Church criticized for Hayes memorial

Aug. 15, 2008 at 8:52 PM
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MEMPHIS, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Hope Presbyterian Church in Memphis has come under fire for allowing a memorial for Scientologist Isaac Hayes to be held there, church officials said.

The soul music icon died of a stroke Sunday. He was 65.

Clergy at the church have been flooded with irate e-mails and phone calls from people who object to the upcoming tribute because Hayes is a Scientologist, the The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal said. The newspaper earlier reported that a Scientology minister was planning to attend the event, scheduled for Monday.

Hope Presbyterian and Hayes's family issued statements in response to the uproar, emphasizing the event will be a tribute, not a religious service.

"Friends of many faiths and traditions will join the family to pay tribute to the music legend and reflect upon his life through speeches, musical performances, photos and video clips," Hayes's family said in a statement issued to the newspaper.

A publicist for the family said no Scientology minister would be officiating and Hope Presbyterian confirmed to the Commercial Appeal that Hayes's remains would not be at the event.

Separate funeral services are to take place at an undisclosed location, the newspaper said.

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