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May 14th, 2009
09:05 AM ET

Religion vs. Politics: The President at Notre Dame

President Obama's next graduation stop: Notre Dame this Sunday. And that's sparking a major outcry from Catholics who say a pro-choice president should not speak at one of the nation's top Catholic schools. At 10:30am ET we'll interview the editor in chief of Notre Dame's student newspaper. Then Josh Levs will look at how the battle over this speech is playing out on the Web. Make sure you watch. And also let us know what you think - should President Obama speak at Notre Dame's graduation?
Post your comments below.


Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (188 Responses)
  1. helen wilgus

    nd invited him, knowing it would be divisive, and yes, he should do it. a poll of students would support obama i believe.
    helen wilgus

    May 14, 2009 at 9:12 am |
  2. carolyn

    Why can't Obama be gracious and just decline to appear at ND?

    Because he opposes Catholic doctrine and is direct opposition to the faith! Catholicism needs to be examined more closely for its pro-female benefits.

    He even told the Holy Father, "Let's just agree to disagree!"

    He listens to the inaccuracies of Planned Parenthood (big business and big lobbists) but will not listen to the truths about abortion.

    I know this one will not get on the air!

    May 14, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  3. Brent W.

    Funny... Notre Dame is willing to protest against a woman's right to choose. They're willing to protest against the first Black president. They're willing to protest against government's decision to allow one or a couple to choose something very person in their lives. Yet, how many of them protested George Bushe's war and death agenda? How many supported George Bush's record as a governor regarding the death penalty and his many allowances of convicted criminals to die by man's hands? How many protested against Catholic priests who were accused/convicted of molestation or worse? Notre Dame seems to have a distinct attraction to hypocrites.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  4. Linda

    Considering that the goal of higher education should be to teach people how to view and analyze information, how to think for themselves, how can the administration of a major university in this country be so closed minded.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  5. Richard Cross

    The noisy attacks on the Catholic University of Notre Dame for inviting President Obama to speak and be honored come from a fringe of misguided Catholics. They are led by the right-wing Cardinal Newman Society and some narrow-minded bishops. Are they just angry because they lost the election and find this a way to discredit Obama, or are they focusing on abortion as the only life issue worth consideration?

    Obama is being honored simply because he is the President of the United States. Where were these same strident voices when George Bush was similarly honored? He launched an Iraq war that was condemned by the pope and most theologians as immoral and he also had a track record for the most executions in Texas while he was governor. Yet we heard not a peep out of them.

    These critics do great harm to the very Church they claim to love by painting it into a corner.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  6. Francis Joseph

    The ND flap is not just about President Obama favoring and expanding the fake "right' of a woman to destroy her unborn American baby girl or boy in her womb. It is more fundamental. He does not seem to accept that there is a civlilization which has developed a Natural Law and Holy Book Tradition that even our Deist Founders recognized. There is a Creator who has given us inalienable rights, LIFE being one. Mr Obama"s own famous professor of Law at Harvard Lawrence Tribe favors Roe v Wade but says it is not found in the Constitution. Giving a Law Degree to anyone, regardless of "pay scale" who does not know a smple medikcal fact that life begins when egg meets sperm and who denies basic legal principle is unworthy of a doctorate of Law from Notre Dame or any University worthy of the name. Letting him speak is a different issue but a doctorate of Law???? Francis Joseph in Central Florida

    May 14, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  7. Eric

    I am a Catholic, and the church should have put more effort into protesting the WAR and TORTURE then trying to stop the president from speaking at Notre Dame

    May 14, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  8. Sandra Lubert

    Heidi used the term "abortion" rights. I think if CNN were reporting this in an impartial manner the term "reproductive" rights would be more appropriate.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  9. ann b kavanagh

    My husband is a graduate of Notre Dame University and I am a graduate of Misericordia University. We both are strong practicing Catholics. We both supported and voted for Obama, and believe he SHOULD speak at ND and receive the honorary degree. He stands with the church on social justice issues (help for the poor, affordable health care, anti-torture, civil rights, death penalty reform, war, global warming) as Jesus taught.. When the Catholic Church and its bishops)focus on JUST the abortion issue, they are rendering themselves irrelevant in the reality of our world and our daily lives.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  10. Sally Dawson

    I live in Indiana. Notre Dame is a wonderful school with a lot of diverse students. I hope, even if the students disagree with a few of the President's views, they will show the respect the President deserves, because, it will reflect back on the school. I think this country is feed up with people acting extreme right or left wing. Balance is the answer.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  11. alice pavlik

    I am a Catholic, but I do not want any religeon to tell me what I can and can not do with my personal life. I suggest those who disagree with moving forward in the medical world to save lives, or repair lives, they should sign up to disagree, then they do not have the opportunity to use any of the medical steps to help them or their family members in the future. Sounds like the good old days when heart transplants were against God. Or even liver transplants were aginst God. No one,no church,no government has the right to demand you live a certain way,as in this manner be it stem cell study, or take away your pro choice of life. None of these are taken lightly, EVER!!!!

    May 14, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  12. Phyllis Imhoff

    I was raised a catholic and I am not for abortion. I voted for Obama as a Republican. All my Christian friends viciously attacked me about the abortion issue during the election. I listened and I researched and if you listen to what President Obama says he is not FOR abortion he does know about the research that shows that in countries where it is outlawed there are more deaths of mothers having illegal abortions and no change in the amount of abortions. Come on Notre Dame you should be excited about Obama speaking at the commencement.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  13. Rachel Battle

    This is outrageous! I am a 2nd year college student attending Clark Atlanta University a Historically Black College and I also serve my country being part of the U.S. Army. There are some policies that President Obama has altered or dismissed that I don't agree with that he has done during his administration. Despite this I am proud of President Obama 100%.
    It becomes frustrating to see the "controversy" that the President is having to go through to simple speak at a University or College. Students and Administration alike should understand the benefits of a President coming to speak at your commencement ceremony. This great man of history that is taking the time out of his schedule to celebrate this time in their lives with them and shed some advice. To "protest" and not give our President the necessary honors seems simple and childish at best.
    If President Barack Obama decided to come to Clark Atlanta to take part in our graduation commencement, reguardless of policies, he would be welcomed with open arms and open hearts.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  14. Elizabeth Vanneste

    I am a proud graduate of Notre Dame (1982) and was fortunate enough to have attended the University during Father Hesburgh's era. When I was a student we had a diverse range of speakers on campus including both George Bush and Gerald Ford. While we may have disagreed with them on many issues we welcomed them to campus with the understanding that the role of the premier Catholic university is to encourage dialogue on issues and to examine all views.

    Judging a public figure on the basis of a single issue prevents us from expanding the dialogue. What many in the "pro-life" movement fail to recognize is that making abortion illegal won't make it non-existant. Women have been seeking abortions for thousands of years. I believe we should spend our efforts to make abortion UNNECESSARY.

    I hope that the Notre Dame community will provide a warm welcome for President Obama, celebrate the progress American society has made and remember Father Hesburgh's important contributions to the Civil Rights movement. Let us focus on the many issues and ideals we share. And let us continue the dialogue with respect.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  15. Stephanie

    As a young 26 year old Catholic, my heart aches for what is to happen on Sunday. President Obama is pulling the wool of tolerance over the sheep's eyes of Truth and morals. President Obama would like all of us to find common ground, of course, so that there is no right or wrong, everything is blurred together. Tolerance DOES NOT equal acceptance.
    The genocide of millions of babies since Roe. vs. Wade does not remotely compare to any other single issue. God have mercy on our President!

    May 14, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  16. Shan Thane

    The opportunity to listen to one of the most intelligent, articulate and exceptional presidents in the history of this country is a precious gift to Notre Dame.
    President Obama can offer another view of science and religious belief. The protests should not be allowed to ruin this historical event.

    The Church is shrinking. Vocations for priests, oblates, monks, and sisters are at an all time low. The scientific discoveries of this century will prove that some of the dogmatic and close minded sacred truths are no longer valid. In order to continue to grow or even exist, the Catholic Church must be open to the discoveries that the Creator allowed to evolve in the brains of man and woman to be their God like best.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  17. Katheran Caulfield

    Heidi: I believe that the controversy about President Obama speaking at Notre Dame's graduation is getting too much television time as it only "revs-up" those who believe Obama supports abortion, which is not true. I am a Catholic and voted for Mr. Obama, and I also am against abortion. Mr. Obama has made it perfectly clear that neither he nor his wife believe in abortion. He has said that it is a State's rights issue – the states need to set their own policy – and this has been argued in the courts more than once. What irrates me about all the "hoopla" over Notre Dame is those protesting against President Obama being honored there is that those same people are not protesting the killing going on in Mr. Bush's war, capital punishment, and many other problems that also fall under "the right to life"!!! The reason for the protest only proves again that the "Pro-life" platform is only a "one trick pony"! Where were all the protesters around the country when Mr. Bush got honorary degrees? Did they even care that he sent tens of thousands of our men and women to a war that never should have been? Did they even care that as governor of Texas, Mr. Bush was proud that he had "seen" more prisoners executed than in any other state had before?

    Thankis for listening!

    Katheran Caulfield

    May 14, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  18. andrean

    I think it is a pitiful that ASU did not give Obama an Honarary degree because " he has not accomplished a lot in his life". That is pure nonsense. The issue is racism and republican hateful prejudice. Black men have to be more than excellent to get ahead in the USA, and being an American president is honarary in itself. Notre Dame is the same.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  19. Mark in NY

    As a Catholic, I'm appalled at Notre Dame's attitude towards the President. Are they going to adopt this attitude to their admissions policies as well, refusing to accept the tuition of students who are pro-life?....I don't think so!

    It's just sad to see that there may be a hint of Notre Dame's historic racist past still lingering, since other Presidents with oppposing views to the Catholic Church, such as the death penalty, have been welcomed.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  20. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    I think that most politicians break away from their religious views just to gain more support for their election into office. I do not believe that Obama would support a young girls plans of getting an abortion if he had gotten her pregnant in his teenage years. And as far as stem cell research we had better not produce embryo's just for the cause of saving people or curing disease. The giving of life from God for reproduction is a sacred matter and should not be compromised! If politicians would put Christ first in their lives before their so called public service maybe they would serve the public better!

    May 14, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  21. Fredrik

    Why should anyone bother taking these protesting bishops seriously when they gave George W Bush a completely free pass when he spoke at ND 6-7 years ago? Bush was a big supporter of the death penalty.

    I don't recall Alan Keyes volunteering to get arrested protesting ND's invitation of Bush.

    These protesters are coming across as desperate Republicans looking for a reason to protest Obama. After all, where they when Bush was was invited? Not all that different than the teabaggers. Where were their concern about government spending when Bush was in power?

    May 14, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  22. Shan Thane

    The opportunity to listen to one of the most intelligent, articulate and exceptional presidents in the history of this country is a precious gift to Notre Dame.
    President Obama can offer another view of science and religious belief. The protests should not be allowed to ruin this historical event.

    The scientific advances of this century will show some of the fields of study and belief that were previously considered empirical truths will
    show these dogmatic beliefs to be invalid.

    In order to grow as an individual and as a congregation, both need to be open to new scientific discoveries and results.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  23. curious5849

    I was born in South Bend, now living 20 miles away in Michigan. I'm so glad to see that someone else sees the Church vs. State issue. Randall Terry and Dr. Alan Keyes came to ND to make a circus out of the 2009 graduation. I believe the real abortion here is the hard working students that have earned this day. To see these imports i.e. Terry & Keyes come into our town with their banners on buses, airplanes and vehicles is really just too much. They have won, they have totally distroyed what this day means to the ppl that have paid thousands of dollars to attend ND. Obama is PRO-CHOICE which to me means YOU make the choice YOU pay for that choice (maybe). There is NO reasoning with pro-life ppl believe me I have tried that last month. Even UK catholics have jumped on the wagon, everyone who doesn't agree with the BRAINWASHING they have rec'd from years of catholic schooling are scum and mindless.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  24. Tchalla Greene

    I think that we as a NATION have to understand that differences in opinion will continue to exist on many issues but the positive growth that we can gain from our commonalities and shared purpose by far exceeds the value of the things that seperate us. We must unite!

    May 14, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  25. William

    One word: NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 14, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  26. William

    A Muslim at a Catholic School? No way...........

    May 14, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  27. Arlene

    Of course! He's the POTUS and should speak if invited. He's not the first pro-choice politician to speak at ND. I don't understand all the hype. Kennedy, Carter and Cuomo all spoke there. I don't understand the big deal. People loooove to brew controversy where there isn't any.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  28. karen

    Yes, he (President Barack Obama) should be able to attend and give a speach at ND. Im black and Catholic if i were graduating would i be able to attend?

    May 14, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  29. Frederick Ferguson

    No one is fooled. The Catholic Church hierarchy is so embroiled in it's own moral collapse with the ongoing priest sex scandals and the never ending gaffes of Benedict that it is always looking for someway to distract attention and try to reassert it's moral authority. But be not fooled–the road is paved with their hypocrisy and moral failure. Perhaps it would do better for them to start judging less and learn how to live with the majority of the world who reject their shallow diversions.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  30. Colleen Sherman

    Pres Obama singularly, powerfully and vocally stands against central Catholic principles. He should not have been invited to speak at Notre Dame.

    May 14, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  31. Laura Sevenich Hancock

    I am embarrassed to be a Catholic in reference to the Obama fiasco at ND. My daughter will be graduating from St. Mary's, across the street, and I wish the president were speaking there. As a Catholic, I have always prided myself in the ability to analyze information and make informed decisions. President Obama is the epitomy of everything I respect in a person. He has changed the tone of the country and how others view us.

    Shame on you Notre Dame. You are looking ignorant in my eyes. Thank God both of my daughters went to St. Mary's, where they were educated to look at the big picture.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  32. Barry Watts, Baton Rouge, LA

    They don't deserve to have President Obama as a speaker. Let us not forget that the RCC turned a blind eye to the Holocaust and for centuries protected child molestors passing themselves off as priests. Can you say "hypocrite"?

    May 14, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  33. Catholic Mom

    I think the Bishops should know they do not speak for all Catholics. I wish they had been this vocal over the churches past problems. Catholics who do not agree with their views should not put our money in the collection plate every 1st and 3rd Sunday Mass until they get the message!!!!

    May 14, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  34. Mike in Jacksonville

    The Catholic Church is anti abortion. They are also anti birth control. We have a pope who was in the Hitler Youth movement. I'm confused. How about preventing unwanted pregnances?

    May 14, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  35. John Power Berkeley Heights New Jersey

    Twenty years ago Mayor Ed koch said " If there are ten major issues, and you agree with me on eight or nine, I'm delighted. If you agree with me on all of them you should probably see a psychiatrist. "
    Many Roman Catholics including me are delighted that President Obama is in office, even if we disagree with his stance on abortion.
    He is a good man and is working tirelessly to solve the very difficult situation he inherited.
    Notre Dame was correct in inviting him, and he deserves a warm and gracious welcome.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  36. Stella

    Notre Dame and the Catholic leadership in general should support our esteemed president speaking at the university. Are they going to refuse to let a "pro war/pro death" leader speak? How about one who has not fully supported providing for the needs of "the least of these" for food, clothing, medical treatment and shelter? Or are the only litmus tests for a person being accepted to speak at Notre Dame that the speaker be anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-euthenasia and anti-stem cell research? That doesn't line up with the values my Bible teaches.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  37. Trisha

    As a Catholic, I am embarrassed by the over the top protesters and bloody dolls. Such ridiculous behavior will achieve nothing. The anti-abortion movement has been a complete failure since Roe v. Wade. It is time to open up the lines of communication with respectful dialogue. The church could do more to decrease abortion with fact based sex education and a realistic contraception policy.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  38. Linda

    Of course, he should speak at Notre Dame. He was invited and for the vast majority of the graduating seniors, it is an honor to have the president speak. He is giving an INSPIRATIONAL speech, not a speech to promote his political positions.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  39. jeannine McHale

    The news has been reporting that President Obama has been attending several college commencement exercises. Are we as a nation footing this bill or is he covering these expenses himself? To me, this is not a duty our President should even be thinking about. I feel that especially in this economy we should not be financing this. Flying Air Force 1 should be for presidential duties only.

    Thanks.
    Jeannine

    May 14, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  40. Elisabeth Osborne

    I am ashamed of the students of Notre Damein that instead of feeling pride in their school and being honored at the fact that a president is even speaking there, they are rejecting him on the basis of religion. I have heard remarks such as "anti Catholic" yet he IS a CHRISTIAN. God Gave us minds to think, and sometimes think differently and i do not think that these students have the right to judge him based on this critiria. He should be judged by his leadership abilities, his accomplishments, and his legacy, not by his support of pro choice or gay marriage. Look at our formar president George W. Bush, the good old boy of the south with good moral Christian values but hardly any true presidential leadership skills. Mabey they would rather him speak at their graduation. These students should feel honored to have a president speak, especially since his story of his strive for education dispite all the obstacles that faced him is one that should inspire others to reach for their goals and strive for higher education; that anyone can rise from the ashes and make a difference. I think that Obama should speak at Notre Dame, but personally after all the protests, if i was Obama that school wouldnt deserve my time.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  41. Arlene

    Stephanie:

    "Genocide of millions of babies" b/c of Roe vs Wade? WOW!

    I hope you are just as appalled by the thousands of military personnel that have died in Iraq due to Bush's mistakes and the millions of people in Darfur who are ACTUALLY experiencing Genocide.

    I also hope you don't, for a minute, support the death penalty. B/c if the LONG list of human rights atrocities occurring around our world doesn't boil your blood, you are a hypocrite!

    May 14, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  42. Barbara

    I am a christian and we share some catholic views, it worries me that a man has power to take life away My bible says that it is a abomination. I just fear there's more to come from President Obama on religious issues's. Too much controversy just don't come against the Truth.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  43. Mark Laubach

    Why is it that conservative Roman Catholics and other Christians are so paranoid about open discussions of issues? Where is their faith? Do they think they have to protect God from the world? God gave us brains with which to think and reason. As a devout Christian, I find my own faith both challenged AND strengthened by remaining open to revelation. As for these people who wish to censor free speech in the Church, they strike me as just as intolerant and dangerous as the Islamic fundamentalists who are unwilling to allow free thought, reason, and speech when it questions or disagrees with dogma. For all these people, I believe their God is too small.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  44. Dominique

    100% he should give his speach. The Cathlic Church nor its followers are above the Government. Everyone has there differnces. Cathlics are suppose to be taught to not judge or hate thy neighbor. Yet they cant even follow their own teachings.How can anyone be a part of a religion that holds some much hate and judgement. Thats not a way of life. If we all cared and shared we would be living in a better world.

    Witchie Woman

    May 14, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  45. Larry Comes

    I support President Obama's invitation to speak at Notre Dame. Great Universities always look at both sides of every question. To do otherwise is censorship. The Catholic far right extremist must not be allowed to dictate to the moderate, mainstream, and educated Catholics. What's next – book burning ?

    When I was a student at Notre Dame we had many controversial speakers. It is what a great university does. I applaud President Jenkins for his stance.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  46. Catherine

    Notre Dame sounds crazy. I did not hear anything about the molested children, or the abortions many Nuns most assuredly had to have because of their sex lives. I have not heard about Father Cutie on the beach openly groping a woman. They are willing to change the rules for him. I have not heard anyone from Notre Dame about the matter of torture, they supported Bush all the way. I have not heard about the thousands of men and women who were killed in a war that never had to happen, nor have I seen anyone from this Christian organization reach out and try to bring change to those things they object too. I see ungodly racism. I see people who are acting like the people who cried :"Give us Barabas:]"" I see a group of people practicing religion falsely, want to crucify President Obama. However, I also see that only 1/3 of Notre Dame is protesting. Finally, I see hypocrits. If any of their parents got Alzeimers, they would fight for sten cell research just like Nancy Reagan. God forbid that we should ever have a Catholic Priest in the White House in these times.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  47. N Smith

    Unless Notre Dame invited him to make a speech about abortion it shouldn't matter. Often speakers are invited to speak at an institution that doesn't match up ideologically.
    Our President's view of abortion will not prevent him from giving a strong an inspiring speech.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  48. Chris

    I'm not sure who really listens to Catholic bishops anymore. Does anyone even care? because I sure dont.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  49. Brian Gardner

    The Pope can go all over the Middle East where Christians, let alone Catholics, are a small minority and they welcome him peacefully...yet Obama can't speak at a Catholic school? Stones in a glass house...

    May 14, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  50. Wendy

    I think Obama should have respectfully declined to speak at the commencement. He was only invited because it is tradition. The ceremony is for the graduates and if enough of them do not want to hear from him, they should not have to. As it is, I agree with those at Notre Dame. The life of an unborn child is incredibly important to me, so if it were my commencement, I would just not go. I would not want to ever hear from Obama. I agree with him on so few things.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  51. Elisabeth Osborne

    oh and one more thing. In response to caroyln's earlier comment, we need to get one thing clear. Obama, and other people that are pro choice, do not necessarily agree with abortion or want it, but they believe that a woman has the right to have the option and not have the government or others telling her that she has to go though 9 months of preganancy for a baby she doesnt want and cannot support. I am Catholic, but i think with my mind ,not believing everything the church tells me. The church also tells us that you cannot use birth control and yet, if we did mabey abortions would be alot less. As far as him telling the pope "we can agree to disagree" i dont see what is wrong with that. He, nor anyone else, does not have to believe every single thing the church teaches, or even what our parents or teachers tell us. Thank God our president has a mind to think for himself instead of blindly following. Him supporting pro choice does not make him bad person, a horrible Christian, or a bad president. There have been people that believe in pro life and anti gay marriage that are far worse Christians. I think his religous beliefs should not be considered when judging his presidential abilities or just giving a speech at a college. Grow up people and learn to accept people that dont believe everything you do

    May 14, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  52. Francine Fleishman

    Of course, President Obama should speak at the Notre Dame Commencement. He is President of all Americans whether they share his views or not. Further, students at any college or university should be exposed to various points of view. That's what being educated is all about.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  53. Chuck Risch

    Judas relinquished his principles for personal gain. This seems very similar to ND giving an honorary degree to pro-abortionist Obama in return for prestige gained for ND and its administration. ND should do what is right and withdraw the invitation.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  54. aaron

    What does it matter if the president speaks at Notre Dame since they asked him to do it. Besidie this is a country that has a Constitutional Amendment that says this country has no religious ties and if you believe that you are smoking crack

    May 14, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  55. Joseph Williams

    I have watched you on CNN for some time. This is about Notre
    Dame. I have loved this University for some time but this time with the Obama I have a big problem with them. I am a Catholic but I believe the everyone should have their own opinion. This include the president. What give them the right to impose their opinion on anyone else. This would be a better world if we tolerate each other.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  56. George Goolsby

    It seems to me that many Catholics are more worried about President Obama's stance on right to life than they are about all the priest that are constantly being exposed for violating little boys. Where is the outcry on that. Why are these priest never prosecuted?

    May 14, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  57. Barbara Manville

    This is America. Just because our President believes differently on an issue doesnot mean that he should not be respected for his position as President. Notre Dame should be honored to have the current President of the United States speaking at their graduation!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 14, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  58. Line't Lewerenz

    Coutries where women are treated equally are the most successful. Are men requried (or not) to get vasectomies? Women, not laws must have legal control of their bodies not just for themselves but in fact for the USAs' success.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  59. Lorraine Foshee

    President Obama's stand on abortion goes against ALL rights - civil, moral - not only Catholic. Many years ago, I thought it was a woman's right. Now, however, after waiting so long for my own child, I am convinced this is actually murder. On this issue alone, I can't see why he should be allowed to speak at Notre Dame, yet alone any other University. I could go on and on about this all important, and in my view, the Number One issue for all Americans, but I must stop here.

    President Obama may have been the right choice for President, yet it is so difficult to way all the good points against the bad, when this point is so overwhelmingly heavy.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  60. steve

    The Republican party and the Extreme catholics are the one prostesting the presidents visit.
    It is political and is petty.
    For the catholics bishops and archbishops that joined the protest, they are not serving God well. They are extremist like the Islamic extremist.
    They should practice religious tolerance as they preach. After all the president is a christian and is prolife in several front.
    Working to:
    End the illegal war in Iraq
    Working on Affordable health care for all.
    policies to help the least amongst us
    Trying to legalize the undocumented immigrants in the society.
    To educate the Children in this country.
    What problem does some of the Bishops have with some of the policies.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  61. Shawn Gilbert

    If the religious fundamentalists are so against abortion, instead of protesting and trying to force others to believe as they do, maybe they just shouldn't get abortions themselves. They should "live" the righteous life, not "enforce" it.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  62. D. Evans

    President Obama should without a doubt speak at Notre Dame, people are going to have opinions regardless and the thought of him possibly pulling out due to the protest would seem as if he is afraid of his decisions; standing firm to what he believes in makes him the president I, and countless other college students voted for- he should definitely speak.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  63. William in Florida

    Of course he should ... YES. This is the single most divisive issue in our country today, along with gay rights, and is part of the cancer that is eating us from within. The really sad part about this issue is that the unmovable "anti-anortion" crowd will vote for whomever SAYS they are "pro-life" regardless of any actual qualities of the person (ex: George W. Bush, the GOP in general). Politicians can be utterly unqualified for the office, but so long as they claim to be "pro-life" then they get votes. It is sad.

    The best point on this issue is that regardless of the law, abortion will not go away. The efforts against would be better focused on making alternatives viable, which would actually reduce the numbers and then focus on the plethora of other issues which pose a greater threat to our country's future.

    The most absurd comment in here is "The genocide of millions of babies since Roe. vs. Wade does not remotely compare to any other single issue." Single issue voters, social conservatives in general really make me want to vomit.

    I am an American, retired US Navy Veteran, and a humanitarian and I approved this message!

    May 14, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  64. Greenville Grandma

    "To thy own self be true" means being genuine – not speaking out of both sides of his mouth trying to appease everyone. That comes across as phony and pandering.
    If Obama's core values oppose what Notre Dame stands for, I think he should NOT speak there. Check out the word: HYPOCRITE!

    May 14, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  65. commandomom

    God gave us the gift of choice. Who has the right to take it away?

    May 14, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  66. Craig

    I've been proud to say that President Obama's a "Hawaii" boy, even giving time to play ball with our local kids during the presidential run.

    Hawaii is all about the family: A father, a mother, and their children. That's been our order from the begining, to multiply and replenish the earth. It's fundamental regardless if you look at it from a doctrinal sense, or a "civil" sense.

    Let him speak...that doesn't indicate our support for HIS decision to support abortion.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  67. Lorraine Foshee

    "weigh" not "way" sorry

    May 14, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  68. Karen Alexander

    This day should be all about the graduates. They have worked hard to get to this time in their lives. Obama is everyone's president. His position demands respect, no matter what his policies are. They asked, he accepted, it's done, get over it. I think anyone who does not have the graduates best interest in mind, should stay away.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  69. Dorothy

    Not all Catholics are against President Obama speaking. Some groups are speaking in the name of all catholic. Our family are weekly church attending "cradle Catholics." We are proud that the President has been asked to speak. We also wonder at the beliefs of other speakers on basic catholic teaching: the death penalty, just wars, etc.
    This protest of so called pro life Catholics is only done to embarrass the President.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  70. Art Steven

    President Obama should NOT accept the honorarium from Notre Dame as he will be perceived by many as a hypocrite.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  71. Jeff Serra

    It's great that President Obama is pro-choice when it comes to abortion. When it comes to Obama speaking at Notre Dame, I think he should. He should not be denied the ability to speak there because of his views. Obama is a smart man and will not try to force his views in the students. There may even be students there that share his same view. Anyway, I feel like this is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Obama's not going to speak about abortion. It's a commencement speech and not a political rally. For those who think otherwise, wake up and smell the coffee.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  72. Geoffrey West

    Science and spirituality are finally starting to come back 'online' with the realization that we are all ONE.

    Yes, Obama should be allowed to speak at Notre Dame.

    As long as we continue to maintain our differences as a 'justification' for our thoughts, words and actions of negativity towards others and towards our planet that sustains us, we will never BE 'peace'.
    From the perspective of ONENESS, this allows us to celebrate our diversity while making the choices in LIFE that honour the Self, honour others and honour our planet. We shoiuld no longer be using our differences as justifications for negativity, but rather to bring new, evolutionary experiences within the ONENESS that we all are.
    We only have to CHOOSE this!
    Global peace and healing begins with a choice – a choice made by YOU!
    http://www.greenprintforlife.org
    A Greenprint For LIFE – awakening individuals into a new relationship to LIFE, and laying a foundation for the creation of a step by step plan for structural change in democratically-accepting countries.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  73. Jesse Dwyer

    Hey Heidi,

    As a graduate of Paul Smith's College '05 I know what it is like to have a politician give a commencement speech. Then Senator Clinton gave our speech and was met with similar opposition to her views on abortion. It is not about politics when it comes to graduating college; Senator Clinton gave a motivating and poignant speech about becoming an adult and contributing to our community. I think Pres. Obama will do the same at Notre Dame, no matter where his politics lie. The Pres. genuinely cares about the welfare about all the people in this country, and I'm sure the students would rather have the President of the USA give their commencement speech as opposed to someone who bores them to death like most speakers tend to do at college graduations.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  74. Brenda C, Corona, California

    I believe President Obama should speak. He was invited. This invitation was extended as an expression of the university's respect for the President of the United States of America (I assume!!). There should be no more discussion. The Church and the university should have gotten their act together before extending the invitation. President Obama has enough to deal with without this bickering–that could have been easily been avoided with a little forethought. Thanks, Brenda

    May 14, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  75. Tina Berg

    The President should be allowed to speak at Notre Dame. I am so sick and tired of hearing about this topic. No one is saying that just because the President believes in abortion we all should. If Notre Dame cannot put aside this one issue to allow the President to come that is their thoughts and feelings but, it is not necessarily the thoughts and feelings of the entire community. I personally don't believe in abortion but I welcome President Obama to Indiana. Personally I think it is an attack across the board by Notre Dame; not just to President Obama but to all those who support him. Who are we to judge? Maybe Notre Dame should think about that.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  76. William

    Listen.................
    Mr. Obama is always shaking a tree to see what will fall out. If he spent more time in Washington looking out for what we elected him to do instead of riding around in his new jet, more would be accomplished..isn't that what he promised..,change? Well, I've only seen change in the negative.

    He'll have a tough time getting re-elected. What did his supporters think when they elected a no – experience, junior senator from Illinois?

    Until then, we "middle" classers continue to be taxed and overlooked.

    William,
    South Carolina

    May 14, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  77. Patricia G.

    If the president is invited to speak at a university/college for commencement exercises, and he accepts, then he should speak at that event.
    The Catholic Church enjoys a non taxible status because of the separation of church and state. If they feel that they prefer to interfere with matters of state, then they should be eligable for taxation.
    The students at Notre Dame should be exibiting appreciation for the President's willingness to speak at their event and he should be treated with the respect that is appropriate. He isn't going there to discuss Catholic beliefs vs. American citizens' rights to practice birth control and have access to a safe abortion. No Catholic is forced to use birth control OR get an abortion.
    Barack Obama exhibits more class and respect that the Notre Dame cry babies. The time to protest his invitation to speak was before the offer was made. Now that such an accomplished man AND OUR PRESIDENT has accepted, the student body et. al. who are complaining, need to be gracious. This is yet another task that needs to be learned as part of their educatonl

    May 14, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  78. Sheila Harley

    As a third generation Catholic, I want Notre Dame and the Catholic community to focus on helping the homeless and hungry in our country, addressing the atrocities in Darfur and other partsof the world, and continuing challenges of racism among the Catholic, including Notre Dame. We, practicing Catholics, need to be in an uproar about the lack of quality education; those living in crime-ridden communities, and children going to bed hungry in poor neighborhoods who "exist" across the tracks and out of sight from the persons expressing disdain and anger at President Obama speaking at Notre Dame. What about the level of gun violence and deaths in poor communities where these children live? There is no demonstration at NRA, at these unregulaed ground shows, etc. What kind of environment do we have these children to live in?

    May 14, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  79. Tony

    From Canada

    Heidi,

    I think there is a hidden agenda here. If other Presidents received the honor, why not the first black President who has achieved more at this time of his life that others have in their life time.

    We all have our views as I am sure the other past Presidents had.

    Let us stop the BS please and say what the real reason is.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  80. Gary F.

    I am a religious person and also a Catholic but it’s about time that the church realizes that times are different and they can’t be so stubborn about things. Abortion is a women’s choice and not a decision for some guys all the way in Rome. Its things like this that are threatening to pull the new generation away from the Catholic Church and organized religion all together. The church has a stubborn set of rules that today is hard for people to apply to their lives because times are completely different from the days when these ideas where established in the church.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  81. Shonnie Holmes- Davenport, Iowa

    Those poor over-educated (?) adults (?) must not be able to find jobs and are focusing their frustrations on the President.. Obama will handle this contest of wills, just like Trump handled his.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  82. Lauren

    President Obama should not speak at Notre Dame commencement ceremony. Notre Dame is a college founded on the beliefs of the Catholic Religion which adamantly stands against abortion and stem cell research. While we should respect President Obama because he is the President..... President Obama should respect the theology Notre Dame was founded and excuse himself from delivering any speeches at Notre Dame.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  83. anna

    Free speech. Free Choice

    May 14, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  84. Sabrina

    What defines accompolishment? Throught the struggle of becoming the first African American President of the United State. This was a historical moment. People rules try to make you forget a memorable moment that millions witness. Lighten Up while you still in the pink.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  85. William

    Here we go again, mixing church and state.....................

    May 14, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  86. Chris Mullaney

    Notre Dame supports "Universal Education", it here in very small print.
    So their acknowledging the President is certainly a laudable goal. But those who chastise his personal beliefs are in my opinion nothing more than bigots and deserve no voice in the news.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  87. Angela

    In a country where so many pride freedom(s), of religion, of speech, freedom to choose, it amazes me that institutions of knowledge cannot appreciate those same freedoms. If asked, most people who are pro-choice supporters would prefer that abortions not happen; we just don't feel it is our right to prevent another person from making that choice. At the same time, it is the right of people to protest against those things they don’t agree with; however, institutions of higher learning seem to want to spit out drones and not free thinkers.

    As an American, it is our option to use our freedom of choice to persuade people not to take part in the actions that we believe would not benefit society whether it pertain to abortion, gay/lesbian issues, war, drinking and driving, drugs, child or spousal abuse etc. But as you have seen by the images shown on TV from pro-life supporters, it perpetuates the reason people don't want to bring a new life into such an ugly world.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  88. TrueStory

    I feel that Barack Obama should speak at Notre Dame. People must understand that he is not just another name in your phone book, he is the president of the United States of America. Even though he mentioned at the ASU graduation ceremony, of which I attended, that being the president is just a title, he does deserve a lot of respect. It makes his job of reforming the broken state of this country much more difficult if too many people here openly express negativity towards him. If we cannot respect him enough in his own backyard, do you expect the rest of the world to do so?

    May 14, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  89. glenn

    If Notre Dame chooses to position themselves as a "Religious Institution" then they have every right to shield their followers from alternative and opposing veiw points. BUT, if they choose to position themselves as a "Instituion of Higher Learning" then they are obiligated to provide their students with all veiw points and opinions so that they can be well informed and make the best decesions for themselves. It would be a huge embrassment and injustist to their students if ND did not welcome one of the most intelligent, articulate, worldly Presidents of the US w open arms to speak at their University . Shame on you ND!

    May 14, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  90. Betty M

    We are in support of President Obama coming here, you just don' t hear from those students who support him. The ones pushing the bloody baby's in strollers, the plane flying non stop with an aborted baby on it and the trucks with the same get all the press. We'll be happy when they leave!

    May 14, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  91. Tom in the Desert

    As a ND alum, I would point out that ND has strived to the status of a "Great University" for over 50 years. This "controversy" is totally contrary to that concept and has little to do with Catholic "doctrine" over 'Life' besides. If it were, the same protesters would have been raising cane over the University's commencement address invitation to Bush 41 and Bush 43 both of whose policies were very destructive of 'Life' and lives – and in major and orchestrated ways. O'Bama, on the other hand, has no such direction. But, somehow, in some contorted logic, these 'protesters', only some of whom are ND alums, have decided that the 'Life' and lives of the Born do not count. Only those of the Unborn.
    This is a very Partisan attack by some paleolithic Wrong-wingers who are using some deluded, dogmatic alums as 'cover' in a transparent attempt to ding O'Bama politically.
    O'Bama is our part-Irish President of the United States hailing, as an adult, from ND's largest student hometown – Chicago. This event is for the graduating Seniors who, according to a student paper poll, support the O'Bama invitation 97% to 3%. I am sure that most alums are embarassed by the 'controversy' and honored to have such a ground-breaking President address the Class of '09. GO IRISH!!

    May 14, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  92. lisa

    I don't agree with those at ND who say that Obama's pro choice views kill children everyday. Isn't it interesting that those people are pro life often say "if you don't want it, give it away!" But those same people never see fit to adopt or foster kids. There are already too many kids in the system, some of these kids get through the cracks, falling into the wrong crowds, get abused, some go to jail because of crimes they got involved in. And then these pro-lifers start siding with conservatives who believe that all social problems are caused by people within society and therefore should not be aided by the government. They start problematizing this disenfranchized and marginalized segment of the population. Some of these results could have been avoided if these so called Christians had done what was right and either fostered or adopted a few of these unwanted children. But they never do. They're all talk, all hypocrites. I believe in free speech, so let protestors at ND do what they do best, from from the Crusades, to the Inquisition to whatever propoganda they're up to now.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  93. Jacob Smith

    Though I am not a catholic I do subscribe to organized religion and I do ally with them in their stance on abortion. That being said, I'm not convinced that the key note speaker at commencement has ever been expected or ever should be expected to completely mirror every belief held by those receiving their diplomas. Key note speakers are often chosen based on their personal accomplishments and the unique perspective they can offer to the graduating class due to those achievements. In this case, those achievements include the fact that he has become the elected representative of the free world. A commencement speaker has never been chosen due to a particular belief they hold. In conclusion, despite a moral disagreement many Nortre Dame students may have with the president, he undoubtedly has a perspective from which those students can benefit. Additionally, the only way to win people over to our particular disposition on this divisive issue, is to show that we are unafraid and hold no personal malice towards those who would oppose us.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  94. Tom Mercer

    Heidi, Regarding President Obama's graduation speech at Notre Dame; it is my opinion that he should follow through with it,since his stand on abortion is that every woman has a choice in that matter! He is not pro- abortion, nor has he ever been pro- abortion! Tom Mercer

    May 14, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  95. kevin

    See ,this is the problems i have with people who call them self christians,you dont share their views on everything ánd there is no love.This behavor by these catolics,only conferms my belive that all religious belivers are the same ,dont agree with us and you dont qualified to be with us .religon is a scam.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  96. David Sobek

    Notre Dame has a history of inviting newly-elected Presidents to speak at Commencement. However, the nations pre-eminent Catholic University should not award an honorary degree to a President who's positions on abortion and embryonic research run contrary to the teachings of the church.

    David Sobek
    ND MBA '86

    May 14, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  97. MaryFran Potts

    President Obama, former community organizer and advocate of social justice, is an excellent choice for speaker at Notre Dame. Most people who are pro choice are not advocates of abortion. They are supporters of free will, leaving individuals to wrestle with their own consciences with regard to moral issues. This also holds true for opinions on stem cell research.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  98. Joseph Orloff

    The university invited President Obama and a overwhelming majority of graduating seniors are fine with it. Any so called "major outcry" is not coming from within the university.

    CNN maybe be slightly self serving by reporting this as a major controversy.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  99. Notre Dame Junior

    As a current student at the University of Notre Dame, having just returned home after a week of finals, I can attest to the fact that graduating from Notre Dame results from years of hard work and effort. Graduation is about honoring our seniors for their work, it is not a platform for anti-abortion issues. Yes, Notre Dame is a Catholic University, but part of being an institution of higher learning requires and encourages its students to seek and engage in discussions that are sometimes controversial and difficult. The invitation to President Obama is not inconsistent with Catholic Doctrine, rather it is honoring the University's spirit and commitment to engaging in dialogue that promotes growth and understanding of the ultimate Truth. I can think of no greater honor for Notre Dame's graduating class of 2009, than to have the President of the United States speak as their commencement speaker. I only wish I had been born two years earlier!

    May 14, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  100. Patricia

    Why does it not surprise me that once again the Catholic Church, as represented by many loud voices, is protesting that the President of The United States will speak at a 'catholic' school, and he might just promote diversity of thought. It should be clear to any student of history that this church has had an agenda over the centuries that has not been pure. Currently, they do not seem to object to speakers who are adulterers, who have been divorced multiple times, who approve of capital punishment, torture, lies, wars that border on genocide, or popes with a questionable history in the Nazi party. No, let us just protest a president that challenges us to think
    To some, that is really frightening.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  101. Laura Culley

    I was one of the first 100 women that graduated from Notre Dame in 1973 and many alumni were unhappy with the proposed acceptance of women into the Notre Dame community at that time. I am very proud to call myself a graduate of Notre Dame and commend their decision to have our President speak at the 2009 commencement. Catholics have a broad range of opinions regarding stem cell and abortion rights and President Obama has shown himself to be adept at addressing thorny issues that have confounded our country –

    May 14, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  102. paul lupone

    I am a Catholic. I graduated from a catholic college. I attended a Catholic graduate school. The majority of those who attended these schools voted for Obama Those who are protesting Obama's appearance at Notredame in no way reflect the views of the majority of Catholics nor even the views of the Vatican itself. Perhaps they may prefer Dick Cheney He might explain to them the morality of waterboarding..

    May 14, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  103. Stephanie

    Yes, Arlene, I am appalled by many atrocities around the World. The women in Africa whose sexual organs are disfigured because of ignorance. And, my best-friend was proud to fight in Iraq and he suffers from it daily. But he says it himself.... he chose, key word, CHOSE to join the marines.
    Unborn children do not choose to die. They have no right because of this country's ignorance. So, until the numbers of soldiers killed overseas remotely comes close to the millions of babies slaughtered since Roe. vs. Wade... (which they will never come close) I will expend more of my efforts towards the other human rights issues. Until then, I will be a voice for the unheard. Ask the former "Jane Roe". She isn't hiding behind that name anymore... the woman whose case changed the World, has now since converted to Christianity and fights for the rights of the unborn.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  104. Marcelle Forsyth

    The responsibility of religious leaders is to teach tolerance, and to include everyone's voice. Instead, the Catholic leaders want to exclude
    a large population of Catholic's views and anyone who disagrees with their idea of what's moral. Invading Iraq was immoral, but I know plenty of pro-life advocates who believe the invasion was justified. Barack Obama should be celebrated by the Catholic church as a president who
    tolerates different opinions and celebrates differences. It should be obvious to the Catholic church that President Obama wants to bring leaders together to promote peace even when their religions collide.
    Maybe the Catholic leaders should consult with President Obama on
    how to spread peace and tolerance.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  105. Craig Ontiveros

    As a Christian, a man who genuinely loves GOD, for years now, I have been grieved by the imposing, outlandish positions that my fellow believers take when it comes to major issues such as abortion and gay marriage.

    For one, the scripture says "Be in the world but not of the world", As believers, we need to have a firm grasp of the fact that there will only be one perfect goverment and no matter who we elect, they will not be the leader of that goverment. So, until then we need to occupy our time by serving and building others up, not tearing them down just because of a chosen belief or lifestyle. The WORD states, that we need to be defined by the world by our love that is openly visible and expressed to all of the fellow occupents of the world irregardless of opposing views, beliefs or lifestyles.

    The WORD also reads, "As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD", What this means is, I am responsible for myself and my house. I could only let my life be read by my love, not by my imposing attitude, trying to cram my views and beliefs down other peoples throat.

    Lastly, it is written, "Work out your OWN salvation with fear and trembling. I can't work someone elses salvation for them, my life is to work out my own and to be defined by my evident love.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  106. Pati Marsh

    Imagine graduating from a university where your educational leaders followed only the voice of extremists who didn't agree with your opinion. Notre Dame is better than that. Above the door of Sacred Heart Basilica at Notre Dame you will read, "God Country Notre Dame". No wonder they are welcoming the President. Good Job ND.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  107. David

    The university does not support President Obama's views on abortion, but it does support freedom of speech. By asking the president to address their graduates they are not sanctioning abortion, just as they didn't sanction all the policies of previous presidents who have spoken at Notre Dame. I'm a graduate of the university and fully support Father Jenkins. I believe the university and church are strong enough to disagree respectfully with those who hold dissenting views. Having discussed this event with many of those who are protesting the president's appearance, I have no doubt they are hijacking the graduates' day for their own political purposes, especially the newly converted Newt Gingrinch, who appears to be courting the conservative Catholic vote for a future presidential bid. It's shameless hypocrisy.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  108. Tim

    I am a graduate of Notre Dame and heard Jimmy Carter speak at our commencement. Like Barack Obama he supported the rule of law and Roe v. Wade. There was no controversy in his selection nor any protests and it makes me wonder why there is such an issue with president Obama. Have we become more intolerant? Is racism an underlying issue?

    May 14, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  109. lisa

    Jeanine McHale,
    that's why you aren't president.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  110. Carla

    I am very proud that our President will be speaking at my alma matter. I implore the protestors not to ruin commencement for the students – this is a once in a lifetime event for the graduates, who have worked very hard. I also hope that President Obama's appearance will help to rectify historic racial polarization on campus, so that Notre Dame can more fully embody the true spirit of Christianity.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  111. Tony

    He should speak to em', but I wouldn't! Guess that's why he gets the job! Whomever doesn't want to listen to the guy, ...don't have to. Free choice is a good thing! Glad I believe in it! Please don't force me to listen to someone I don't want to hear. But I'd listen if I were smart. Thanks!

    May 14, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  112. C. Elizabeth Price

    As a 1984 graduate of Notre Dame, mother of three and pro-life Catholic, I absolutely support the selection of President Obama as the 2009 ND Commencement speaker. One of the greatest lessons I learned while a student at Notre Dame is that the only way in which to influence policy is through respectful dialogue; neither vitriol or close-minded condemnation will accomplish this end. Perhaps our beloved Father Ted Hesburgh, President Emeritus of the University, expressed this view most succinctly when he observed that nothing will change our University (or our staunch support of Life), but that the invitation to President Obama may, indeed, begin to change his view.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  113. Pat W

    The behavior of the bishops and protesters seems strangely un-Christian to me. I don't ever recall Jesus condemning a sinner with such vehemence. Christians need to stop "throwing stones" at Obama. He should be treated with love and respect.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  114. Tom Prebis

    Heidi, when our president visits The University of Notre Dame, I would hope he would quell the lingering Catholic skepticism regarding SCR, or stem-cell research. I am Catholic myself, yes; however, I was nearly killed in a catastrophic single-car, weather-related automobile accident at sixteen. In this cataclysm, I WAS fully restrained, so yes, I did survive, but in the process, I sustained a HORRIFYING injury known as a TBI, or Traumatic Brain Injury. This occurs when there is a sharp blow to ones' head, gunshot wounds & falls are the two other leading causes of this injury. But getting back to SCR, if the Catholic Church could see Stem-Cells for what they are, Gods natural healing mechanism, then the supposed moral quandary of pursuing such research would be all but eliminated. I say 'supposed' because, and I encourage your viewers to check me on this, an enterprising scientist recently discovered a way to make stem cells from ordinary skin cells, to "trick" them into reverting back to their stem cell state. It is worth noting that a HUGE number of embryos are already destroyed every year, through botched in-vitro attempts.
    Not to mention that every time a woman has her period, if one wants to look at things a certain way, an embryo is lost. Thank You For Your GREAT reporting, Miss Collins!!!

    May 14, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  115. Art Roberts

    A student was just saying that there would be planes flying over ND during the speech. Doubt that. FAA not about to allow anyone to fly over where the President is speaking.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  116. Nick

    What kind of protest were there before then president Bush was the speaker at the Notre Dame commencement in 2001? His ardent support of the death penalty confilicted with the Chatholic churchs stance but I can't remember any sort of controversy surrounding his speech. Is this a case where folks are using a cafeteria approach to their beliefs to justify a political agenda?

    May 14, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  117. Stephanie

    What CNN is not going to tell anyone is that over 300,000 signed the petition for Obama not to speak at Notre Dame

    May 14, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  118. Thelma

    As a 60-something who's had a Catholic education for 14 yrs........
    yes, I think he should be able to speak at ND......he was invited. If we don't listen to others with differing opinions.....how can we learn. If ND
    rescinds the invitation....it will not only reflect on them (but also towards Catholics in general) of their narrow mindedness and exclusion.

    Don't be hypocrites! The nuns & priests taught me to accept "everyone" and to be "Christ-like" in our actions.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  119. Chris M. (Houston, TX)

    What bothers me so much about the issues students are raising with Obama's visit is the fact that they are placing the "Catholic" church where God should be. Instead of students saying they are opposing him because of the convictions they have in God, they are constantly shouting "Catholic" church. Sounds like they are more concerned with the "Catholic" church than what God might be saying. I havent heard one person say anything about what "Jesus" would do - this is the harsh truth about a cult like Catholicism, they follow "the church" rather than following God. Jesus associated himself with the lowest of the low and honored them where ever he went. I guess the "Catholic" church has a higher standard than Jesus did.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  120. Sara

    According to the election statistics in November, I believe the majority of students would be greatly honored to have President Obama speak at their commencement.

    The issue of abortion is what caused this ridiculous distraction. Most of society understands that women/mothers of the USA will never again be forced to reproduce against their will.

    However, the religious right uses a high percentage of their financial resources to promote religion in our government, mostly to end reproductive choice for women (to even make it more difficult for women to acquire birth control!). The reason we left Europe for America was to get away from religious tyranny.

    We all have access to accurate medical information regarding our bodies and the stages of growth of the embryo/fetus. Women/mothers of the USA make reproductive decisions for themselves, and we deserve the religious freedom and the right to privacy to make these decisions about our bodies, with our doctors, without interference from the government. Frankly, I am surprised that the Republican party has embraced the religious right agenda of government interferece in this very personal decision.

    The religious right are in disagreement with the above paragraph. The First Amendment (below) allows "religious right" citizens to practice such religions for themselves, but they cannot impose their religious beliefs on all society through the government.

    First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    May 14, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  121. Lisa Hatch

    Unless a Pro-Lifer is personally caring for an abused or neglected child, he or she should sit down and shut up. Put pictures of abused and/or neglected children next to those of aborted fetuses and see which makes you feel worse.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  122. Kathy

    Of course he should speak; differences between peoples views shouldn't prevent open discourse... this is not Ireland – or is it?

    May 14, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  123. Margaret

    The problems facing the Church today are huge and practically impossible to fix as long as it stays on the current path. Many dioceses and parishes are running backward to the past which has always been a losing proposition when it comes the Church's attempt to reach for truth . Until the Church opens it's collective mind as it attempted to begin to do during Vatican II, they will become even more marginalized. We need women priests and married priests and unmarried priests who speak, as Christ does, of love and forgiveness for all. I don't recall an instance where Christ condemned anyone, and ultimately we are not the final judges.

    I'm sure most of the faculty and students are pleased and honored that President Obama will be there tomorrow to speak to the graduates. There are always a few mean spirited cranks with their eyes and ears closed who would have more credibility if they had "protested" Bush, the war and the death penalty.

    I am a practicing, active Catholic who is saddened by the return to the past the Church is currently embarked on. It will further damage a wounded Church.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  124. Jeff Cousino

    I normally don"t comment on politics OR religion, but I simply cannot help myself this time. I was raised by a family whom some were fanatical ND fans. I myself have much of the sports apparel,etc...but now it may finally be time to sell them on e bay, or better yet throw them in the trash to make my own statement. The Catholic church needs to re-adjust itself to a radically changing world. Too often now, it should be a woman's choice to choose, a couples choice to use birth control, a priests right to choose marriage over child molestation. All I can say about this whole prudish controversy is "OH MY GOD!"

    May 14, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  125. Jill

    I think that simply, the President was invited as the President to speak.

    On the statement Heidi made about she had never heard about a Pope ever promoting war... Think Crusades. All the Crusades were started by the Popes (Pope Urban and Pope Innocent III to name two). One Crusade – The Children's Crusade, a pope sent children in to fight a Holy War.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  126. Stephanie

    Thelma, being a Christian Catholic doesn't mean being a doormat. Sounds like you need a good dose of Father Corapi.... Don't you remember when Christ turned over tables in the synogogue? Unfortunately, the educated tend to think too hard. Standing up against a President who supports late-term abortion is not hypocritical. Being Christ-like somtimes means to stand up for "The Truth" and The Truth is Christ.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  127. Joe in Florida

    I think each of the protesting students should count their siblings. The Catholic church also forbids any birth control other than the "rhythm method".

    If they are an only child or one of two or three they then must confirm that their parents used no birth control or only the approved method or REMAINED CELIBATE after they were conceived.

    This is just the most glaring contradiction in the Catholic church.

    If your parents can afford to send you to Notre Dame, you're probably there under false Catholic pretence.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  128. richard in chandler az

    This is driven by many outside groups, it is the students day! They have shown that they want the president to attend. Did any of these same people protest when Reagen was given a degree? NO! Last time I checked the Catholic Church is against the death penalty and Reagen was FOR it. This smells of politics, driven by the ultra conservatives who got smoked in the election of 08. Being an american is to invite exchange and that is what Father Jenkins is doing! Thank You Father Jenkins!

    May 14, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  129. jean

    I think President Obama stand on abortion (even for minor age),drugs,and so on is something that a place that is going by the doctrine of catholic teaching should not allow.

    I find that the president will still go just because he is Obama and is somewhat a addicted to being in the news. he has been to be on the news at least once a day I noticed. I think the right thing for him to do is decline with respect. But we will see.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  130. Ryan Cobb

    As an alumnus of Notre Dame, I was witness to an extreme lack of controversy over President George W. Bush's speaking at the 2001 commencement even though he clearly supported the death penalty. It is disappointing to see a greatly different response to President Obama's appearance at commencement. I cannot help but believe that people are using the Notre Dame brand to push their agenda to the top of the news. As the President of Notre Dame, Fr. Jenkins, stated in a letter to graduates, "a Catholic university has a special obligation not just to honor the leader but to engage the culture." Notre Dame is not losing its Catholic identity–it is doing its duty as a University to provide debate and learning from all points of view, even those different from Catholic doctrine.
    Welcome to Notre Dame, President Obama.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  131. Ronald J Kriel

    Parochial schools, colleges and universities - Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Mormon, etc. have for the most part opened their doors to all, or at least the vast majority of, students regardless of their religious sentiments. Unless Notre Dame rigorously enforces strict Catholic beliefs as a prerequisite to enrollment, inviting the President, who personally supports pro-life beliefs, and pro-choice as policy, there should not be the opposition expressed to his visit.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  132. Fran L

    This country have become the land of SHAME.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  133. Kathy

    I commend the University for inviting Pres. Obama who is bringing many fresh ideas to our country and who is trying to help all people. We must all have charity in our hearts and be open-minded.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:58 am |
  134. Rich

    Seems to me people use religion when it's convenient to their argument. If they are so against Obama because of their religion, why did the same people back George Bush when it came to killing people in a war?

    Anyone heard of "thou shalt not kill"? Killing is killing either with abortion or war but most Catholics will look away when it come to our government killing in a war but oppose anything relating to abortion.

    Seem like a double standard to me.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  135. MARK -RETIRED CATHOLIC IN MICHIGAN

    This is GREAT!
    The hypocrisy of Notre Dame, religions in general, and conservatives will continue to "teach" the rest of us non-ND graduates the damage caused by religion, intolerance and ignorance...our new axis of evil.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  136. David

    With so many Notre Dame students, alumni, and fans planning to protest President Obama's commencement address, doesn't that reflect poorly on Catholics? What kind of message does that send? If you don't believe as we do, we don't even want to listen to what you have to say?

    I suppose that's why they allowed Obama's predecessor to speak. "W's" way of thinking was very much in line with Catholicism apparently – "if you're not with us, you're against us."

    Is this what Notre dame teaches? Intolerance? Ignorance? An inability to even respectfully listen to someone with a differing viewpoint?

    No wonder God has punished their football team!

    May 14, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  137. Sandy (VA)

    Notre Dame has disrepect this President enough! The editor for the newspaper not once address him as President Obama, but the News Anchor addressed her by her little bity title. It's OK not to agree with someones values or ideas, but do the Alumini and students feel they have to take everything to the extreme? Apparently, the student body voted to have him as their speaker and everyone else should respect that. Honestly, I grew up in the era when abortion was a big deal and since that time you don't hear people so willing to go that route. Why do some people feel they have a right to impose their values on others. They feel it's their way or the highway. Come on let give this a break and let the President speak!!!!!

    May 14, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  138. Ignacio Acosta

    The Pope may not be the spiritual leader of the President, but Mr. Obama is the President of all americans whether catholic, protestan, jew , muslim or those with no religion. He deserves the respect and honor that his office demands.

    These poor, misguided souls need to be reminded that we live in the year 2009, not 1009 or even 1509.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  139. DK

    Aren't we throwing stones here? The Roman Catholic faith has not exactly been the foremost authority throughout the ages in terms of practical morality or morality by example.

    The Pope is the only public figure of this stature that will conform to ALL principles held by the Roman Catholic church.

    The President's policy has been coming together based on common beliefs versus differences. Why would those who profess christianity strive on the differences and show intolerance rather than tolerance? What would Christ do?

    This is an example of why the christian faith is declining in the eyes of public opinion. How can you reach out to anyone when you are not willing to accept him in his entirety?

    May 14, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  140. Nefira Mada

    The United States, unlike other countries has no State "national" Religion, and even if we did I am certain it wouldn't be Catholocism. Contrary to Popular belief, the Catholic Church Does Not run the world, most especially the US. In fact there are More Muslims and Buddhists in the world than Christians. about .5 Billion more. Christianity is still a rising Set of Faiths in the main scheme of things. And as these Alumni, and current Notre Dame Students should have already been aware... Technically, according to the Constitution, there is a Separation of Church and State. As there should be. Since Laws based on one Faith, or Any Faith, are automatically twice as flawed as ones made by opinionated seculars.
    People need to learn to Agree to Disagree and leave it at that. Governent should Never have anything to do with Any Religon, thats where wars, and mistakes abound are made.
    The Students and Alumni should accept any Decision made by the School's Leaders, since they know what is best for their students. As one of the other posts announced on air said, it is Your Responsibility, to yourself, and your Faith, to keep yourself Catholic and continue on the traditions of your Faith. It is NOT the responsability of a Secular Government.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  141. Ellen

    I am the parent of a 2008 graduate of the University of Notre Dame. My son attended Catholic school his entire life and we are practicing Catholics. I couldn't be more proud of the fact that President Obama will be speaking at Notre Dame this Sunday. To think that the keynote speaker at every ND graduation should hold Catholic Doctrine beliefs is absurd. The President supports the law and does not personally believe in abortion. Please remember that the graduation ceremony is a day for the graduates and their families to celebrate a wonderful accomplishment. Stop all of this ridiculous bantoring. Sit back and enjoy the honor of having President Obama speak. I wish I could be there to hear, what will undoubtedly be, another brilliant speech by our President.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  142. Don Drolet

    Those students that want to use their faith and its associated beliefs as an admission pass for appearing on campus or receiving an honorary degree for the president should have no problem with mandatory drug testing of all students and faculty and no-appeal expulsions for violators. I'm certain the Catholic Church also takes a stand against drugs and alcohol.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  143. Barth Shepkong

    I am a Catholic, but I find it hard to believe that other catholics are protesting because the president is pro choice. Where were they when innocent people die everyday in Iraq for a war that is not justified? Catholics in Notre Dame should remember that we are not suppose to judge.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  144. Karen

    Do the protesters think it is okay to have Catholic Nuns take a vow of poverty whilst their male counterpart Priests live in private luxury of such places as the Vatican?

    Congratulations to the graduates at Notre Dame. Here, here, to having your brilliant and open minds flood our economy.

    ~ a Catholic feminist

    May 14, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  145. bill

    why do people always go back to Bush? let us move on people. You keep saying how good President Obama is tell me what he has done to earn this honor other than being born half black....
    You think Bush went to war alone? lol congress even Hillary and nancy P. approved it. A president can not go to war without approval. For you all to keep blaming Bush is pathetic. Why don't you go read up on your government and learn how things are done.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  146. Jack Medley

    The school invited him, be angry at the school, not Obama. Small minds spreading hate.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  147. Barbara Scheible

    The big deal the students at Notre Dame are making about President Barack Obama speaking at their graduation is out of line. Other President's who were pro choice spoke there with no problem. I think it is an insult to the President to react the way they are over this and an insult to him. He is a brilliant person and the topic of his feeling about pro choice won't come up. He is a distinguished man and one of the best speech makers I have ever heard. Those students should feel honored to even get to have him to speak there.

    If I were him I would turn down their offer to speak at their graduation, they don't deserve him.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  148. Cecilia De Fries

    I would respect and honor the people who favor prolife much more, if each and everyone of them would adopt one of those children they "saved" from the orphanages and foster homes they are continually shoved into. How much more loving that would be than all their hateful demonstrations.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  149. Ronald J Kriel

    Pro-chioce does not equate to pro-abortion. Many of us who are pro-choice want medical abortion available to pregnant women because we still remember when safe medical abortion was unavailable and pregnancies were terminated in back alley, "coat hanger" clinics. Abortion will exist regardless of the status of Roe v Wade, or the reign of pro-life constituencies. Pro-choice only attempts to ensure the health and safety of those determined to terminate their pregnancies. Pro-choice advocates strongly support the prevention of unwanted pregnancies. Additionally, pro-choice also supports the termination of a pregnancy to save the life of the mother, in cases of incest and rape.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  150. Erin

    Father Jenkins wrote regarding Obama's visit to Notre Dame, "At this crossroads, we must be a place where people of good will are received with charity, are able to speak, be heard, and engage in responsible and reasoned dialogue. "

    Most of the people who signed the petition against Obama speaking at ND, are neither students nor alumni. It is sad that people with no ties to the University are using commencement as an opportunity for media coverage, at the expense of the graduating seniors. Congratulations, graduates. Graduation is about honoring your accomplishments, not about politics.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  151. Michael

    I have two comments
    First: President Obama is the elected representative of all of us. Protest his stand on various issues on the street, at the ballot box, even on campus. However don't protest when your representatives have invited him to be a guest at your"home". Tacky, very,very tacky.

    Second: I wonder why such an uproar at this time, with this President when Presidents with similiar stands have been treated with more respect. Could his race be an underlying issue for those screaming so load.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  152. Carolyn Griffin

    I am a practicing Catholic, and I'm appalled by the fact that the clergy is not voicing disagreement with the protests surrounding ND's invitation to the President. Obama was not invited to teach Catholic theology. Are we to shun anyone who has a different belief or should we remember the words of Jesus regarding throwing the first stone? Or how about the caution to those who live in glass houses? There are many flaws in how numerous priests and bishops have lived Christian values. We allow these leaders into schools and churches.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  153. John M. McDonagh

    I congratulate Fr. Jenkins of Notre Dame for inviting Pres. Obama because I believe by this action, he is affirming that the American political system cannot be dominated by one single cause, however noble. It seems to me that the Catholic hierarchy is tone deaf to this. Apparently they are obsessed with overturning Roe v. Wade no matter what it takes, even the election of an Administration that deceptively led the American people into an unjust war, condoned torture in our name, thereby weakening us militarily and diplomatically, demonstrated appalling incompetence in disaster relief, failed to protect the American people from hazardous products, and contributed to the worst economic downturn in 80 years. And the list goes on. I believe the bishops' involvement in politics (e.g., threatening to deny Communion to some political candidates) has been ill-conceived. I am very happy that Pres. Obama will speak at Notre Dame and perhaps his presence will put various issues into perspective. If we are to thrive as a Republic, we must have respectful dialog on all issues.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  154. Victor

    He should be allowed to speak, I don't understand all of the protest. Pro-choice doesn't mean Pro-abortion. I'm pro-choice, I just don't fell I have the right to tell another person what's right for them.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  155. Don

    Obama has repeatedly says that he wants to stand up for the least among us, the defenseless, and the helpless. Who among us is more helpless and more defenseless and personifies the "least among us" more than an unborn child? An unborn child cannot defend him or herself against an abortionist - or a president - who seeks to destroy them. The president is a hypocrite. He should be ashamed of himself.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  156. bill

    you know president Obama n the dem congress want to decide who is worth saving and who is not with Obama "new" healthcare so please tell me what the difference is between Bush and congress fighting a war and Obama and congress decided who is worth living. I can explain if you don't get it :-).

    Some of the biggest battle were fought in the Bible to keep our faith. Now it seems we will have to battle in America where freedom of religious rights is under fire. Miss USA could not even say what she thought without being attacked.

    So please stop with the Bush blame game, even Nancy P. has started with the blame game how pethetic...

    May 14, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  157. Sue Tatem

    Notre Dame threw eggs at Jane Fonda when she spoke. They are very rude. Obama should take his raincoat.

    Facebook, twitter, etc. too much already.

    Sue

    May 14, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  158. Kenneth Heil

    By honoring Obama as the main speaker at the ND graduation you are also honoring his ideology which is directly contrary to basic Catholic teaching and belief. For a Catholic university, one that is renowned as an example of Catholic belief, to does so is simply a slap in the face of all those Catholics who belief in and live their Catholic faith. They can not but help feel that their spiritual being has been violated. Where is their constitutional right to worship as they so chose. Have we become so concerned with being politically correct that we are willing to trample others constitutional rights when they are in conflict with ours. The medical community has stated that all the attributes of a human being is determined at the moment of conception and only shelter and nutriment is further needed for development. To me that means that a human being exists upon conception. I can not but wonder how long our, or any other, civilization can exist that destroys it's young.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  159. bill

    @ Cecilia De Fries,

    I have helped numerous children without aid from their parents nor government. We have taken in 2 teenagers and help raise another. So I can speak my mind .I take all I can. I only have 3 bedrooms and we have 3 children of our own.I'm invovled in donations/fundraisers for other groups.

    So I'm not just a talker I stand behind my beliefs.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  160. Rich

    In response to Bill's comment about Bush being blamed for the war. Congress was lied to about WMDs and the imminent threat it supposedly caused. Bush was talking about invading Iraq the day after 9/11 and some of his own advisers questioned why and that there was no connection between 9/11 and Iraq.

    Votes for funding the war were based on lies and now you blame the people who were lied to? Ya gotta love Republicans! Unbelievable.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  161. Kelsey

    I think that President Obama should not go to ND. He is the President of the FREE World. He is the most powerful man in the world and is to big for the Catholics WAWA session.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  162. bill

    Obama is pro abortion hence his bill to let minors jump state lines to get abortions without parents knowledge. He wants the USA to pay for another country's abortions. it is called the overseas abortion funding bill.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  163. Monica B

    Whether it was the pro-life or pro-choice stance of Former President Bush or President Barack Obama, no one in either party has done anything about the issue of abortion in modern times. Some of us recognize this and just choose to live our own lives as we see fit.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  164. Franky

    You know guys, I don't mean to say what I say but I did, so yeah, you guys deserve it but you gotta understand that school, that school does picture itself more worthy than any other school in the country and come on, is the first time a Black guy is arguably gonna give the commencement speech there, are you gonna tell me I ain't gonna pick that up? Are you gonna tell me that based on the record books, the white people had it this easy? When the white guy gave the speech, what happen, huh? What happen?? Don't you guys in the media love talking about race? Aren't you the same media who made a f-- big deal out of race? Are you? Guess what? There you go! You want race, you're gonna get it...

    All I'm saying is when we looked at the books, the white guy didn't have no problem, the consistency was there and yeah, maybe they weren't getting an honorary degree but what happen, huh? Comfortable with the white guy, hm? And when the first time in their school, a black guy comes and all the controversy?? How the f- are we gonna look at you differently if the numbers don't even fit right? Tell me Mr. Genius, tell me what's the caused of all this??

    This is the problem with Notre Dame for many years, they better stop acting like the Vatican and act like a f-- school!! Just because you think you are better than me or let alone, just because YOU are gonna prove to me what I believe in one school...guess what? F- you Notre Dame!! You ain't the Vatican, you wish you are...you just don't know but you have more in common with Mel Gibson...

    You ain't special Notre Dame, you ain't special...

    May 14, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  165. Caren Atati

    Former President Bush was pro war and that same Iraq war has killed many innocent lives including women and children. So, if the Catholic Church was truly promoting life, they shouldn't have allowed Bush to speak either at ND. Obviously this was not the case, infact, he was also honored. This is HYPOCRISY at its best and claiming to be Holier than Thou.

    President Obama should be allowed to speak and a majority of current students support the same. I commend ND for making this possible, universities should support and always welcome differences of opinions that is why they are LEARNING centers.

    May 14, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  166. Gerri Skeen

    It has become painful to listen some of the reason of why President Obama should not receive an honorary degree or why he should not speak at certain universities.

    He is an American, a man, a Christian, a father, a husband and the President, who will give a speech about life after higher education. He is not the Devil, sent to try to change everyone's minds on their views on abortion or stem cell research. The setting would be inappropriate. Nor is he begging for a honorary degree. He has a real degree from Harvard. So Univ. of Arizona keep your honorary degree and give it to someone who can not earn a real one, and Notre Dame and Univ. of Arizona don’t deserve the honor of having The President to speak at your commencement.

    Next year hopefully schools such as, USC, Howard Univ. Florida State, Spellman, etc., will receive the honor of have the President of the United States of America to speak at their commencement.

    Last but not least, the President has accomplished more than 99% of the population of the world.

    HE IS LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD and no one had to die to make it happen.

    May 14, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  167. Stephanie

    Michael, No, only those opposed to getting to the real issues will bring up the subject of race. I don't care if President Obama is from Mars. No President to date has blatantly disregarded the right to life as Mr. Obama has.... he supports the right to late-term abortions, taking away the right for health care workers to refuse aiding in abortion procedures, and he wants to deny a babies right to live after an abortion gone wrong... I'm sorry but that is just sick.
    Just because President Obama may be the first African-American President does not mean that I throw away my rights to oppose him with ferver. Ironically, those of us who oppose Obama because of his pro-slaughter ideology, not because of the color of his skin are seen as racist, when in fact, we are being discriminated against. Ironic huh?

    May 14, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  168. Maryann Curtin

    Shame on you, University of Notre Dame! The hypocrisy of what you are doing, by compromising the Pro-Life beliefs of the Catholic Church [to which you belong, right?] and honoring a publicly Pro-Abortion president, is a great scandal! Whatever board or person decided to do this, has made such a gargantuan mistake, they should resign immediately, so that never again will the beliefs of the Catholic Church , and the great University of Notre Dame be publicly compromised in this way again.

    May 14, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  169. Maryann Curtin

    Shame on you, University of Notre Dame. Whatever happened to the seperation of Church and State? What were you thinking?

    May 14, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  170. Stephanie

    Here is some more controversy for you Michael..... Under President Obama's idedologies, thousands of African-American babies are being murdered. I don't just support the rights of the unborn white children. I support the right of babies of all color and ethnicity.

    May 14, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  171. MaryAnn

    Our Lady [Notre Dame], the Blessed Mother of Jesus, to whom the University of Notre Dame is dedicated and named, chose Life! I wonder what she thinks about her university publicly honoring a Pro-Abortion president?

    May 14, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  172. Pam Skaggs, Full-time RV'er

    I hate that the right-wing calls it pro-abortion. I wish they would get the term right, it's Pro-Choice. Pro-choice people, including Obama, don't believe in abortion, it's the right to have a CHOICE. It is usually the last choice. It is a difficult choice for any women to go thru and I feel for any women in that situation. It is usually the last choice for their situation and without walking in her shoes, how can anybody make that choice for her. I commend ND for not backing out of letting the President speak at the graduation. It is only a small amount of small minded people that are takiing a small part of Obama's beliefs and turning it into a big, ugly ordeal. I hope that this does not embarrass the school. Please take your blinders off and look at the whole picture.

    May 14, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  173. Stephanie

    Maryann, shame on you for not knowing that Notre Dame is a PRIVATE university.

    May 14, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  174. Stephanie

    Sorry Maryann, I thought that you were saying separation of church and state...that people should not be protesting Obama's visit

    May 14, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  175. Stephanie

    Yes, Pam, we use the term Pro-abortion and I know that folks such as yourself prefer to use the term Pro-Choice because it makes you sleep better at night. But let me reassure you that the blood of all babies slaughtered because you want to give mothers "a choice" to kill their children will be on all of your hands. I don't want the blood of children murdered in abortion to be on my hands.

    May 14, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  176. Jaime

    I truly believe on people's right to protest against whatever they think is attacking their own religious beliefs, but on this issue I think these right wing groups are totally wrong. First of all I can almost guarantee that most of these people that are up in arms have no affiliation to the University, and they are using ND. to persue their agenda just like they do to abortion clinics, second one thing has nothing to do with another. I don't believe that you need to be catholic or even Cristian to attend Notre Dame University, if that's the case wouldn't in be intolerance from these groups to protest at a place of learning where all kind of students from all kind of religious views? I am Catholic and my son goes to a Catholic University, yet the only rights we have as such, is to be allowed to practice our religion. As far as the abortion issue president Obama has never said that he is Pro-Abortion, he is Pro-Choice which only means that people have a right over their own bodies. So I wish that these narrow minded people stopped using these tactics, and let these young people enjoy their graduation and to listen to some wise advise from our President..

    May 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  177. Loretta Koon

    The President was INVITED to speak at Notre Dame. If people have a problem with that, voice it to the powers that be, at the University. If you are happy with the decision relax and enjoy. The President has plunged head-first into a hornet's nest. He is now finding firsthand, all the original "infallible," information he was fed, was less than accurate. Give him a chance.

    May 14, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  178. willie hayden

    This comment is coming from a person, who is a Christain, who has personally protested abortion at the clinics, and who is an African American that was the only republican , in a family of Demacrates.
    During the presidencies of Ronald Reagan,George w Bush sr. and George W Bush Jr. ; There was not one closing of an abortion clinic nor any actions on theire part in lagislation to stop abortion.They only spoke of their beliefs in that regard; and that was enough for the evangalical community to praise them, and back their elections.
    If you closed all the abortion clinics, there would still be abortions performed.This is not a political problem, this is a moral one( not in every case I might add) . It is for the church to present to the individuals who's lifestyle brings them to the doors of an abortion clinic, a moral salution, that would change their inner core beliefs about themselves , and how they view their personel worth.Thus ,they would make a better descession about pre marital or extra marital sexual relationships.So the church should stop looking to the politicians to do what God called them to do . The politicians only use this for their own gain, while nothing is really being done.WEH

    May 14, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  179. Tammy Smith

    Before I formed you I knew you - In the womb I knit you...........................

    Signed,
    God

    Anything else needed? People in America had better get down on their knees, start doing God's Will, ask for Divine Mercy, and start doing the Will of God. Because His side is going to win in the end - and I want to be on His side....................

    May 14, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  180. Terry Head

    Obama and his administration are ruining America. And by his/their actions, he is not doing the will of God. And everyone follows along like a bunch of stupid sheep.

    People, you need to wake up, before it is too late and America is lost. It may already be too late. God is not going to continue to honor America, while Americans are not doing His Will.

    Has any one even noticed the signs?

    Are you all blind?????????????????

    May 14, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  181. Terry Head

    Ditto!

    May 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  182. Sara

    Stephanie,

    You just stay there on your little hampster wheel, distract yourself with other people's decisions, and see how much good work you can accomplish. Keep your empty fight alive.

    The rest of us will carry on with our lives, trying to protect the millions of live children who are starving, neglected, abandoned and abused throughout the world today. We'll continue to listen to the woman's voice, and while you try to shame her, we'll be standing by her side in solidarity.

    Good luck using your religion to justify your obvious hypocrisy.

    May 14, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  183. bill

    @ rich comment.

    First Bush had the same intel as most other countries had by their own intel. I'm not a republican I'm not a democrat .I'm a American. I'm independent. I didn't like Hillary,Mc Cain, nor Obama think they are all bad for this nation.

    As for being lied to... how gullible people are it will be proven Nancy, and the rest of them are liars also. They act like nothing done is their fault. well sorry politicians make me sick with all their lies. Well we the working class is struggling they are giving eachother pay raises.

    Power to the people 🙂

    May 14, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  184. Kathy

    This isnt Ireland; here, we talk through our differences. Obama speaking and receiving a degree is symbolic that Americans can accept each other as they are. Its a good thing, not a bad thing. More tolerance IS the christian thing, isnt it?

    May 15, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  185. Chuck Gaffney

    I feel these radical Catholic members of Notre Dame are no different than the radical Islamic terrorists we are fighting overseas. What still hasn't been diagnosed as criminal or insane tendencies but sadly still seen a legit religious rhetoric has no place in the modern world and should be seen as such; plain and utter lunacy. I hope the secret service has the needed protection for Obama from these Western terrorists.

    May 16, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  186. ehret

    As a woman and former catholic, educated in the so-called "finest" Catholic schools,I am continually appaled that abortion is used as a diversionary tactic by Catholics and politicians to cover the true atrocities we, the American people, are committing daily here in our own country and abroad.War,poverty,lack of health coverage, the death penalty,secret murders by the CIA,FBi etc..Abortion is a phony issue that men(and some women) use to incite emotional responses favorable to their agenda.It has nothing to do with the lives that are being devastated in front of out eyes.Personally, I would home school my child rather than send her/him to an institution such as Notre Dame. Are we still a democracy? Why can right wing war supporting presidentsreceive honorsand the "kinder,gentler,more thoughtful" presidents,e.g.Obama,be excluded?

    May 17, 2009 at 7:47 am |
  187. Henry Hill

    Protestor are all one issue idiots, will support torture, murder, bigotry, but if you decide a woman has rights then they oppose you

    May 17, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  188. AutumnBreezes

    I think that everyone is overreacting to this. If you aren't catholic, then why is this a big deal? If you protest against the pope's rules, then are you really being a true Catholic Christian?
    And if you're simply nondenominational christian, or just not sure of your religion beyond Christianity, then why not try a little trust? The Pope is God's conduit. He tells us what God wants us to know.
    If you're willing to believer in God, then why not the Pope?
    He is like a parent. You may not want to follow his orders, but they are for your sake. And the reason no one defends the catholic priests accused of molestation is that they are no longer priests as soon as they commit such a sin. They are perverts in my opinion, and I would not defend them. But neither will I criticize, as I sure have a lot of sins! And as they say, those in glass houses.........

    But it's not our choice to make. God controls everything, even if it's not to his liking, but he allows us free will.
    We can't change the past.
    But we can plan for the future.

    May 21, 2009 at 9:28 pm |

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