If I die and somebody shows up to sell “Hug Me – I’m an Atheist!” T-shirts at my service, it would tickle me to death. (If I wasn’t already dead, I mean, and was, you know, capable of being tickled.)
[ Note: If you do this, you have to donate the money in my name — all of it — to a black bear rescue operation or sanctuary. ]
But if it happened at any other funeral, I would expect the family to be furious.
I feel the same way about selling religion at funerals. Even at second hand, it offends me. I mean, if people are religious, and it’s a family member, I have no problem with the local pastor comforting them in religious terms. But to USE the funeral to SELL religion to the other attendees, that bothers me more than a bit.
Rev. Randy Campbell apparently did just that, using the funeral of Buckwild star Shain Gandee to hawk God to the younger crowd.
The Rev. Randy Campbell told the many young people in the crowd he understands that life bombards them with difficult choices. But he urged them to follow Shain Gandee’s lead and embrace their faith now, while they are energetic and engaged.
“This life will hand you a lot of things and call it pleasure, but there is nothing that brings greater joy to a person’s heart than serving the Lord,” Campbell said. “You may think at this point, you’re having fun, but those days will pass.”
When they do, he said, God is all that matters.
I could give you half a dozen reasons this irritates me, but mainly it’s the bullying nature of selling religion in this way. Campbell is preying on Gandee’s young friends and neighbors at their weakest, using the death of a good buddy as a lever to pry open their heads and pour in his religion. Already shocked by his death, they’re getting a big heaping serving of “If you don’t go to church and believe in God, this could happen to you. You’ll also be betraying the memory of your friend.”
I’d rather see T-shirts.