About two dozen houses of worship in the Portland area have banded together to come up with a standard of decorum at funerals. The initiative is aimed at making funerals for gang members safer.
Earlier this year, Reverend T. Allan Bethel of the Maranatha Church in Northeast Portland, held a service for a gang member. Bethel says both he and his staff were concerned about the atmosphere.
"The hats, the T-shirts, pictures and the lyrics to music. We realized that those things are things that cause others to be offended or incited, intimidated and could cause potential harm and threat to others. So we're looking out for the safety of everyone." said Reverend Bethel.
The new standards require families meet with the minister of the service at least two days beforehand. Pastors say that music and videos should not include derogatory statements or use unwholesome language; and that the clothing of the deceased should not reflect gang colors or insignia. Religious leaders stressed they don't want to push gang members away from religion, but they called for decorum at funerals.
The commander of Portland's North Precinct applauded the announcement.