Michael Jackson’s next funeral may be in violation of his mother’s religion.

The new funeral is set to take place on August 29th, which would have been Michael’s 51st birthday. The problem is, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays. It’s one of the reasons Michael left the religion in 1987.

But his mother has been a member of the sect for over 30 years. So have several of Michael’s siblings. (Jermaine, who became Muslim, is not.)

According to the group’s online site, The Watchtower:

“The only two birthday celebrations spoken of in the Bible were held by persons who did not worship Jehovah. (Genesis 40:20-22; Mark 6:21, 22, 24-27) The early Christians did not celebrate birthdays. The custom of celebrating birthdays comes from ancient false religions. True Christians give gifts and have good times together at other times during the year.”

So choosing Michael’s birthday as a day of celebration is a little odd, and may cause some trouble for Katherine.

Here’s what The Watchtower has to say about funerals in general:

“Throughout the years, Jehovah’s Witnesses have thoroughly exposed unscriptural funeral customs. Such customs include wakes, the pouring of libations, talking to and making requests of the dead, ceremonious observances of funeral anniversaries, and other customs based on the belief that something in a person survives death. Such God-dishonoring customs are ‘unclean,’ an ‘empty deception’ based on ‘the tradition of men’ and not on God’s Word of truth. Isaiah 52:11; Colossians 2:8.”

This latest funeral will launch a number of birthday celebrations for Michael around the world. Spike Lee has already announced one that’s supposed to take place in Brooklyn.

Religion is a sticky issue. And it may come up in the Jackson house soon. Michael did not raise his kids as Jehovah’s Witnesses. But if they’re living under the guardianship of Katherine Jackson, one wonders whether or not Prince, Paris and Blanket will be allowed to celebrate their birthdays anymore.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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