1. Is it okay to gawk at tombs?
I went to Westminster Abbey today for the sole purpose of walking around and gawking at tombs of people who died hundreds of years ago. Really. I mean, I don't understand it. What's the fascination here? They aren't there, and technically, they never were there. They were dead by the time they were put in there. So why do we want to see them there? I don't know the answer to this question but I know that I did go and look and I did take pictures when I wasn't supposed to.
2. Is it okay to pay to get into a church to gawk at tombs?
I seem to recall Jesus getting all kinds of pissed that people were selling and trading in the temple, and if I remember correctly, he made quite the scene. So is it wrong that the nuns are selling tickets to walk in and look at the tombs? Remember that this is not the Bible-belt of America. This is secularized Europe and much of these cathedrals have become more historical than sanctuaries, and I think that's partially okay. Parts of these cathedrals have been around for over 800 years. 800 years! That makes them a part of the historical identity of the country. So it would be wrong to deny people the ability to see Queen Elizabeth's tomb. (And I mean the big woman herself, the one in the movies, THE Queen Elizabeth) Should I have had to pay for it? I'm not so sure about that. The museums over here are free so this probably should be too.
I did my part though. I mean, I listened to Deitrick Haddon's gospel music while I walked though the cathedral and when the priest (which I should mention was a woman) said the Lord's prayer during afternoon mass, I stopped walking and took a moment. I just found myself wondering about the whole experience. Obviously I'm not bothered enough by it to protest. I went through, I paid to get in, I even broke the church's rules by taking pictures when the priests weren't watching. Whatever. I saw the dead folks and now can openly mock the DaVinci Code's portrayal of the Abbey. That's all that matters right?