Friday, March 27, 2009

The Fighting Irish

President Obama has been scheduled to speak during the commencement ceremony at Notre Dame. I first saw an article about it on yesterday. I forwarded it to a devout Catholic friend who I knew would get riled up, but decided not to blog about it. Today the story hit the mainstream (and here) and I will throw in my two cents.

At issue is whether or not President Obama is an appropriate selection for the most recognizable Catholic university in the country given his positions on topics such as abortion and stem cell research. Some say the university should lay aside its grievances with "the man" Obama and welcome the honor of having the "head of state" Obama speak to them. Others, tens of thousands of others, are content to wait until 2013 to invite the next President. 

I say to my Catholic friends, if you're not willing to stand up for your convictions, who will?

I'm certain Notre Dame would not have invited the likes of Adolf Hitler, Robert Mugabe or Fidel Castro to speak at its ceremony, yet they also were heads of state. The title of "President of the United States" should not trump who Obama is as a man and what he represents. No, I'm not claiming that Obama is similar to any of the people I just mentioned, except that all, at one time or another, are/were the "leader" of their respective countries. What I am saying is despite the fact that Obama won the popular vote on election day and that many Catholics undoubtedly voted for him, Notre Dame, as an icon of the Catholic church, must disassociate itself from "the man" Obama whose policies cut at the very center of core Catholic beliefs - namely, the value placed on human life. 

The President will only speak at three universities this year, Notre Dame being among them. That is quite an honor. But it is much more honorable to be true to one's self.

Stand up and be counted, Notre Dame. 

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