What happens if/when we have a Jewish or Muslim president who dies?

I could, if I wanted to, as a commoner, go to the Capitol & pay respects/watch the spectacle/look at the casket. Does that happen at the funerals of Jewish or Muslim dignitaries?

The only time I’ve seen that it’s been a ‘regular Joe’ &, at most, a couple hundred people show up & there’s a receiving line for the family. You’d get more than that between current & former Congresscritters, let alone the Supremes, cabinet heads, etc. & that’s all before the public. There’s a military honor guard there right now but presumably no members of the Bush family.

Whatever your opinion may be about the 2000 election, we came awfully close to having a Jewish vice-president.

Jews (and I believe Muslims) do closed casket funerals, and people mostly avoid the actual body. We don’t preserve it or make it pretty. It’s dead meat. We bury it quickly so it won’t rot.

But just like the general public can show up for a presidential inauguration, the general public could show up for a memorial service.

Why a secular location?

How quickly such a president would be buried depends in part on how observant said person was. There’s a wide range in just how closely people observe religious ritual.

Strict interpretation means that the body is in the ground by sunset of the day of death (post-sunset deaths count as the next day’s, as Judaism counts a day from from sunset to sunset). Not sure of the exact Muslim rule but I believe it is similar. Obviously, reality sometimes intervenes, and Judaism having a certain practical bent (particularly among the more liberal groups, which is where a Jewish president is most likely to come from) the rules have some flex (as mentioned Yithzak Rabin was buried 2 days after death).

One thing different in regards to a deceased Jewish president is that the general public might be introduced to the rest of the Jewish mourning rituals, which extend up to a year post death. Presumably, the same could be said for a Muslim president.

Um… yeah, why not?

Yes, there would be differences and likely there wouldn’t be a body in a casket for a prolonged display, but there are multiple ways to show respect, aren’t there? Absolutely there would be some sort of way for the public to show their respect. Candlelight vigils, for example.

Yeah, I mean, there’s almost certainly a synagogue or mosque in a reasonable distance from DC, or even >gasp!< within DC itself!

Then there is considerable precedent for Jews, Muslims, and Christians to “borrow” each other’s worship spaces from time to time in this country as well.

Well, since we have had a Muslim president, all we have to do is wait to find out!


I can’t believe I was the first to say this.

Yes, but you probably want a state funeral in a public place, not in a private synagogue or mosque. I’d think the national Cathedral would be on the list of places, but a public place that’s not associated with Christianity might beat it out.

I agree, a Muslim president is highly speculative though someday, who knows? A Jewish president does not seem nearly as unlikely in the fairly near future. As with Romney (Mormon) and more seriously Kennedy in 1960 (Catholic) there will be a media kerfuffle, if/when a Jewish major party candidate front runner emerges ‘but will average Americans really vote for this person?!?’ and the answer will be that it doesn’t matter much. The emergence of the candidate will draw out some ugly bigotry on the fringes, but that itself will redound to their benefit with other voters and net not much effect, I believe.

As one snapshot the US Senate has 88 self-identified as Christian (including 6 Mormons), 7 Jewish, one Buddhist (Mazie Hirono), 4 unaffiliated. The House of course has some Muslim members but is less representative of likely pool of major party presidential candidates.

A president of Asian background and non-Abrahamic faith is more likely sooner than a Muslim I think. I don’t think ‘unaffiliated’ would be an issue either at this stage if the personal story was such as ‘mom was X, dad was Y and I never chose either’. Somebody overtly atheistic is not at all likely in the near future IMO. Though obviously plenty of past presidents, and the current one by all evidence, haven’t been particularly religious, others were.

I could easily have voted for Joe Lieberman.

If you want to have it in a public place why do you hold one in a church? The US government doesn’t own churches. The National Cathedral is an Episcopal church. There have a been a LOT of state funerals and memorial services in that Episcopal church. However, there is no requirement that such a ceremony take place in a public space.

Again - why NOT hold it in a synagogue or mosque?

Um, synagogues and mosques are as much public places as churches are. Granted I don’t know offhand if there are any in DC large enough to host a state funeral, but a secular location would only be necessary if we had a non-religious President who specifically planned for a secular funeral.

That is my same take on it. Lying-in-State and a public funeral service are cultural artifacts and if the point is to have a mass public memorial/celebration of life, that does not need to have the body present.

have you been listening to FOX/Trump? While Obama’s father was Muslim, Obama is Christian–how many reports do you need to get off this propaganda/lie?

::Foghorn Leghorn voice:: Boy, Ah say boy! Yew jus’ been whooshed ::/Foghorn Leghorn voice::