Did you know that almost all funeral services held inside churches are actually services of Christian worship?
I just thought I would bring that up -- again -- after the Bobby Ross Jr. post that covered some of the early coverage for the funeral of slain New York City police officer Rafael Ramos. That post noted that some reports -- CNN and The New York Times, to be specific -- gave readers a glimpse of the officer's life in a true evangelical megachurch, Christ Tabernacle -- a multi-site New York congregation.
However, the stories left Bobby wanting more details about the church and the work Ramos did there, especially since he died right as be was set to launch into his work as a police chaplain. He offered praise, but want to know more.
Well now, contrast that with the story that moved later from The Los Angeles Times. This story, basically, missed every single religion angle in this moving story. The fact that Ramos was poised to become a chaplain, after years of involvement with this megachurch, as been known for days. How was that handled? Basically, we're talking crickets.
How about the church itself, which is an example of a evangelical and charismatic explosion in New York City that has received a little bit of media attention, but not much? Next to zippo, in this story.
Want a taste of what did make it into this report?
Some of the thousands of officers who stood outside the Christ Tabernacle Church, where Ramos worshiped for 14 years, turned their backs to the huge screens showing the service when Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke. A sign in the crowd read “God bless the NYPD. Dump De Blasio.”
In separate eulogies, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton and clergymen alluded to the continuing rift among police union leaders, De Blasio and protesters who in the weeks before the slayings held almost-daily demonstrations alleging police brutality. Speakers said that Ramos and Liu were targeted solely for their uniforms by someone whose actions had shaken efforts at reconciliation.
“We pray for a city that’s broken, a city that needs to be healed,” said Pastor A.R. Bernard, president of the Council of Churches of the City of New York. In his eulogy, Bratton recalled his first police funeral in Boston in 1970, after antiwar activists fatally shot Officer Walter Schroeder. “Divisive politics polarized the city and country,” Bratton said. “Maybe that sounds familiar.”
That's it, folks. That's the part of the story that -- relatively speaking -- looked at this funeral as anything other than a rally with political implications.
Now please hear me say something. Only a fool would argue that the political angles of this event are not important. Only a fool would say they should not receive major attention.
But here is my point: Does Ramos himself matter at all? Did the actual content of this event deserve at least some coverage in a major news report about that event?
So please watch some of the funeral service video at the top of this post. Watch the tributes.
Yes, the political speeches are there. But tune in the music and, especially, note the contents that fall after the 90-minute mark, when the national and local leaders yielded the stage back to the church worship leaders.
Consider paying a little bit of attention to the funeral itself. Let it soak in. Perhaps the funeral deserved a tiny bit of attention in this story about the funeral?