Christian Chronicle

In America, cremations now outnumber burials — what’s religion got to do with it?

By Bobby Ross Jr. | GetReligion

My hippie wannabe wife insists that she wants to be cremated when she dies.

“I think it’s environmentally friendly,” my bride tells me. “Countless acres are filled up with remains inside caskets.

“Plus, it will allow me to spare you guys a lot of expense and possibly trauma and heartache,” she adds.

Rather than be buried in a cemetery, Tamie says she wants to be “mixed in with the roots of a tree and planted in the mountains in the breathtakingly beautiful area where six generations of my family have made memories together. I think it would be nice to contribute to nature rather than be a burden on it.”

Well, alrighty.

As for me, I want to be dressed in my Sunday best and await the resurrection with what’s left of my skin and bones fully intact. I don’t like flames. So it sounds like my wife of 27 years and I will — at some point hopefully many years in the future — spend the first part of eternity apart.

In all seriousness, we are both people of strong Christian faith — but we come down on different sides of the cremation vs. burial question.

I bring up the topic because of a fascinating Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story this week that noted cremation is becoming the new norm in America.

Read the full column.

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All of my GetReligion columns (June 2017):

 • In America, cremations now outnumber burials — what’s religion got to do with it? Published June 1.

• Media warming: How to — and how not to — report on evangelical skepticism on climate change. Published June 2.

• Three things to consider about that long BuzzFeed takeout on Christian health-care sharing. Published June 5.

• ‘Buuuuuuut is it true?’ Readers question reporting on billboard that has outraged Muslims. Published June 6.

• Culture War Night at Kauffman Stadium: Kansas City Royals draw criticism for anti-abortion ads. Published June 7.

• Journalistic malpractice: Metro daily serves up embarrassingly incomplete, one-sided abortion story. Published June 12.

40-day pilgrimage takes faithful on spiritual journey along 400-mile river. But something’s missing … Published June 13.

• Hey NPR, did Democratic House members ‘think’ of their GOP colleagues? Or did they ‘pray’ for them? Published June 14.

• Florida conservatives fighting the death penalty? More balance and context would help that narrative. Published June 15.

• A sign of the times? Opinion writers outnumber news reporters on Southern Baptist alt-right story. Published June 16.

• Religious freedom vs. gay rights: Will new adoption laws mean more or fewer kids get permanent homes? Published June 19.

• Is it a hate crime? Washington Post offers strong coverage of Muslim girl’s D.C.-area slaying. Published June 21.

• Refusing service to gays? Is pollster asking the right question? Journalists should inquire. Published June 22.

• As Supreme Court bites into same-sex wedding cake dispute, how to tell good media coverage from bad. Published June 26.

• For solid reporting on Trinity Lutheran Church playground ruling, check out the usual suspects. Published June 27.

• Yeah, the Ten Commandments were smashed to pieces — but don’t blame Moses this time. Published June 28.

• Sex, religion and rock ‘n’ roll — oh wait, this time let’s forget about the rock ‘n’ roll. Published June 29.

• Scare quotes aside, latest takedown – er, takeout – on Texas adoption law could be worse. Published June 30.

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