We have had gentlemen’s agreements before in the US. Baseball is well known for its gentlemen’s agreement keeping African American players out of the major league until 1947 when Jackie Robinson became the first African American in the major league. Before this, the African American community formed a separate league where great ball players played ball, but were hindered from playing in the major league. This is not a treatise on baseball, but an example of how we have seen a group of people in the US take power, and use it against other people for whatever reasons they might have at the moment. In baseball, there was not a written rule against black ball players playing in the major league. The US had no law that hindered a variety of races playing ball together. The team owners did not want it to happen and so it did not happen. With the death care industry, funeral directors have formed such a strong lobby on the state and federal levels that they can protect their industry in ways they see fit. In ten states, citizens are required to hire a funeral director at death. These laws enslave the citizenry into purchasing a service from a moneymaking industry and not for the citizens, but for the protection the industry itself.
If you walk into a funeral home and ask not to be embalmed, and you want a visitation, you will most likely run into problems. They might suggest you have a direct burial, but that is not what you want at all. I have been told that having a natural body for a visitation is illegal. It is not! I have been told that embalming sanitizes the body. It does not!! I have been told that a natural body transmits disease. In most cases it does not and we have laws that prohibits natural bodies at funerals for these very rare cases. Transmission of disease from a body comes when you open the body and come in contact with bodily fluids, which happens in the embalming process. I have been told that there is a funeral home director association that issues fines to funeral homes that allow natural bodies at visitations. No one is issuing fines for this!
There is hope for us in the states that are no longer free. There is a loose network of individuals who will help families that want a simple funeral in non-free states. We work like the resistance. We want people to be free to choose who and how their bodies are cared for after death. When starting to find service providers in your state, first contact a home funeral guide in your area. He or she will know how to work within the law to get you the funeral you want. Check out the green funeral directors on the Green Burial Council’s site. Always ask your questions. See if their answers ring true to you. Remember that these funeral directors are from the industry, and might still have some of the death care industry outlook. Ask questions and listen to everyone. Only you know whom you wish to work with in your own plan. Make your plans and talk with your family and loved ones. These are the people who will have to do the final work, and they should feel comfortable with your ideas and wishes. You can have a simple event upon your death, even in states that require us to work with a funeral director. We have to do more work and ask more questions, but it can be done.