SCHENECTADY, NY—Friends and loved ones of deceased community leader Bob Liddell alleged Monday that the occasion of his passing was exploited for mere religious purposes, accusing the officiating pastor at his Saturday funeral, the Rev. Frank Hyams, of turning the ceremony into a pro-Christian diatribe.

"We gathered to pay our respects to Bob, but instead we were forced to listen to nothing but Jesus this, God that," Liddell family friend Fran Grunbladt said. "This was supposed to be a heartfelt, solemn, and respectful tribute to Bob's life, not an excuse to further the minister's own dogmatic agenda. While it's true Bob was a churchgoer, that's no excuse to take advantage of the poor man's death."

Hyams refused to apologize for his actions, further inciting controversy by claiming that Liddell is "in heaven now."