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May 18, 2009

Obama, Notre Dame, and the tide of history

Obama Notre Dame An interesting feature of President Obama's commencement speech at Notre Dame yesterday (transcript here, video here):

The president spoke of the need "to reconcile our ever-shrinking world with its ever-growing diversity -- diversity of thought, diversity of culture, and diversity of belief . . . [to] find a way to live together as one human family." On some subjects, he spoke as though this need to cooperate -- to find "common ground," as he said elsewhere in the speech -- were the highest goal:

The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm. The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts. Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son's or daughter's hardships can be relieved.

But on other subjects, he spoke as if the highest goal were for right to win and wrong to be defeated:

After all, I stand here today, as President and as an African American, on the 55th anniversary of the day that the Supreme Court handed down the decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Now, Brown was of course the first major step in dismantling the "separate but equal" doctrine, but it would take a number of years and a nationwide movement to fully realize the dream of civil rights for all of God's children. There were freedom rides and lunch counters and Billy clubs, and there was also a Civil Rights Commission appointed by President Eisenhower. It was the 12 resolutions recommended by this commission that would ultimately become law in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Under which category does abortion fall? In the president's mind, it appeared to fall under the first: "When we open up our hearts and our minds to those who may not think precisely like we do or believe precisely what we believe -- that's when we discover at least the possibility of common ground. . . . That's when we begin to say, 'Maybe we won't agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision for any woman is not made casually, it has both moral and spiritual dimensions.'" This isn't how he spoke about the freedom rides and the lunch counters and the Billy clubs.

Considering that, at this moment, the tide of popular opinion -- perhaps even the tide of history -- appears to be shifting against Obama and his view of abortion, he may want to rethink that position.

(Image © Nancy Stone for the Chicago Tribune)

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I also read this apparently rousing speech. Lots of visual images calculated to please. And lots of key phrases calculted to rouse the many students who (most likely) voted for Pres. O.

The incredible discordance betweem the Notre Dame administration and many students-- versus many alumni, some students who seem to adhere more to their stated religious influenced values on human life is AMAZING!

WHY are many in the Notre Dame administration & apparently its profs so DIFFERENT in their views on human worth---than many alumni, others?

Maybe Notre Dame (like MANY colleges) has an administration, professor body that is NOT really accountable to defend what it teaches; believes; invites...to any others?

One would think Notre Dame was "Berkeley of the late 1960's" almost!

profs, administration should feel the pull of accountability from alumni...and parents of prospective students.

I.e. they should be able to defend their positions ---This could be, for instance, regularly scheduled debates, forums between profs, and distinguished alumni who might hold differing opinions.

Mike D'Virgilio

I'm wondering why abortion is a "heart-wrenching decision for any woman [that] is not made casually, [and] it has both moral and spiritual dimensions"? If whatever it is that is in a woman's womb is not life, then what's the problem? If it is just tissue to be discarded, what exactly would the "moral and spiritual dimensions" be?

Maybe because every woman who goes through the procedure, and everyone else for that matter, knows the fetus is indeed life. When Juno in the movie of the same name was about to make this "heart-wrenching" decision she was told by a young pro-lifer in front of an abortion clinic, "It has finger nails!"

More and more people know this, and the dissembling garbage that comes out of pro "choice" people like Obama will come to be seen for what it is. That of course would be lies, lies, lies.

Fra Giles

The faculty at Notre Dame is no different than the faculty in nearly all universities in America, heavily laden with the dope-smoking, anti-establishment hippies and drop-outs of the 60's and 70's. They use their venue to cram liberal mush into the heads of young, immature students. These professors simply never grew up nor matured intellectually or otherwise.

As we mature, alumni are far less likely to hold onto the juvenile nonsense of their youth.

The problem arises when we expect more out of our priests than we do from secular humanists. For many priests, being so far removed from the main stream, they can only make it in a world hidden deeply within the halls of academics. In the real world, they would be facing the probability of being stripped of their priesthood for preaching heresy!


Abortion cannot be fought by merely telling women/girls "don't abort the child".

Why is there not a real couple in the first place? A couple that could marry (or---at least work together to make sure the child has a place---with them --or in adoption?

Does the college offer resources for the alone parenting college studentor couple ? Do the college counselors even know where local resources are? (See Feminists for Life for sample lists of resources---a starting point. Might include local agencies, charities, persons who would offer aid...)

Do college profs, administration ever address the issue of irresponsible liaisons - i.e. resource seminars--posters, etc.? For instance---I saw a poster by Feminists for Life---showing a sad young woman. Informed persons that coercing a woman/girl into an abortion is illegal (at least in that state??) and that he is also responsible legally for the baby.

ALSO---does the college you know---maybe near you have alternatives for pregnant students?

AnD_-does the college you or I know promote uncommitted casual liaisons---(or like Duke University apparently have (or had) NO policy in place against having stripper-prostitutes at college sponsored events)

OR do they promote and encourage responsible male-female relations?

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