Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Declaration – a Babylon 5 Wedding Reading

Back when I was preparing for my wedding I was looking for a secular reading. I saw all the usual ones you may have heard, as well as some lesser-known ones. I looked for something that meant something to me, I searched for ‘nerdy’ wedding readings (and the like), but nothing ever seemed to fit.

Finally I found one I liked and used, but I never found one I loved. Roll on a few years and I came across the odd post online about people using a version of G’kar’s “Declaration of Principles” as written by J Michael Straczynski and realised how close it fit for what I would have liked to have said at my wedding.

For those of you not familiar with the series, the declaration is written for the newly-formed “Interstellar Alliance” (something like the Federation in Star Trek), by G’Kar – a warrior/philosopher.

However, I’ve not seen any of these modified versions anywhere. The original speech is from episode s05e03 – “The Paragon of Animals” and is as follows:

***

ISA Declaration of Principles by J Michael Straczynski

The universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice.
The language is not Narn, or Human, or Centauri, or Gaim or Minbari
It speaks in the language of hope
It speaks in the language of trust
It speaks in the language of strength and the language of compassion
It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul.
But always it is the same voice
It is the voice of our ancestors, speaking through us,
And the voice of our inheritors, waiting to be born
It is the small, still voice that says
We are one
No matter the blood
No matter the skin
No matter the world
No matter the star:
We are one
No matter the pain
No matter the darkness
No matter the loss
No matter the fear
We are one
Here, gathered together in common cause, we agree to recognize this singular truth and this singular rule:
That we must be kind to one another
Because each voice enriches us and ennobles us and each voice lost diminishes us.
We are the voice of the Universe, the soul of creation, the fire that will light the way to a better future.
We are one.

***

It’s performed memorably in the episode by both Bruce Boxlietner and Andreas Katsulas as John Sheridan and G’Kar respectively, their fabulous performance can be seen below. I apologise for the clip quality:

Now I realise for those doing a completely nerdy wedding, the declaration might be considered sacred and should not to be changed. However I felt that such wonderful ideas and sentiments would benefit everyone if they could be used more widely.

To this end I conducted a few edits to remove some of the fictional names (the human languages now included¬†are the most spoken in the world) and the more ‘cosmic’ elements to provide a more¬†secular reading for weddings. So with apologies to Mr Straczynski, what follows is my edited version, the punctuation is edited to produce a flow somewhat like Andreas Katsulas’s delivery, but you can adjust or edit it further to suit your style:

***

The Declaration of Principles by J Michael Straczynski
(Edited by N Clatworthy)

The universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice.
The language is not English, or Mandarin, or Spanish, or Hindi or Arabic.

It speaks in the language of hope.
It speaks in the language of trust.
It speaks in the language of strength and the language of compassion.
It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul.
But always, it is the same voice

It is the voice of our ancestors, speaking through us,
And the voice of our inheritors, waiting to be born.

It is the small, still voice that says:

We, are, one.

No matter the blood,
No matter the skin,
No matter the race,
No matter the country:

We are one.

No matter the pain,
No matter the darkness,
No matter the loss,
No matter the fear:

We are one.

Here, gathered together in common cause, we can agree to recognize this
singular truth and this singular rule:

That we must be kind to one another

Because each voice enriches us and ennobles us and each voice lost
diminishes us.
We are the voice of the Universe, the soul of creation, the fire
that will light the way to a better future.

We are one.

***

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