In defence of Thomas Lynch

Charles Cowling

If you follow trends in US funerary practice you’ll know about the work of the Funeral Consumers Alliance. Its aims are laudable: to inform and empower consumers, a cause dear to the heart of the Good Funeral Guide. Its means, sad to say, often demean and discredit it, especially the ill-judged rhetoric of its executive director, Josh Slocum.

Judge for yourself. A while back Mr Slocum engaged in a spat with Tim Totten’s engaging blog, Finalembrace. Take a ringside seat and follow it, round by round, here. Be sure to read the Newsweek article.


Slocum’s mistake is to suppose that fervid indignation is persuasive. It is not. It is repulsive and it distracts from the admirable cause he represents (so badly).


Noble causes define their rationale by exposing wicked enemies. When they identify enemies who are clearly not wicked, they become ignoble causes.

Tim Totten is one of the industry’s nice guys. It matters not whether you like his cot covers. What’s clear to see is that he is honest, well-meaning and kind. To see him attacked is to leap reflexively to his defence no matter who the attacker, no matter what their cause. This is Mr Slocum’s strategic mistake and it is a grave one.


To take on Tim is one thing, to take on Tom is another. The FCA has published attacks on Tom Lynch which have finally goaded him to bring an action for defamation against the FCA and others. Download full details here and judge for yourself.

Read Tom’s refutation here

It matters not whether Tom will prevail in a court of law. What matters is that he is one of the great thinkers and writers about death and funerals. He is a man of integrity and intellectual rigour with a reverence for goodness and truth. He is wholly undeserving of this treatment. You do not have to agree with what he says to honour him.


I revere him.

If you do, too, here’s what you can do to support him.

Read the FCA press release and leave a comment here.


Email Mr Slocum here.


Send your message of support to Tom Lynch here.


If your mind and spirit have been enriched by Tom’s writings you will not fail to act.

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