|Sent on:||Wednesday, April 17, 2013 8:49 AM|
Josiah, in the days ahead there will be vigils and memorials for the victims of the terrorist attack. Most of these ceremonies will include, if not be centered around, religious practices. The official city ceremony, which the President will attend, will be at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Cross and is certain to be religiously themed. I and other atheists will feel conflicted. I wish to join our greater community in expressing my sadness and offering support for the victims and their loved ones. I want to meditate on the impact of this tragedy and join with others to publicy pledge to promote compassion and peace. I will feel excluded and this will add to my and others' sadness.
In the immediate aftermath of a public tragedy these ceremonies are important. I think that part of the healing that happens is facilitated by the familiarity of the ceremony. We reenact what has helped before. Because our country has such a strong religious tradition it is what is familiar and reenacted. The activist secular community could begin a tradition of a purely secular public ceremony for these occasions. I don't have any well formulated ideas at this time of how this ceremony should be organized or conducted. My own preference would be to have no professional religious person featured in a leadership position. It should be open to all even those who wish to express a religious sentiment but not as the major theme. I'm sure there are folks within the secular community with knowledge and experience in public ceremony. I'd be interested in discussing this further and working to initiate a new tradition.
This message was sent by Rick Mueller ([address removed]) from The Boston Atheists Meetup Group.
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