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by Abigail Van Buren

'Celebration Of Life' Replaces Traditional Religious Funeral

DEAR ABBY: Organized religion has caused me many difficulties throughout my life. I would like to distance myself from it as much as possible. I consider myself a "religious independent." I believe in God, but I don't believe organized religion has anything to do with God.

My question concerns my funeral. Since a funeral is an organized religious ceremony, is it possible to have one without clergy being present? Have you heard of anything like this, and what would you suggest? -- WASHINGTON, D.C., READER

DEAR READER: Instead of a funeral, many people choose to have a "celebration of life," independent from religion. Make sure your family and friends understand your wishes, then talk to a funeral home director and make pre-planning arrangements.

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