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1. Lots of Jesus, but not all of Jesus' words, at National Cathedral
The state funeral for Gerald Ford at the National Cathedral was "a resounding repudiation" to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens's "radically secularist misreading of the establishment clause," Ed Whelan wrote at National Review Online. Explicitly Christian language permeated the ceremony, "from its opening words — 'With faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the body of our brother Gerald for burial' — through the many prayers, readings from Scripture, and homily, to the dismissal 'in the name of Christ,' " And that's not all, Whelan noted:

The United States Marine Orchestra and the Armed Forces Chorus not only performed; they sang explicitly Christian hymns. During the prelude, for example, the Marines sang "When Jesus Wept." During the service itself, the Marine Orchestra provided the musical accompaniment for Denyce Graves's singing of the Lord's Prayer, and the Armed Forces Chorus sang "Eternal Father, strong to save" — a prayer to the trinitarian God. The closing hymn, "For All the Saints," was sung by all and included lyrics like "thy Name, O Jesus, be for ever blessed."

However, complaints about the religious content in the Ford funeral is coming not from secularists, but from evangelicals. Kendall Harmon, one of the country's most prominent evangelical Episcopalians, noted that Robert Certain, the presiding Episcopalian priest truncated the gospel reading, John 14:1-6. In Certain's reading, verse six ended: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life.'" But verse six continues: "No one comes to the Father, but by me." "This seems to be another gesture of a church that cannot deal with Holy Scripture ...

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Finding and Missing Jesus at Ford's Funeral
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January 2007

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