Martha Mullen, a Christian Antigone


In Sophocles’ great tragedy Antigone, a civil war has taken place in the city of Thebes between the two sons of Oedipus, Polynices and Eteocles, who are fighting for power. They are both killed, and when their uncle Creon takes throne, he decrees that Polynices is forbidden to be buried and must have his body eaten by animals outside the city walls. Antigone, the sister of Polynices and Eteocles, disobeys Creon’s order because leaving a human body unburied like that is not only a dishonor but an offense against the gods. Martha Mullen, a United Methodist from the Richmond area, is a Christian Antigone.

Mullen didn’t set out to do anything heroic, but she was really bothered when she saw on TV that Boston Marathon bomber Tamarlen Tsarnaev’s body was in limbo at the Graham Putnam & Mahoney Funeral Parlor in Worcester, Massachusetts, because every cemetery in the area was refusing to bury him. Moreover, people were actually picketing the funeral parlor as though the poor undertaker was somehow supporting terrorism by taking responsibility for putting a body in the ground and just dumping it in the middle of the road and creating a health and safety hazard.

So Mullen discreetly got in touch with some people of different faiths in the local community and the Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia agreed to inter the body. She then contacted the Worcester police department which got in touch with the funeral home. Tsarnaev’s uncle paid the cost; the body was shipped and buried in a rural plot just outside of Richmond. Nobody was supposed to find out anything about it, but the media ruthlessly pursued the story and Mullen bravely used the interviews as an opportunity to bear witness to her Christian conviction in loving her enemies. How in the world could any Christian who takes the Bible seriously oppose her actions?

In an interview with a TV station, she said, “I think we need to remember that we are all, in the end, human, and we need to remember our common humanity. As the police chief said in Worcester, we’re not barbarians, we bury the dead.” The fact that Mullen’s actions are controversial to anyone is a pretty scary indicator of where we have come as a nation. Has anyone ever protested the burial of a criminal before? Does it matter that Tsarnaev has a family who are doubly traumatized by the shame that his actions caused them and the grief of losing him? Does it matter that rotting bodies are a health hazard and the funeral home director didn’t have a thing to do with Tsarnaev’s crime?

This is another example of how God has been making the fruit so plain and obvious among His people. Mullen has been called the “most hated woman in Virginia” in the trollosphere. If you want to talk about being “persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (Matthew 5:10), Mullen is actually a legitimate example of that, unlike all the whining Christians who say that it “oppresses” them for gay people to get married. There are so few people in our world anymore who do the right thing even when it’s incredibly unpopular. I’m so glad that there are Christians like Mullen out there. Otherwise, disgusting precedents would start to get set, and the bodies of people unworthy to be eaten by worms would start to fill up the sidewalks.


13 thoughts on “Martha Mullen, a Christian Antigone

  1. How many people do we have buried in Va that are a little less desirable? I wonder how many slave owners, child molestors, rapists, and murders the earth beneath our feet holds… Yes this man did a terrible thing and yes he will stand before the judgement throne, but who are we to judge? It is funny how so many people say christians need to be more tolerant and that we need to shape our faith more around modern thought… well it appears they only want “tolerance” when it fits into their agenda. Who cares what happens to his body… it is dead… he will not be cursing our ground or bringing down judgement upon Va. I APPLAUD Martha and I think every CHRISTian should follow, in suit, in their daily life. I am a USMC veteran that served 2 tours in Iraq and I, more than most, should be outraged about a terrorist being buried in my home state… But she is right we are to love our enemies… LOVE. If she was doing this in the service of our Lord, then God will bless her in this life or the next for her selfless act of love. Who knows what this may do to some Islamic view points of US christians… you never know whos life can be effected by a notion such as this. I tip my hat to you Martha and I urge you to lean on Him when people come a knocking that do not understand why it is you did what you did. God bless and I am proud of the moves you have made for Jesus.

    -Semper Fidelis

  2. No doubt Joseph of Arimathea was a scoundrel too. A rich member of the Sanhedrin by day, a secret follower of Jesus by night. And then arranging for the burial of a terrorist- what a publicity stunt! Oh, the dirt we could have on him if CNN and twitter were around then eh? Good thing none of the gospels mention his giant ego by name…oh, wait…

    So while many claim persecution because somewhere a gay couple is kissing and somewhere a gawky lawn manger scene is not properly worshipped, in other places people suffer because they attempt to love their enemies. I consider myself edified.

    Let him who is without sin grab a shovel and unbury the man. If sins can keep us from the most basic of burials, then we shall all rot in the gutters.

  3. I feel that it should have been discreetly done, I fear that other terrorist may notice the nearby amusement park and plan a terrosit attack there. I too feel that Miss Mullen did this for attention. What gave her the right to coordinate this without considering the feelings of the residents and how this would impact the county, it was not her decision to make. I agree that everbody deserves a burial but I do not think she should have influenced the decision that he be buried in Caroline without notice being given.

    • It just blows my mind how comfortable people feel making assumptions about others’ motives for doing things.

  4. Tell the truth. SHE CONTACTED the media. From the Daily Mail: She later called the Globe wanting to tell her story, according to the reporter who took the call.

    Read more:

    She did this for attention and fame and used “God” as her EXCUSE. Please. How stupid are most Christians to believe attention seeking behavior like this? No wonder Christians are being ridiculed across the world. Your “compassion” is being mistaken for WEAKNESS (or psychosis in this case). There are none as blind as those who cannot (or WILL NOT) see……..

    • Psychosis. That’s rich. It sounds like they found out what Martha did and she wanted them to have the story straight so she called. I can’t see any reason that anybody would want to be known for doing this. The thing that makes it heroic is because it’s so contrary to the overwhelming opinion of everyone else. What do you think should have been done with his body? Just leave it in the street?

    • Exactly.

      Sick how everyone her uses “God” to feel self righteous.

      This was a fat butterface, who had no life, that craved attention.

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