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The religious significance of an eco-friendly funeral

The religious significance of an eco-friendly funeral

John Johnson is planning for a green burial when the time comes, in large part because of his religious belief. No embalming fluid, a plain wood box, no elaborate motorcade led by a gas-guzzling hearse. From Religion News Service:

Johnson, now 44, envisions a different sort of send-off for himself: a “green burial” that draws both upon his faith and his commitment to the environment. For Johnson and others like him, a green burial is a way to care for the Earth and answer to the part of his soul that recoils at the pomp of the average American funeral, and takes seriously the biblical reminder: “For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

“It’s the notion that Jesus was so humble,” said Johnson, an Episcopalian who lives in Washington, D.C. “I am a follower and I want to follow that example. I want my death as humble as I think Jesus lived.”

Johnson is one of a growing number of believers thinking along these lines, though the approach is certainly not new:

The Green Burial Council has certified nearly 400 providers in 46 states. Some of them have religious orientations. And even some that are not certified consider themselves already green because their faiths have for millennia taken an ecologically friendly approach to death. Muslims and Jewish traditions, for example, eschew embalming and require quick burials. A kosher casket is a plain wood box made without metal hardware. Muslim tradition specifies a simple shroud and does not require a casket.

Read full story here.


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