Jacksons' tense negotiations over religion at Michael's memorial service end in stalemate

Los Angeles, USA - Michael Jackson's brothers couldn't agree on which religion should guide the King of Pop's memorial service, so they're going without one.

Tense negotiations among the Jacksons over which religion should prevail at Tuesday's massive memorial ended in a stalemate, sources told the Daily News.

The brothers instead have opted for a nondenominational event.

The Jacksons were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses by their mother, Katherine, but have strayed from the fold, dabbling in Christianity, Islam and even kabbalah, a mystical Jewish sect.

Jermaine Jackson became Muslim in 1989 after a trip to Bahrain, and Michael took an interest in Islam in recent years, leading to speculation that he, too, had converted.

But Jacko also wore a red string on his left wrist for a time - a symbol of kabbalah - fueling rumors that he had adopted the star-studded faith.

Los Angeles began to brace for the throngs of mourners who will descend on the city to say goodbye to the troubled star.

Free tickets to the mega-memorial at the Staples Center were to be awarded yesterday to 8,750 fans, drawn at random from a pool of 1.6 million who entered the lottery.

Online, people claiming to have tickets were asking up to $15,000 apiece.

City officials in Los Angeles said there will be no funeral procession and warned those without tickets to stay away from the Staples Center.

Some California politicians questioned whether the Jackson family and AEG promotions should help foot the bill for security in light of the state's crippling budget crisis that has forced it to issue IOUs as payment.

"If the Jackson family is going to spend $25,000 on a gold casket, I would think that AEG and the Jackson family could help defray the costs so it's a safe and secure environment for mourners," Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine said.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, speaking at an L.A. church Sunday morning, urged locals without tickets to the memorial to hold "love vigils" in Jackson's honor.

The Jackson family is also said to be planning a small funeral ceremony at a cemetery in the Hollywood Hills, calling it a "private family function," police said.

It will be held at Forest Lawn cemetery, the final resting place of late greats Bette Davis, Lucille Ball and Liberace.