]
Local ministers are appalled. [Yes we are.]
As far as the state of Wisconsin is concerned, you can be ordained online or at the Vatican. Both ordinations are treated the same way. [Isn't this just another case of the law not being able to keep up with technology?]
Richard Antolovich and his girlfriend Sage Skye say they are called to serve. They both went on line and with a few mouse clicks became ordained ministers. No ministerial school. No training.
[Oh, but they heard the little voice! I think I feel called to be... I don't know.... a brain surgeon. SCALPEL, NURSE!]
But now they are able to perform weddings, council the mentally ill... Do all the things traditional ministers do. [Being outraged by various outrageous things? And it's spelled counsel, not council. Those are the monthly church meetings. Now they can do those too, I guess.]
"Back when God was around [WHAT?] when he chose his apostles they didn't go to school either. [No, they just learned from the GREATEST TEACHER WHO EVER LIVED FOR THREE YEARS.] They had the calling and they took it. That's how I feel," ordained minister Richard Antolovich says. [Well we're so glad you FEEL IT]
Sage agrees. "This I saw as a way to extend my spirituality to others and branch out and learn and grow on my own."
Richard explained he feels a calling. "I'm now able to have some credentials [False ones]. When people hear you're a minister they don't immediately ask, 'well what school did you go to?' They just know that you're a minister." [Maybe now they will have to start asking]
That's exactly what worries ministers like David Dragseth, who spent four years studying to become a Lutheran minister. [Um, that would be four years of seminary, after his four years of undergraduate. This guy is a local ELCA pastor. Of course don't expect the news to ever say what kind of Lutheran]
"It's appalling. It's degrading to those of us who devoted our lives to the deep seriousness of these callings and the deep professional training that it takes," he says. [Yeah. Make these people suffer through Greek and Hebrew. And pay the tuition too.]
And it could be more than degrading, he says. It could be dangerous. "Let's say for example that your child was suicidal and you were to go to a counselor thinking full well that the counselor is trained to deal with someone who's suicidal and then all of a sudden you discover that that person simply received that authorization by just clicking a button on the internet?" Dragseth adds. [Good point.]
Richard and Sage are ministers in the Universal Life Church. They both went online and were ordained almost immediately.
They have official credentials. And the ULC Web site sells parking placards and the right to call yourself everything from bishop to a doctor of immortality. [This farce of a "church" is the same outfit that ordained Mr. Newdow, who sued to get the phrase "under God" taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance.]
"Should you have more training than what you receive from clicking a button on line and being able to do all these things?" we asked.
Richard agrees some research is needed. "I believe you should do some research. You should do some reading... buy some books... whatever you can do to understand the mission of the church. You shouldn't go into this blindly." [Yes. First you should Google "Sham Christianity" and read this Wikipedia article.]
He's even performed a wedding. "Just because I didn't go to ministerial school for 2 or 3 or 4 years doesn't make me any less spiritual than say... the pope," Richard believes. [There's that fun word, "spiritual". On my top-ten list of words I plan to eliminate from the English language when I get elected king of the world. Wait... maybe instead of getting elected, I can just go online for that....]
Pastor Dragseth thinks it's all outrageous. "My daughter hope is 10-months-old and could be ordained instantly. Right now... five minutes from now, she could get the little ministry in the box and have her little clergy parking pass so that we could park in handicapped parking spaces all over the city. It really angers me." [What angers me is that I don't have one of those passes! Do they really get to do that in Milwaukee???]
Richard says he can still be a good minister. "I may not have had the same schooling. I may not be as smart. But one thing you can really be sure of; I care. I genuinely care." [And that's all that matters.]
Online ordinations are recognized in Wisconsin. And some online ministers have actually started their own congregations. [Kyrie Eleison and Come Quickly, Lord Jesus!]