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Akin Gump Chair Hits Partner’s Personal Blog Post on ‘Ugly’ Indian Prayer

Posted Jan 19, 2011 6:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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An Akin Gump partner is apologizing for a blog post deemed "insensitive" by the managing partner of his law firm.

Writing at the Power Line blog, partner Paul Mirengoff criticized the delivery of an Indian prayer at a memorial for Tucson, Ariz., shooting victims. The original post has since been removed, but it lives on in cached form.

Mirengoff's post commented on “the good, the bad and the ugly” of the prayer service. The good included scripture readings by Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano, he wrote. The bad included praise for President Obama and “frequent raucous cheering” by the crowd.

“As for the ‘ugly,’ I'm afraid I must cite the opening ‘prayer’ by Native American Carlos Gonzales,” Mirengoff wrote. It “apparently was some sort of Yaqui Indian tribal thing, with lots of references to ‘the creator’ but no mention of God. Several of the victims were, as I understand it, quite religious in that quaint Christian kind of way (none, to my knowledge, was a Yaqui). They (and their families) likely would have appreciated a prayer more closely aligned with their religious beliefs.”

Mirengoff later posted an apology on the Power Line blog, saying he failed to give the prayer the respect it deserves and apologizing to “the Yaqui tribe, to all tribal leaders and Indian people, and, specifically, to Carlos Gonzales who delivered the prayer.”

But he wasn’t the only one expressing regret. Akin Gump chairman Bruce McLean issued a statement emphasizing that the law firm isn’t affiliated with—and isn’t a supporter of—the Power Line blog. “We found his remarks to be insensitive and wholly inconsistent with Akin Gump’s values,” McLean said.

Akin Gump spokeswoman Kathryn Holmes Johnson tells the ABA Journal that the law firm is currently reviewing its social media policies.

Hat tip to Above the Law.

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