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Paul Mirengoff ripped by his own law firm for trashing Yaqui prayer at Tucson service [UPDATE]

Paul Mirengoff is a regular blogger at Minnesota's right-wing Power Line blog.

He's also a partner at the law firm of Akin Gump, which has a robust American Indian law practice.

And when Mirengoff used Power Line to trash the Yaqui prayer offed by Carlos Gonzales at the memorial service for Jared Loughner's six shooting victims a few weeks ago in Tucson, he stepped in huge public relations mess.

Mirengoff accused Gonzales, whose tribe was forced out of Mexico and into Arizona in the 1800s, of being insufficiently American and Christian.

"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."

James Meggesto, another partner at the firm, was so disgusted by Mirengoff that he said so in public, right on the law firm's website:

As an enrolled member of the Onondaga Nation; as an attorney who has dedicated his life and law practice to the representation of Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and tribal interests; and as a partner in the American Indian law and policy practice at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, I was shocked, appalled and embarrassed by a recent Web posting by another Akin Gump partner, Paul Mirengoff.

The firm's chairman, Bruce McLean, was also appalled.

We sincerely apologize for the blog entry posted by Akin Gump partner Paul Mirengoff on his personal blog, powerlineblog.com. Akin Gump is neither affiliated with, nor a supporter of, the blog. We found his remarks to be insensitive and wholly inconsistent with Akin Gump's values.

Mirengoff was forced to issue a public mea culpa.

"I failed to give the prayer the respect it deserves. Although I did not intend this as a slight to the religion or to the Yaqui tribe, it can clearly be interpreted as one. For this, I sincerely apologize to my readers, to the Yaqui tribe, to all tribal leaders and Indian people and, specifically, to Carlos Gonzales who delivered the prayer. I regret my poor choice of words, and I have removed the post."

If Akin Gump doesn't have a social media policy for its employees, you can bet it's starting to formulate one now.

UPDATE: Mirengoff has apparently quit the blog, as of today:

I have made the decision to discontinue blogging at this time. I thank John and Scott for bringing me along on this ride and I thank our readers as well. I couldn't have hoped for better writing partners or for better readers. Best regards to all.

(Hat tip: RWW.)


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