During the January 12 memorial service for the victims of the tragic Tucson shooting, a traditional Native American blessing was delivered by Carlos Gonzales, an associate professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine … and the Right has been outraged by it ever since.
Earlier this week, the Washington Times ran an op-ed by Franklin Graham blasting organizers for allowing such a prayer because “Father Sky and Mother Earth can do nothing to comfort” the victims:
Rather than calling on the God of heaven who made us and created this universe, which He holds in the palm of His hand, the university professor called out to “Father Sky, where we get our masculine energy” and “Mother Earth, where we get our feminine energy.”
How sad. Father Sky and Mother Earth can do nothing to comfort Capt. Mark Kelly, who had been at the bedside of his wife, Rep. Giffords, wondering if she’d ever leave her bed. Or Mavy Stoddard, who was only alive because her husband sacrificed his life by shielding her with his body. Or the family, classmates, teammates and friends of little Christina, whose life was snuffed out before she could play another season of Little League.
For the sake of these innocent people and for Americans everywhere, I wish someone could have prayed to the One who created all of us, Almighty God. The president quoted from the great textbook of grief, the Old Testament book of Job – always fitting words in times like these. Perhaps the Yaqui tribe representative, the president of the university – someone – could have echoed the words of the Psalmist: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
What a shame that the University of Arizona didn’t have enough sensitivity to suffering families and a watching nation to invoke the name of the God who is “Father to the fatherless and protector of widows.”