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Shove Off, Collister


Droptail
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I know this is a God-forsaken hour, but I have to get this off my chest without delaying it any longer. It's been bothering me for weeks.

 

Not much has changed with my relationships in-family since I became atheist. I haven't informed hardly anybody except my sister and aunt, and other than the occasional feeble attempts of the latter to win me back to the fold, I have extremely little interaction with the lot of them with regards to my non-belief. I've not told my parents or grandpa, and I didn't tell my grandma before she passed in September from complications of Parkinson's.

 

She was a fervent Christian, and her funeral was held at a local community church by the name in the title, pastored by a rather well-known personality in the area. This guy frequently has TV ads running around here depicting some theme that he then relates to the need for salvation. Sort of revival-esque. I don't know, but I figure he's a good friend of my grandpa, who himself is a pastor and missionary throughout the Northwest.

 

When I think of a funeral, I consider it the remembering of someone's life and their contributions to close friends and family. I admittedly have little experience with them, but the above seems like what's appropriate. That's what this one started out like. My mom (her daugher) got up to speak, followed by my 2 aunts and uncle, and they each talked about their experiences growing up with her as their mother and what they loved the most about her. Meaningful and simple, really.

 

Then the woo began. It seemed innocent enough at first. A couple of Grandma's favorite hymns were played, and everyone was asked to join in singing. I didn't comply but stood respectfully, of course. But then the aforementioned pastor, with introduction from my grandpa, rose to the pulpit and embarked on a mini-sermon. My suspicions were raised.

 

He continued on for some time without speaking at all about my grandma. Then he suddenly returned to what I thought should have been the main focus of the afternoon: her life. But it was different from what her surviving children had said. He asked everyone, "Wouldn't it be great if someone came to know the Lord here at (her) funeral?" Before I could let that soak in, he proceeded to request that everyone bow their heads. He said he would then want us to raise our hand (heads bowed) when he asked if we were Christians, but before doing that, he couldn't resist slipping this in: "And, I'm sorry, but if you don't believe, well, you're going to hell. It's simple as that." Gee, thanks.

 

So, there I was, sitting with my hands now firmly entrenched in my pockets waiting for that blowhard to shut his flapping hole, and of course, I realized that others might see me without my hand raised, but I decided that if he (and my grandpa) would have the temerity to proselytize people at someone's funeral, I would refuse to acquiesce to their heavy-handed appeal to emotion. I honestly didn't consider what happened much more that day, though I had to force myself to grin and assent whenever anyone said they thought it was a nice ceremony.

 

However, in the past several weeks since the funeral, I've stopped numerous times to re-consider the events of that day. I wonder if my grandma actually wanted a figurative call to conversion as part of her funeral. If so, well, that was her choice, and what I had to sit through still makes me mad, but at least she got to have the funeral she wanted. My grandpa and this pastor kept insinuating that this is how she wanted things to be. But if this wasn't her choice, then what happened appears to me as nothing less than two con-artists pastors taking advantage of a solemn situation to prey on the vulnerable. I include my grandpa because he was more than helpful with his old friend in setting up the stage for that bit of evangelism. I wish I could have done/do something to counter it, but I still don't really care to have to potentially debate my non-belief with family, and interrupting/complaining about the ceremony would have struck me from an outside perspective as selfish.

 

I guess, for now, I'll settle for ranting about it here.

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When my brother, sister and I attended our dad's funeral, the preacher shocked even me - and I know how crazy these people are.

 

Standing at the pulpit, he said my father's last wish was that his children come to "know the lord," and pointed at us in the front row! We, and our spouses, were the only heathens in the building and all eyes were on us the rest of the day.

 

Later, at the reception, his widow (who is not my mother) said it was customary to give the preacher a cash gift for performing the service. I was prepared to pay the guy for doing his job, but when she asked me after the service if I was going to give him the money I had to reply, "I don't fucking think so."

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Collister Community Church? I visited it once or twice in my deconversion stage. I seem to recall the local newslady, I forget her name, spoke during the Sunday I attended. Way before your time I'm guessing.

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You can do more than just rant here. You can also make your own will and state clearly that at your own funeral, wake and all memorial services there is to be zero evangelism of any kind.

 

Sorry to hear you grandma's service was ruined for you.

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Sorry to hear that, D. I attended a funeral for a co-worker's dad who died a few weeks ago and he was decidedly non-religious, he even had a few choice quotes by Mark Twain and Isaac Asimov on death and religion. Anyways, I will say it was very nice to attend a funeral that specifically focused on the life of the person and not an excuse for mini-church.

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My father in-law's funeral last year wasn't this bad. Granted I "lucked out" and was on 2yr old containment duty. However, being non-observent Catholics the priest didn't know a god damn thing about him.

 

However, the whole thing was organized by MIL who made sure she got everything in it that she wanted. Cause you know it was all about her.

 

Given that FIL literally drank himself to death because drunk was the only way he could live with her at the end. 6 gin and tonics a night for a year will do that on top of a lifetime of drinking.

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Standing at the pulpit, he said my father's last wish was that his children come to "know the lord," and pointed at us in the front row! We, and our spouses, were the only heathens in the building and all eyes were on us the rest of the day.

 

Wow. I didn't get singled out in such a ridiculous manner, but I sure felt as if I was alone and under scrutiny. I think it's very telling of the true motives of the religious when they resort to emotional blackmail to try to (re-)convert you.

 

Collister Community Church? I visited it once or twice in my deconversion stage. I seem to recall the local newslady, I forget her name, spoke during the Sunday I attended. Way before your time I'm guessing.

 

That's the one. They've been putting out the same kind of television commercials for... I don't know how long. Maybe that started before my time, too. I can't recall the name of the pastor at the moment. I'll probably end up having to see another of their ads later on as I regularly watch a channel they advertise on.

 

You can do more than just rant here. You can also make your own will and state clearly that at your own funeral, wake and all memorial services there is to be zero evangelism of any kind.

 

Sorry to hear you grandma's service was ruined for you.

 

This I have intended to do for some time. Probably time to turn intention into action! And, it wasn't totally ruined; the first part was at least a touching tribute to her life.

 

Sorry to hear that, D. I attended a funeral for a co-worker's dad who died a few weeks ago and he was decidedly non-religious, he even had a few choice quotes by Mark Twain and Isaac Asimov on death and religion. Anyways, I will say it was very nice to attend a funeral that specifically focused on the life of the person and not an excuse for mini-church.

 

Yes, I agree that would have been nice in this case. The evangelical overtones were distracting and unwelcome.

 

My father in-law's funeral last year wasn't this bad. Granted I "lucked out" and was on 2yr old containment duty. However, being non-observent Catholics the priest didn't know a god damn thing about him.

 

I sat far off on one of the sides of the sanctuary (and, fortuitously, away from my parents) so at least I wasn't right among the crowd when the guy asked the believers for a show of hands. Still, it's a bit grating to be called hellbound...mad.gif

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