Hawking T-Shirts at Funerals (More or Less)

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.

  • dd

    I don’t imagine that most religious people really see this kind of thing as selling religion. They are just doing what they think will bring comfort to the grieving. They don’t see it as the time when their marks are at their weakest – they see it as the time when “they need me the most.”

    You know, you probably don’t need to wait til your funeral to sell “Hug me, I’m an atheist” tshirts and donate the profits to black bear rescue.

  • http://www.geekexile.com Brian Fields

    When my grandmother died, they had two pastors at the funeral. The one did an “Altar Call”, using my grandmother’s death to sell “redemption” to all of the mourners. To this day I’m absolutely appalled that anyone could do that.