As American society has grown more diverse, the conventional funeral service has become, for many, a thing of the past. Today, to accommodate the greater variety of religions practiced in the United States, funeral directors are offering a wider range of rituals to honor the dead.

As American society has grown more diverse, the conventional funeral service has become, for many, a thing of the past. Today, to accommodate the greater variety of religions practiced in the United States, funeral directors are offering a wider range of rituals to honor the dead. In addition, since there is no longer only one way to deal with the death of a loved one, families are now developing their own uniquely customized funerals. For example, they may choose to play a particular kind of music—classical, rap, folk, rock, or ethnic—during the funeral home’s visitation hours. All types of food and drinks, even alcoholic beverages, are served at the viewing or after the funeral service. Some families display collages of pictures or show a personally created slide show or DVD continuously during visitation to allow mourners to remember the life of the deceased person.

 

One unconventional funeral practice gaining popularity is the “drive-through mortuary.” Upon pulling up to a funeral home’s drive-through window, mourners can view the dead body, sign a guest register, and pay their respects—all without getting out of their car. Although this approach could be considered a callous way to honor the decedent, such an option accommodates a culture that values convenience as well as efficiency.

 

Cremation is on the rise in the United States, and some services have capitalized on high-tech solutions for the cremated remains. For instance, a loved one’s ashes might be rocketed into outer space. Companies are now manufacturing containers for ashes in a variety of shapes: a motorcycle gas tank, a fiddle, a stuffed animal, a heart, a car—basically any item the deceased person valued. Additionally, individually hand-crafted “cremation jewelry” can hold the decedent’s ashes in a pendant worn around the neck.

 

The Internet offers several high-tech approaches to death rituals. One of these is an “electronic memorial,” created on an Internet website, where pictures of the deceased are displayed along with a written life story, family history, and remembrances from relatives and friends. Cyber-mourners may post condolence messages, share their grief, and receive emotional support. “Virtual cemeteries” feature photos and biographical information about the person who died and provide a chance for mourners to sign a guest book or leave “digital flowers.” Blogs, social networks such as MySpace and Facebook, and instant messages allow people to pay tribute to deceased loved ones while also providing opportunities to connect and gain support.

Other high-tech innovations reflect the variety of ways people now handle death rituals. For instance, some cemeteries offer special grave markers that contain a small video monitor displaying up to 250 pages of information about the deceased; thus, while standing at the grave site, a mourner can view the entire life of the person buried below. And funeral homes now make video recordings of the funeral service to sell to friends and relatives who cannot attend. Digital cameras can even transmit live video images of a funeral via the Internet.

What is the relationship between the parts of the following sentence?

“Although this approach could be considered a callous way to honor the decedent, such an option accommodates a culture that values convenience as well as efficiency.” (lines 14–15)

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