Letter: End to point scoring at funerals

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The Independent Online
Sir: Instead of disputing the good and bad aspects of religious or non-religious funerals (Letters, 28 and 30 July), why not discuss the bad aspects of any kind of funeral? Glenda Cooper's original complaint about the lack of significance of so many of them missed the point that many people feel the disposal of a dead body to be an inappropriate place for ritual and find most funerals to be both embarrassing and expensive.

My own preference is for cremation or burial to be a private matter for only the closest friends and relations, and for any public tribute to a dead person to take place at another time and place altogether; my suspicion is that this is a growing sentiment, and that funerals could decline along with weddings and christenings.

We are often told that man is a ritualistic animal, just as we used to be told that man is a religious animal; but the fact is that many men and women are neither, and we need no formal process to part with the dead any more than to join lovers or to greet children.

NICOLAS WALTER

Rationalist Press Association

London N1

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