In a tirade against Kirk Cameron's defense of Halloween, fundamentalist Pastor James Cooley also went out of his way to heap ridicule and scorn upon those that place flowers upon the graves of departed loved ones.

The minister rhetorically asked what was the point of doing so since the person's essence is not there anyway.

It is correct that there in the ground are only the physical remains.

However, Christianity is not Gnosticism.

Unlike that errant belief, Christianity places considerable value upon the body.

What lies there is a tangible connection to the departed loved one.

One must indeed be careful about imbuing these remains with a transferable spiritual energy that they do not possess.

Placing flowers at a grave or visiting the location occasionally extends a degree of respect to the person's memory and, in the mind of the Christian, honors the hope and truth that one day one of the saints dead in Christ will resurrect from that very spot.

Furthermore, for those that practice the custom of placing flowers on the grave, the act is often a way for the individual to cope with what may be overwhelming grief.

But perhaps ministers in Pastor Cooley's circles don't want people to find coping mechanisms.

More than likely, they'd rather people go ahead and descend into mental illness so as not to mess up the sermon rotation for those homilies condemning the depression that sets in for many following the Christmas holiday.

By Frederick Meekins