Sunday, May 17, 2009

Obama at Notre Dame

A number of people keep askig my opinion, mostly because I'm the only guy that went to Notre Dame they know, I suppose.

Frankly, I would have prefered if they didn't ask him. But once they did, I would prefer that the protests be a lot less... noisy.

See, I remember when they protested President Reagan there, too. Equal opportunity, I suppose.

It does strike me as wrong for the nation's leading Catholic university to honor a man who is pretty much against two big issues in the church - stem cells and abortion. Frankly, I don't care whether you agree or not. The point being, if you are going to stand for something, then by God stand for something! If the Church is against abortion, then stand up for that position! (Heck, if the Church were FOR abortion, I'd feel the same way - at least remain consistent!)

I forget her name right now, but the recipient of Laetare Medal, a high honor from ND, turned down the award because she'd have to appear and give legitimacy to Barack Obama, which she didn't want to do. Again, whether or not you agree is not the issue. It's that a woman chose to quietly make a stand, and for the first time since 1880-something there will not be a Medal awarded this year. That's standing up for your beliefs.

But, you say, aren't the protestors standing up for their beliefs? That abortion is murder?

Well, yes - and I have no problem with people quietly protesting, or deciding to simply not attend (as did the local bishop and 88 other bishops). I think people should be reasonable and not out to wave signs with aborted babies on them or some such - that does their cause more harm than good, IMHO.

Of course, if people were reasonable - there's a very big if.

Course, that kind of ruins the idea behind the protesting, which I get, but... I still wish people could be a little more reasonable about such things.

Frankly, I believe ND blew it when they extended the invitation. What on earth were they thinking? to "score' a big commencement speaker?

Well, they did get him to come and speak, but they also honored him with a degree.

I maintain that the "preeminent Catholic university in the land" ought to at least try to stick to promoting Catholic doctrine. It's a Catholic university - one of only a relative few. There are plenty of schools which could give a degree to President Obama (note - he spoke at Arizona State, and THEY didn't give him a degree!).

In short ( a tad late, I know) I'm not quite ashamed of ND, but I do question their judgement.


Michael O'Connell said...

Gonna have to agree there. ND is a symbol, and a pretty big one. Berkeley would not be inviting Sarah Palin to get publicity. If you want the people you allegedly represent to live the way you're telling them, then it's kind of counter-productive if you don't do so yourself. Guess it just smacks of pandering. If I'm getting you right (I totally missed this story), it's not like he said, "I want to come" and they were faced with having to have him to avoid that bad publicity of saying no. It was an invitation, by them.

Still...I kind of like the idea of a world where we can all accept that other people have other ideas, and that we can respect that and at least hear them, without having to agree with them. This does, on the surface, just seem like good sportsmanship. But for that to work, it would have to go both ways, and I don't see that happening. Let's say, Berkeley presenting a degree to Rush Limbaugh or Dick Cheney. That's never going to happen - so why should it have to happen here?


Jim McClain said...

Of the many people I know who attended Notre Dame (living here kind of helps), almost half of them are atheists. I'm not sure that Notre Dame really has that aura, at least with us townies. Maybe its appearance is Catholic to the nation, but around here anymore, the student body seems just a bunch of rich drunk kids with a huge sense of entitlement who don't know how to behave.