Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Burying Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Universalism, and Inherent Worth and Dignity


It has been a few weeks since the Boston Marathon tragedy, and my last post here.  Much has happened in that time, including a surreal "manhunt" for the suspects, the capture of one, and the death of another.  Meanwhile, the victims of the tragedy, and their loved ones, continue to heal.  And we find ourselves feeling like we're in a bit of a new world here in Massachusetts.

The latest controversy has been over the burial of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the brother-suspects.  His body was eventually taken by a brave funeral director in Worcester, known to take difficult burial cases.  You can read about him here.

There have been protests at the funeral home in Worcester, somewhat predictably. Two of my colleagues -- UU ministers who serve congregations in Worcester -- wrote thoughtfully about this matter in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. See the piece by Rev. Aaron Payson of the UU Church of Worcester (and Rev. Jose Encarnacion of Christian Community Church) at this link.  See the piece by Rev. Gary Kowalski (interim minister of the First Unitarian Church of Worcester) at this link.

I was particularly taken with this blog post by the Rev. Fred Hammond, a UU minister "down south".  You can read it at this link.

I know this is a tender topic. And the pain of the victims and their loved ones is unimaginable.  But this is about a "proper burial", the "measure of a civilized society", as Rev. Kowalski put it.  And as a UU, I believe deeply in the "inherent worth and dignity of EVERY person". There are no exceptions.  Let us bury Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body with dignity and respect, and move on in the spirit of love and peace from this horrific tragedy.