Back on March 26th your Commander related his opinion relative to the brouhaha surrounding Notre Dame’s invitation to President Barack Obama to be its 2009 graduation speaker and to receive an Honorable Degree. Many Catholics, including the area Bishop, are against the invitation because of Obama’s stand on abortion rights and his executive order regarding stem cell research.
Both sides of the issue have had sufficient time to vent their spleens under our wonderful First Amendment guarantees. The local newspapers and television stations have carried stories on the Notre Dame dilemma almost daily, and this hot-button confrontation has even been carried on the major television networks prime-evening newscasts. Some of the 24 hour cable news channels have also aired extensive coverage, so the subject has been well vetted.
Pro-Life activists have set up an office in South Bend and they have several vehicles riding around town with extremely graphic pictures of aborted fetuses. Restraining orders have been issued against the group and they are not allowed to set foot on the campus. However, there are threats to disrupt the graduation ceremonies on May 17th.
At this point there is little more to be said about the controversy, because the opinions on both sides are firmly established. Let us all permit the tenor of this confrontation to simmer down. We want the graduation to be peaceful, pleasant and a memorable day that will be an appropriate reward for all the hard work of the graduating class. The parents and friends of the class deserve to have a pleasant day, too.
Time will grant the ultimate determination as to who was right or wrong in inviting President Obama and whether he should receive an honorable degree. Time, too, will tell us if this invitation was tainted by “Pay for Play” rewards to the University. I would love to know if ND’s President, Rev. Jenkins, would still invite the President if he knew of the contention his invitation would generate. It is the Commander’s opinion that there would be a controversy no matter who President Jenkins invited. In this litigious world that we now live in there would be someone who would object if the speaker was the Pope or the Dalai Lama.
Congratulations to the Notre Dame Class of 2009. These students may not know it yet, but their real challenges await them as they enter the highly competitive real world outside the sheltered world of academia.