Religion is still important in the Wiesner family

BY FREDA MIKLIN
GOVERNMENTAL REPORTER

From left to right: Brodyn, Charlie, Paul, Heidi and Luke Wiesner   

While much of this country is trending in the other direction, Greenwood Village City Council Member Paul Wiesner and his wife Heidi still believe that religion is important.

When we discovered that the Wiesners recently renewed their vows in a ceremony at All Souls Catholic Church in which they received the sacrament of marriage, we wanted to know what led to the decision to take that step at this time.

Paul told us that he and Heidi had always wanted a Catholic wedding but there were requirements they weren’t able to fulfill to enter a sacramental union when they were legally married in 2006. It remained an important goal in their lives for personal as well as family reasons.  They decided to take this step now because, as parents, it was important to them to set a good example for their 15-year-old son Brodyn, a freshman at Arapahoe High School, who, his father shared, “is following his older brothers’ legacy as a swimmer.” 

Wiesner is also the father of two older boys. Charlie, 24, lives in Denver and is a graduate of the University of Alabama. He works for a major oil company confirming trades and compliance protocols. 

Luke, 22, is a senior at Savannah College of Arts and Design. He plans to continue his education at University of Twente in The Netherlands, where he will work toward a Master of Philosophy in Science and Technology with a focus on ethics in technology. 

Both young men are eligible bachelors, their proud dad added. We asked him what advice he gives his older sons about dating. He said he told them, “Treat your girlfriend with the utmost respect and patience and honesty because this is what you expect from her. New relationships, especially those that are driven by the emotions of love and attraction are full of anticipation, excitement, and trepidation. It is the first time that we share our inner selves with someone who is not just a friend.  It can be as terrifying as it is exhilarating.  Will she like me? Will she hurt my feelings?  Can I trust her with my deepest thoughts and dreams?  She is as nervous and as excited as you about being accepted or rejected.  If the relationship does not last, try to end it with respect and care.”

We also asked Paul what he believes makes a strong marriage. He told us, “Love. Not love as an emotion that fills the mind as in the elations of courtship.  It is love as a deep unity maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit. Love reinforced by the grace that both partners ask and receive from God as described by C.S. Lewis. Understanding this makes for a strong marriage.  Feelings wax and wane but the commitment to the promise, the fortitude to work together, and the grace received by God makes marriage strong and everlasting. The feeling of love is the spark that starts the fire that leads to this deeper love, and it is this understanding of deeper love that makes marriage work.”

Did he have a personal message for Heidi during this week of Valentine’s Day? He told us, “I want Heidi to know that I will always be by her side, through the ups and downs we will be walking together. Sometimes I will be leaning on her and sometimes she on me.  But we will be together bound by our commitment, our promise, our deep unity and with the grace of God.” 

A poll taken across the U.S. by Gallup last summer found that 47% of Americans identify as religious, down from 54% in 1999. Gallup found that one-third of all Americans described themselves as spiritual, in that they believe in fate, karma, or some other supernatural force that keeps good and evil in proper balance, but not in organized religion, while 18% report they “are neither religious nor spiritual.” That is double the number who chose that option in 1999. 

In 1999, Gallup reported, 60% of Democrats and 62% of Republicans describing themselves as religious. 

Gallup also discovered that a major predictor of religious or spiritual beliefs is political party identification. Among those who described themselves as Republicans, 61% said they are religious, compared to 37% of Democrats and 44% of unaffiliated Americans. The broader term of spiritual was the favored option of 41% of Democrats, 28% of Republicans, and 32% of independents.

Even more illustrative is that, when Gallup asked Americans in a 2021 poll whether they belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque, only 47% said yes, compared to 70% in 1999.

As someone steeped in his religion, this is a subject Paul has thought about. He explained, “Religion is tough.  Organized religion as with the Catholic Church, even tougher. There are rules and consequences. Unfortunately, Americans think freedom is contrary to organized religion.  We teach our children that they can and should do anything they want…There is little respect for our institutions, the rule of law, the rule of parents.  Organized religion is just another one of these “bricks in the wall…We are not free to do whatever we want if we want to follow the truth. There are rules that must be followed or consequences will ensue.”

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