“Rods and Stones” Event at Roselawn Cemetery is No Big Deal

Roselawn Cemetery in Roseville, Minnesota, has caused some controversy by planning to host a “Rods and Stones” car show at the cemetery this weekend.

That seems like a fine idea to me!

I don’t find it particularly offensive or disrespectful. In fact, I might argue the opposite. Why not have events at cemeteries? Most people only go to a cemetery to attend a funeral or maybe on anniversaries. That feels like a ritual of obligation to me. And more than that, I think people are way too easily offended. Respect comes in many different shades and in the end — quite literally — a cemetery is something like a community of people who once came from many different backgrounds, beliefs, and personalities. At any rate, a cemetery exists in time and place — it has substance and history — and it didn’t emerge ex nihilo as a sacred place. We need not pretend otherwise to be respectful.

I found this nice interview with Keith Eggener published in the Atlantic several years ago. He studies the history and culture of cemeteries. Professor Eggener puts things in a more tolerant perspective. It looks like he has published a fantastic book on the subject, too!

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