Contrary to popular belief, the phrases “dearly beloved, we have come together…” and “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” can’t be found in the Bible. Wedding and death ceremonies have pilfered their terminology from The Book of Common Prayer (ASCII). There’s some other good stuff too. In fact, from a boiler plate approach, the Book of Common Prayer precedes the World War I form letter (the latter well documented in Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory). Good to get used to this sort of stuff (and realize exactly where it comes from), in the event that Bush wins a second term. Although if anyone can help me with the origin of “Burn in hell, sinner,” I’d appreciate it.
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