Monday, July 7, 2008

There has been a disturbance

[HT: Tim Harford] The BBC reports:

The Church of England says it is taking a complaint that a couple's young son was ordered out of their wedding for being noisy "very seriously".

Relatives of the couple complained to the Diocese of Lichfield after the two-year-old was apparently asked to leave the church in Fenton.

The Archdeacon of Stoke-on-Trent, the Venerable Godfrey Stone, is carrying out an investigation into the matter.

A spokesman said a report would be prepared before any action was taken.

Lichfield Diocese spokesman Gavin Drake said the complaint was made by relatives of the couple following their wedding last Saturday.

He said: "The Venerable Godfrey Stone has been asked to carry out a preliminary investigation and then the Bishop can decided what steps, if any, can by taken.

"It is a serious allegation. A wedding is a time of celebration and we want parents with children to feel welcome in church."
You know I can see this happening but I can also see it as unreasonable. Here is the thing: if you are organising a wedding, you have a choice -- children or no children, babies or no babies. So given that the organisers had allowed a toddler to attend -- for whatever reason (knowing the risks, parental blackmail, etc) -- then you have to expect that there might be a disturbance. Moreover, the chances are that it could not have been too serious. It is a rare situation whereby a parent would not remove their own child before an officiator intervenes as appears to be the case here.

When we got married we chose to have no children (attend the wedding); something that was our right. I now think that was a bad decision. There is something about the randomness of children that takes the edge off ceremonies like this. Let's face it, there is nothing better than a wayward 5 year old carrying a ring or some flowers to provide terrific memories.