The memorial service at the University of Arizona last night was a highly religious one. Attorney General Eric Holder read a passage from Corinthians, while DHS secretary Janet Napolitano read a passage from Isaiah. Obama himself quoted from Psalms and from the book of Job--all at a public school no less. Believers in very strict separation of church and state have long opposed expressions of religious faith in the public square--from student-led prayers at high school graduations and football games to the inclusion of the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. But following last night's ceremony in Arizona last night, there don't seem to be any objections.
Asked for comment on the Obama administration's Bible readings, a spokesman for the ACLU replied in an email, "Thank you for your inquiry to the ACLU. Unfortunately, we have nobody working on this matter who could comment. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions in the future."
But does the ACLU's president Susan Herman think the Bible readings were inappropriate--or even unconstitutional? "I’m sorry but she’s not available to comment on this," replied ACLU spokesman Matthew Wertheim. A press aide for Americans United for Separation of Church and State told me earlier today that the group would get back to me on this matter, but as of now there's been no response.
So inquiring minds are left to wonder whether what the ACLU and AUSC think of last night's event. Perhaps they weren't so bothered by readings of Christian and Jewish religious texts by administration officials at a public school because there was a Native American prayer at the beginning of the event that invoked the "masculine energy" and the "feminine energy." Or maybe last night's event is the kind of thing they'd only object to if a Republican were president.