Saturday, May 16, 2009
2009 NOTRE DAME VALEDICTORIAN SAYS MR. OBAMA PRACTICES CATHOLIC VALUES
This will surprise the anti-Obama people who come here to assert that he is a child killer and other such hysterical, hateful nonsense. It is a small group of very vocal people who have stirred up the controversy; and obviously, not all graduating students agree with them.
The valedictorian, Brennan Bollman, explains her perception of President Obama, and in doing so, exhibits more maturity and sense than the people who have incited the wackos over Mr. Obama's upcoming commencement address to the Class of 2009.
I never believed this controversy was a moral one. It is a political one. George W. Bush gave a commencement speech at ND, and there was no protest by the extreme rightwing Catholics. The Catholic Church is as adamantly AGAINST capital punishment as it is against abortion. And yet no one protested Bush's appearance at the time. He sent more people to death during his term as governor of Texas than any other sitting governor. Mr. Bush also invaded Iraq, a country that did not attack us, and started an unjust war, which is against Catholic doctrine, and which the Pope himslef had spoken out against.
Thank Darwin the students are so much smarter than the out-of-touch trouble makers.
The media focus on the controversy surrounding President Obama's upcoming Notre Dame speech might give the impression that Obama is not welcome at the university. Class valedictorian Brennan Bollman, the woman who will be sharing the stage with the president on Sunday, says that couldn't be further from the truth.
"This issue has not divided the campus by any means," says the Catholic, pro-life biology major who will be attending Harvard Medical School after graduation.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Bollman stressed that her peers do not view the president's overall values as inconsistent with Catholicism. In fact, Bollman says Obama is practicing Catholic values in his administration. Like Jesus, Bollman says, Obama is trying to invite "everyone to the table."
Condemnation of Notre Dame's invitation has come from Catholic Church members as well as anti-abortion groups, who have pushed the message that Obama and his pro-choice policies are not welcome.
These groups have drummed up a considerable amount of coverage despite their smaller numbers.
On Friday, Alan Keyes, one of Obama's challengers in the 2004 Illinois Senate Race, was arrested (for the second time in one week) on campus during a protest with about forty anti-abortion activists.
Former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes and five others were arrested Friday and held overnight. Keyes was released Saturday evening after posting $1,000 bond.
Also protesting Saturday was Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff identified as "Roe" in the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. She now opposes abortion.
She said she had planned to be arrested on Saturday, but changed her mind when a security officer ushered her to the side and gave her a chance to walk away.
"I didn't know why he just kind of gently moved me away. So I'm like, maybe this isn't the right time," McCorvey said.
Some driving past the protesters on Saturday waved in support. Others yelled at them. One man honked his horn in protest and held up a handful of hangers, a symbol of the gruesome procedures some pregnant women resorted to before Roe v. Wade.
Later, about 10 pro-Obama demonstrators assembled across the street holding up placards with slogans such as "Honk if you support Obama" and "Pro-Jenkins/Notre Dame." Jenkins has been criticized by many, including dozens of bishops, for the school's decision to invite Obama.
On campus, though, there were no signs of protest. Students generally favored Obama giving the graduation speech. The graduating class voted to name Jenkins their Senior Class Fellow.
A full page advertisement in the South Bend Tribune on Saturday had the headline: "Catholic Leaders and Theologians Welcome President Obama to Notre Dame." The ad, signed by university professors around the country, many of them at Catholic schools, said that as Catholics committed to civil dialogue, they were proud Obama was giving the commencement address.
There were some students, though, who opposed Obama giving the speech. ND Response, a coalition of university groups, has received permission from Notre Dame to hold a protest on the west end of the South Quad on Sunday. Spokesman John Daly said he expected 20 to 30 graduating seniors to skip commencement and attend the prayer vigil.