Speeding past the Graveyard
Speeding Past the Graveyard
In The Cube and the Cathedral, George Weigel noted that respect for the dead was diminishing in secular Europe. For example, during the heat wave of 2003, which caused many members of the elderly to collapse and die, the French couldn't be bothered to bury them, he wrote.
Posted by Jill Fallon at January 15, 2013 3:21 AM
"Why did so many of the French prefer to continue their summer vacations during the European heat wave of 2003, leaving their parents unburied and warehoused in refrigerated lockers (which were soon overflowing)?" In Germany, Weigel continued, death is "increasingly anonymous, with no death notice in the newspapers, no church funeral ceremony, no secular memorial service."
In a materialist society, indifferent to the past, fixated on the present, and unsure of any future, reminders of mortality are seen as an annoyance. How the dead are treated is perhaps becoming a new measure of a society's irreligion, and by that standard, America is evidently catching up with secular Europe. According to The Washington Post, many drivers around the nation's capital no longer even stop for funeral processions. "People do not give respect to the funeral as they did years back," said one funeral driver to the paper. "[Everyone] seems in a hurry to get nowhere."
Archer Harmon, a funeral driver, recalled to the paper that when he started his career a quarter century ago people would pull to the side of the road. Now people honk at him and dart into his processions: "We have cellphones in one hand, Starbucks in the other and what is in front of you doesn't matter at this point. They just don't care, in this society we live in now."