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Ask the Patriarch 237
Ordain me under an obviously fake name

from: Moloch Baal

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Background: Yesterday I received two requests for ordination, both under clearly fake names. One from an Arthur Dent* I trashed because the requested City and Country information were also clearly false. The other, from a so-called Moloch Baal, I replied to him pointing out that while Moloch Baal was the name of an obscure French band, it was not the applicant's real name and if he wanted ordination he should apply under his real name. The following is the response and my reply:

I'd rather not use my real name.
I've been using the Alias "Moloch Baal" on the internet for a long time.

I'm kind of funny about ID theft and all that jazz so I refuse to use RL identifying information when doing things online.

If that discounts me from obtaining an ordination certificate from your group then so be it.

I have principles that I shall not compromise.

The Patriarch replies:

Dear whoever(?):

I too have principles I will not compromise, and that includes not knowingly undermining the value of the ordinations I have already issued, and those I will issue in future.

Your excuse for provision of a false name amounts to "I don't trust you at all, so I'm asking you to waste your time preparing a document for me which would then be useless for its intended purpose.

An ordination certificate issued in the name of Moloch Baal could bring no benefit to this organization; such a document could, on the other hand, be used against us based solely on that name. It would give ammunition to those who object to this organization. There are already enough idiots out there who equate the various legitimate forms of disbelief with devil worship. To me, your request seems just as likely to have originated from a particularly moronic Sunday School teacher seeking evidence for such a belief as it would to have originated from someone with an overblown concern for internet security.

Further, issuing such a document would make a mockery of our ordination process. Ordination has legal ramifications, particularly in the US where you live and where in most jurisdictions it permits the clergyperson to perform legitimate legally binding marriages. Numerous marriages have been performed by our clergy. As ordination has real life implications, we require a real life legal name. We don't want individuals hiding behind aliases.

If you want a useless ordination certificate under a false name to hang on your wall, apply to the Universal Life Church. Their process is automated and there is no screening. While my screening is by no means perfect, I believe eliminating obvious fake applications adds legitimacy to the ordinations of real applicants.

John Tyrrell
(My real name which I have no problem putting on the Internet.)

Note:

* There are certainly real people out there named Arthur Dent and I would be hard pressed to deny anyone ordination simply because they applied under that name. However, as neither the city nor the country identified as place of residence exist, rejection was justified.