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Godlessness: Commencement’s missing rite

Next Thursday, the graduating class of 2011 will shuffle into Comcast Center. They will don overpriced (and recyclable) graduation gowns. They will hear speeches from their peers, university President Wallace Loh and the latest member of a long list of disappointingly lackluster commencement speakers. But before all of that pomp and nauseating congratulatory hooey, students will hear a prayer.

Commencement prayers have been a tradition since churches railed against the sin of interracial marriage and contraception. For years, the university’s 14 chaplains, who represent faiths as encompassing as Christian Science and Judaism and Hinduism, have alternated who leads the mumble toward the heavens. And for just as long, those who live their life without faith in superstition sit patiently waiting for them to get on with it. Read more

Justice served: A worthy celebration

Late Sunday night, the White House announced to the press that President Barack Obama would make a surprise address to the nation within the hour. With the topic of the speech unknown, speculation began to swirl. It was rare for a president to call an unannounced national address so late on a Sunday night, so it must have been big. Some declared he would talk about an issue of national security, likely Libya. Then, as a whisper, a different rumor began to spread, first on Twitter, then on the national news networks: Osama bin Laden is dead.

By the time Obama appeared on broadcasts across the nation at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, many knew what was coming. Retribution had finally caught up to the most wanted man in the world. Killed by Navy SEALs eight hours before at a fortified compound in Pakistan, bin Laden had been shot twice in the face after a firefight and using a woman as a human shield. The covert mission had allegedly taken only 40 minutes. Multiple tests confirmed his identity, and within 12 hours of his death, his body had been buried at sea after being handled in accordance with Islamic law, according to officials. Read more