Two high-profile funerals last week are being jeered for being too political. In fact, Aretha Franklin's family says the eulogy during the marathon service for the late Queen of Soul was offensive and distasteful.

At Franklin's service, the Reverend Jasper Williams, Jr. of the Salem Bible Church in Atlanta was roundly criticized on social media for his sermon essentially calling for the restoration of the black family. You know, as in men should raise their kids as part of a family unit rather than leaving it to a single mother to do the job.

Franklin's nephew, Vaughn Franklin, told the Associated Press the eulogy was offensive and that the family expected a "proper" eulogy. After all, Franklin raised four sons as a single parent--yeah, her and a few million George Washingtons. Most single black moms don't have that kind of help.

Vaughn's concerns about politicization would be taken more seriously if only Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Bill Clinton didn't politicize the event through their words and just by their presence.

National Cathedral Hosts Memorial Service For Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Getty Images

The funeral for Senator John McCain turned into a political carnival before it even began. It started with specualtion over who had and had not been invited to attend. A debate over how long the flags should be lowered added to the circus atmosphere, and it continued right through the eulogy period, with political jabs delivered by McCain's daughter Meghan and Former President George W. Bush.

Most everything these days is political, and that's a real shame. At a time when we should be focused on the legacy such distinguished individuals have left us, we choose to use their passing to advance political positions.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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