Monday, May 18, 2009

Nortre Dame sells out

By R.D. Hohenfeldt
Managing Editor, Ozarks Almanac

For the life of me, I do not understand why a university operated by the Roman Catholic Church, which supposedly opposes all forms of abortion, would invite President Barack Obama, who supports access of all women to all forms of abortion, to speak to its graduates. Can you enlighten me? While you're thinking of something pithy and witty to say, read these excerpts from the Associated Press coverage of the speech. Or you can click here to read the whole report.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- President Barack Obama strode head-on Sunday into the stormy abortion debate and told graduates at America's leading Roman Catholic university that both sides must stop demonizing one another.

Obama acknowledged that "no matter how much we want to fudge it ... the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable." But he still implored the University of Notre Dame's graduating class and all in the U.S. to stop "reducing those with differing views to caricature. Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words. It's a way of life that always has been the Notre Dame tradition."

One of the noisiest controversies of his young presidency flared after Obama, who supports abortion rights but says the procedure should be rare, was invited to speak at the school and receive an honorary degree. "I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away," the president said.

The Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame's president, introduced Obama and praised the president for not being "someone who stops talking to those who disagree with him." Jenkins said too little attention has been paid to Obama's decision to speak at an institution that opposes his abortion policy.

Ahead of Obama's address, at least 27 people were arrested on trespassing charges. They included Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff identified as "Roe" in the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. She now opposes abortion and joined more than 300 anti-abortion demonstrators at the school's front gate.

More than half held signs, some declaring "Shame on Notre Dame" and "Stop Abortion Now" to express their anger over Notre Dame's invitation to Obama.

Obama entered the arena to thunderous applause and a standing ovation from many in the crowd of 12,000. But as the president began his commencement address, at least three protesters interrupted it. One yelled, "Stop killing our children."

The graduates responded by chanting "Yes we can," the slogan that became synonymous with Obama's presidential campaign. Obama seem unfazed, saying Americans must be able to deal with things that make them "uncomfortable."

On the Notre Dame campus, members of an abortion rights group also protested while a plane pulling an anti-abortion banner circled above. Tara Makowski of Seattle, who received a master's degree Saturday from the school, said she was dismayed by the way Notre Dame was being characterized.

"Seeing us being portrayed nationally as radical conservative has been really tough," she said. "People need to realize that the majority of students and faculty" favored Obama's visit.

OK, what do you say about that? All I can figure out is American Christianity is in disarray. Next semester at commencement, I expect to hear that Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary has invited pornographer Larry Flynt or homosexual loudmouth Perez Hilton to speak and begin a dialogue on what Baptists have traditionally seen as sinful practices. Can't you already hear that Flynt wants Christians to stop demonizing pornographers and Perez Hilton wants Baptists to open their hearts and minds to the practice of homosexuality?

If the Catholics sell out with abortion, the Baptists can do it with porn and homosexuality, can't they?

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