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May 16th, 2009
12:54 PM ET

Religion & Politics: President Obama at Notre Dame

President Obama is set to give the commencement address and accept an honorary law degree at Notre Dame University this Sunday. Some student groups plan to protest the president’s speech and 10 Notre Dame alumni – all priests – contend in an open letter that the school is risking its “true soul.”  

Should graduation ceremonies at what some consider the cathedral of Catholic education feature a president who supports policies, such as legalized abortion and embryonic stem cell research, which violate church teachings?  

We’ll take an in-depth look at the controversy in the Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield Saturday at 4pm ET. We’ll talk with people on both sides of the Catholic divide over abortion. We also want to know what you think. Should President Obama speak at Notre Dame’s graduation ceremony?

Post your comments below.


Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield
soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. Patricia Farrell

    I don't think he should have been invited to speak. Not only does he support abortion, which is against the teachings of the Church, but he also supports the Freedom of Choice Act, which will force healthcare providers to perform abortions, even if it is against their conscience and religious beliefs. This seems to be a violation of the freedom of religion guaranteed under the Constitution. It could result in people giving up their careers, which is extremely disturbing, especially since there is an adequate number of healthcare professionals who are willing to perform these procedures. This certainly doesn't represent a Freedom of Choice for the people who may not want to perform or assist in abortions. Perhaps the legislation should be renamed to fhe Unrestricted Access to Abortion Act.

    By the way, a statement was made that 70% of the students support having him speak. It would be interesting to know what the religious breakdown of the student body is – nonCatholic students might have a different opinion from Catholic students.

    May 14, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  2. janet

    Maybe they should focus more on what they have in common and can agree on with instead of the ONE thing they don't. Even Rick Warren says, that he doesn't exclude working with people because they don't agree on EVERYTING .. focus on what they do agree with and take it from there and see where THAT can take you. . because the same ol sad way STILL isn't working. . it's divisive

    May 15, 2009 at 12:13 am |
  3. Gayle, Amherst NY

    Of course he should. It is beyond ridiculous that this is a controversy.

    Colleges and Universities should be teaching people to think and listen to other varying points of view. That is the point of higher education, to learn how to think and process information.

    I think it is a sad and pathetic commentary as to the level of education at Notre Dame, (this is considered a "good school" based on what ???) Obviously their only objective is to teach intolerance, which from my Christian upbringing is completely against the basic concepts as outlined in the New Testament. This would be why I left the church, the hypocrisy is mind boggling!

    May 15, 2009 at 7:40 am |
  4. Sara

    I think Catholic citizens are pawns of the "Religious Industrial Complex".

    Most of society understands that women/mothers of the USA will never again be forced to reproduce against their will. The republican religious right insist on using most of their resources to shame the women who have abortions, instead of supporting those women who actually have children, children who need health care, food, equal education, protection against violence and sexual abuse.

    Hypocrisy is what I see. Like a hamster racing in a wheel, the religious right continues to collect money and pour it into lobbyist pockets to end reproductive choice for women (to even make it more difficult for women to acquire birth control!).

    My impression is that the republican religous right are threatened by the emergence of the free woman. The republican religious right remain hostile towards women who are in command of their reproductive organs.

    Clearly, women of the USA are still subservient, especially those of the republican religious right, because their bibles interpret the original Hebrew in a misogynist way. These women are subservient by choice, and they are perfectly within their rights to turn over their bodies "men in charge". It's just not my choice.

    I am so grateful to our mothers and grandmothers for protecting our rights.

    By the way, did you know that abortion wasn't always against the teachings of the church? As one example, I've read that archbishop Antoninus (who was later cannonized) approved of early abortion to save the life of the woman. He was not criticized by the vatican. What do you think about this pro-choice Catholic saint?

    May 15, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  5. michael armstrong sr.

    theres to much critisicim from people who dont practice what they preach like jesus said those who have not sined cast the first stone it kinda makes the cathalic church look two faced with melestathion from your priest so who are tou to pass judgement ?

    May 15, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  6. Evan

    It seem to me to be a violation Frredom of Religion and the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment to allow the President to speak at a Catholic university. They have a right to believe what they choose. They have a right to exclude speakers who are not in line with their values. It's not about abortion. It's about the free exercise of religion. Is it the job of the state to enforce atheism and illegalize religion? I want to live an America with religious freedom.

    May 16, 2009 at 12:18 am |
  7. Lise T

    “I will judge”, “Judge not lest ye be judged”, “All sin and fall short”, “All sin is the same in God’s sight”.

    Your hatred and narrow minded bullying behavior is not demonstrating the love of God, or life. Educate and communicate with those you feel are taking the wrong path. God almighty Himself has given us freewill who are you to rescind It.? Every man’s soul salvation is his personal journey. Those who feel they know the way should draw men and woman to Him, not demonstrate behavior that makes the lost reject Him through them. If this is about religion act like you know what it is.

    May 16, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  8. stan C.

    Fred, I think this is a little hypocritical & unfirgiving on behalf of the Catholics at N.D. I mean, as a non-practicing catholic myself, i notice the pope recently visiting a muslim holy site, thus giving credibility to their beliefs. So why can't the catholics at N.D. also have a heart to "reach out" to those like Obama who's a Christian, nonetheless, who's beliefs are different than theirs and trust to their faith to be inclusive rather than exclusive. Matt 5:44 says "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, as spoken by Jesus. I don't see this attitude in thesestudents & faculty that are so opposed to President Obama's speech. Thanks Frederika

    May 16, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  9. Christina

    It is important in this turbulent world today to learn to respect other views and therefore creating the chance to develop an environment where we can coexist. (respecting does not mean personally accepting certain believes).
    I believe Notre Dame is supporting broadening minds (as a sound educational institution should) and hopefully President Obama's speech will proof to be of greater inspiration to many more than focusing on the one stumble block the protesters are wrapping/focusing their minds/energy on.
    I am roman catholic and a non-voter.

    May 16, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  10. Purple Spider

    This episode of Obama versus Notre Dame needs to end. Obama should be tolerant of the Catholic Religion and the students should be tolerant of our President. Too much not accepting others beliefs and getting upset over it. Americans should not have to fight for Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion.

    May 16, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  11. Ron

    Why does the Catholic church say they are pro-life? I have yet to hear them denounce the invasion of Iraq? By the way would Jesus approve of torture? Is that loving your enemy?

    May 16, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  12. Charlotte Goodson

    I find it hard to believe that non-Notre Dame graduates (ie. Newt Gingrich and Randall Terry) ginned up this whole controversy...I thought Notre Damers were capable of thinking for themselves. Surely Obama's speech won't change their minds about how they view abortion. So what's the big deal?

    Oh, and if they object to a pro-choice speaker, why didn't they bring the subject up when other Presidents, pro and con alike, were invited to speak? Have they sussed out the views of EVERY speaker, not just on abortion, but on a host of Catholic beliefs? This smacks of the extreme right feeling they are losing control of the GOP and making a controversy where there is none.

    May 16, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  13. Randall Horton

    As a Benedictine monk, I firmly support the culture of life. However, I wonder how many of those who are protesting President Obama's speech at Notre Dame are as passionate about, say, opposition to the death penalty as they are about opposition to abortion? Or euthanasia? It seems to me that the whole pro-life issue has been so tainted by politicization that it is more about politics than religious belief. Many seem to be all for the culture of life, provided it coincides with right-wing political positions. This is a real inconsistency.

    May 16, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  14. Bruce Resch

    Since the beginning of time religion has caused more conflict that it is worth yet people still want to believe in something. I believe they should be free to do so as long as their views do not interfere in any way with those of others.
    The Papal Wars and the Spanish Inquisition and the current intifada groups show that when one side believes too strongly that they are right someone gets hurt.
    I strongly believe in the separation of church and state and thank goodness that the W Bush era is over but the debates continues. If Notre Dame wishes to have the President of the United States speak at their commencement ceremony and POTUS agrees to do so then this is a beautiful thing. There should be no religion brought into the mix nor should anyone's beliefs be questioned or scrutinized. To invite and then protest the invitation is wrong. Once again religion is getting between good people who merely wish to get on with their lives.
    In this day and age you would think we could move past the small minded issues and move as one toward the more important issues at hand, especially as our next generation gets ready to take their place in the world.

    May 16, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  15. Charlotte Goodson

    Oh, and even Sarah Pallin, who is so anti-abortion, used the phrase "I CHOSE to have my son (my emphasis)"...sounds like she too is pro-CHOICE. Women who choose NOT to have an abortion are still as of this writing able to make that choice. Pray God we will retain that choice.

    May 16, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  16. KathyB

    Complete Narcissism! Any religion that isn't tolerant of other people's beliefs is not a religion it's a cult.

    May 16, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  17. Vernon

    Seems that the Catholic educational system/church is in the same boat as the GOP. No real leadership and a hunger for anyone's blood that disagrees with them.

    May 16, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  18. Barbara

    People should be tolernant of each other.If we cant respect each others rights what will happen to the great freedom we have allways had.We strive for world peace,but first man has to get along with each other.President Obama ,I am a Catholic and we are not all prostesters.I pray for you and our great Country and all our boysoverseas.

    May 16, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  19. Tom Gutridge

    Let the President speak! Those protesting the President's commencement address at Notre Dame tomorrow cry out as if their faith is weak—that the President's views will destroy their faith. So what the President's views don't exactly match those of the Catholic Church. Do those of other faiths match better? For example, how many Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, or other Christians who don't embrace all tenets of the Catholic religion, have delivered the commencement address at this school? Did they have to endure such sophomoric displays before the event? Pray that your faith would be stronger to hear the ideas of others. Oh, tolerance where art thou?

    May 16, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  20. Ronald J Kriel

    For Fredricka Whitfield/Josh Levs:

    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 beliefs. 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.

    Pro-choice 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.

    Ron K.
    Auburn, Alabama

    May 16, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  21. Dodie - California

    In today’s tempestuous world with strong opposing views, we all need to learn respect and tolerance of others and their views.

    All educational institutions should be an advocate of expanding and broadening minds beyond their culture or beliefs. Notre Dame appears to be supporting this venue; thus, creating an opportunity to develop an environment of coexistence.

    Congratulations Notre Dame!

    May 16, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  22. Cynthia Garrison

    CANDIDATE Obama made very clear his distinction between being "pro-abortion" and supporting abortion in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is in danger. I quote, "NOBODY is FOR abortion." I believe he advocates abstinence and prevention of unwanted pregnancies through education and services that women at risk are able to access. This "complex" issue, said Obama, should be addressed in a similar way to many societal policies like health care and education; that we reduce the cost of health care in the long run by allocating money to prevention. This is not a religious issue, and I think the Catholic Christians are making a huge generalization that President Obama's stance is that abortion is an acceptable practice. Democrat does not equal PRO-abortion. President Obama is a Christian, but he is wise to affirm that morality cannot be legislated, but illegal activity such as rape and incest can be; the victim has some rights to choose.
    So don't give him an honorary degree. I'm sure that will be fine with him, but do not boycott or protest the ceremony. That just hurts your classmates, families and friends. Please welcome him as a guest and LISTEN to him. Thank you.

    May 16, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  23. Sherrie Geeting, Camarillo, CA

    Oh, please. There is SOOOO much more to this than meets the eye...

    Where were all these fervent believers when enthusiastic death penalty supporters Ronald Reagan and Bush got their honorary degrees?

    Oh wait, THAT'S different. Pro-life (pro-FORCE) only applies before birth. Anything that happens AFTER birth is just their tough luck.

    May 16, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  24. joe seefried

    I have been a Catholic all of my life and I am currently very active in the Catholic Church. I didn't vote for our current president and did not attend Notre Dame. I do not agree with his position on abortion or stem cell research, I agree with the Church's postion. But don't we have more important issues to worry about. People are dying of starvation all over the world every day and we are worried about this? If I could channel all the energy that is going into this one issue, I could have solved the world hunger problem by yesterday.

    May 16, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  25. Scott Allen

    Can you imagine the uproar if the Prez said "Because of YOUR beliefs, I will not speak at your school or accept your degree" The guy just can't win!

    May 16, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  26. Cindy

    At this point Notre Dame will be blessed if President Obama does show up. Yes, he should be invited and graciously accept. I can't wait to hear how he emphasizes freedom, acceptance and tolerance. This blows my mind 54% of Catholics voted for him and I'm sure would welcome the opportunity to hear him speak. This is going to hurt the reputation of Notre Dame University which, until today, I thought was a community of bright, insightful young people with minds of their own.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  27. John

    The people protesting at Notre Dame are hypocrites. The death penalty is contrary to Catholic teachings, yet none of these "principled" protesters had any problem with George W Bush speaking at a commencement there. This is so obviously a nakedly political exercise being couched as a religious argument. The death penalty is just as wrong as abortion as far as Catholic teaching is concerned, and since George W Bush was Governor of Texas which had the highest amount of death penalty executions of any state in the nation it is patently obvious that this about about politics, not religion, not abortion.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  28. Cindy

    I agree with Joe and that Obama's views on health, genocide, "raising one another up", taking care of each other, torture, trying to save lives, lengthen lives, prevent disease and death by expanding stem cell research, etc. show more value on the sanctity of human life.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  29. Victoria

    i am a Catholic but think this is going a bit too far! Christians should be respectful of others opinions even if they don't agree with it. Radicals cause enough problems with their inflexibility.

    What is so wrong about giving a woman the right to determine if she wants to carry the child of a rapist, of incest etc? Why doesn't anyone ever focus on the men in these cases? What about priests who break vows, father children etc. Women are not just vessels with no feelings or rights!

    I don't see all those pro-life people stopping by to support these women who make these difficult choices by babysitting, feeding & otherwise supporting the babies they insist they have, or even supporting the traumatised rape victims who they are trying to force to carry these children to term. They are prepared to make a lot of noise, kill & maim clinic workers etc becase they 'respect' life – give me a break!! Direct some of that energy saving the thousands of abandoned kids who sleep in the streets all over the world. Children are raped and otherwisevabused at the hands of we the adults, who supposedly love them so much we bring them into the world and let them suffer and sit by idly and watch!

    The president has already earned his own law degree. I am sure he did not call up begging to speak or to be awarded. The special day of the graduating class should not be marred by zealots with their own agenda.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  30. Alynetta Beck

    Shouldn't these good Catholics concentrate their efforts on bringing non-believers to Christ rather than acting just like the rest of the world? Shouldn't they be showing compassion and love toward those who don't agree with them rather showing anger and hate toward them? Besides being pro-choice does not necessarily mean that I would choose abortion, but that I have the choice of what to do if the situation presents itself.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  31. Mario

    it is the individual right to choose, GOD gave us this choice even though we dont make the right choice all the time. Why is it the right of the Catholic to make this choice for us?

    May 16, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  32. Chad McGrath, Phoenix, AZ

    I thought we as Americans had the right to believe in what we want? Its so frustrating that people have to ruin what should be a great experience (graduating from Notre Dame) and making it into a political or religious issue. I find it hard to believe that our President will use this an opportunity to speak on abortion. People, lighten up a little. Graduating is a happy time, not a time to make it miserable for everyone else. Its okay to not agree, really its okay.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  33. Dorothy Sommer

    Where were the protesters when Pres. Clinton gave the commencement address, he's pro choice. Where were they when Pres George Bush spoke, he used the death penalty as many times as any Governor ever has and the Catholic Church certainly opposes the death penalty. It is the hypocracy that disturbs me.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  34. Mattie Jones

    With all the protests etc., you would think the president is coming to teach the Catholics to change their views on abortion. Will the students not work around and with people who are not catholics and believe in abortion? Were the other presidents Catholics and believe as the catholics? I think someone needs to call this thing for what it is. The President is not coming to teach or speak about religion.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  35. Ben

    All students should welcome president Obama to Notre Dame. But giving him an honorary degree with the pro abortion stance he has seems to be the big problem. Your interview with the professor missed that point.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  36. Nephesh_Amarcusa

    As I remember President Obama never said he supported abortion however, he does support the empowering of a women's right to choose. Now if empowering women is in contradiction to the beliefs of a few student groups, 10 Notre Dame alumni or the priests that contend in their open letter that the school Is "risking it's true soul", then their fight is with the law Roe vs Wade that empowered women not President Obama.
    Notre Dame should not feature any President based on their polices, and as" the cathedral of catholic education", they should show a brotherly support within the U.S.A by treating their neighbors as they would like to be treated.
    I think President Obama should speak at Notre Dame however, he should not accept a honorary law degree from them. Not to cause more controversy but because that is not the main reason from him to attend. President Obama is going to speak to Notre Dame's graduating class of 2009, to parts of the future foundation of America not to those who seek to continue division and controversy.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  37. Jaime Hicks

    I am Catholic and don't understand ND position. My religion teaches me forgiveness, understanding and compasion. There will always be opposing views

    May 16, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  38. Chris

    Education requires exposure to different ideas, beliefs, and points of view, with critical appraisal and thinking. Indoctrination, on the other hand, is strict adherence to a particular set of ideas and beliefs. I hope people go to the university for an education.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  39. Danny A.

    Some of these people from Notre Dame make me sick, they're hypocrits and biggets. They praise war and war criminals like Bush/Cheney; it is ok for children to be conceived in improvished countries where they are left to suffer and starve to death once off of mother milk, but Pres. Obama's views are bad? Give me a break. Oh, before these religeous nut jobs say they don't approve of that ask them to remember who it was that condemmed the use of condoms and what the out come is.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  40. Jonathan

    Dont you think that it is hypocritical for someone who says they are a Catholic to then go and judge other peoples because of their religion/views? i think if you are a so called religious person you should be open to other peoples views not ignorant to what they believe. and how come when other presidents spoke at notre dame in the past that had other views then the catholic church they didn't agree they let them speak and no one protested them why now is it any different ????

    May 16, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  41. doug johnston

    is there not enough unwanted and starving children in this world??are we still in the dark ages?? the church has no right to dictate what women do within the temple of thier own bodies. if the church wants to "save" childern they can start with the millions already dieing of starvation daily in this world. as you can see i am pro choice. the church still has too much power in politics

    May 16, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  42. Raymond Flournoy

    Maybe Notre Dame should invite the head of the Taliban who doesn't support a woman's right to choose anything.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  43. sayitain'tso

    President Obama has every right to speak at Notre Dame. However, the University SHOULD NOT present him with an honorary degree. To present an honor to a man who supports partial birth abortion. A policy that supports letting a baby who survives abortion, to just lie there and die without medical intervention, is NO policy backed by the Catholic religion. THAT is the issue. Plain and simple.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  44. Jaime Hicks

    President Obama does not support legalized abortion, he support a woman able to choice, then have to deal with her GOD on this. And, the President approves of (embryonic fluid) stem cell research, not killing babies for stem cells.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  45. Diane

    I am a Catholic educator and administrator. I, more than most, understand the responsibility of the academic world to educate our youth in the teachings, beliefs, and cultures of all nations, religions, and political affiliations. I do however, believe it is an abomination to grant him an honorary degree. This is a slap to all of us that honor, uphold,and support the teachings of the church. Many of us choose to send our children to Catholic schools so that the beliefs and values of the church become a part of their very lives. Can you imagine what the parents of those students graduating must be feeling and thinking after spending thousands of dollars on a superb Catholic education?

    May 16, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  46. Matt from Virginia

    The problem here is that people are not educated with the issues. Many people view the pro-choice crowd as pro-abortion. This is incorrect. Nobody, NOBODY, who is pro-choice advocates killing babies. The fact is that pro-choice means just that, they support the right for a woman to choose whether nor not she has an abortion, not that they believe it is the right choice. In fact, most pro-choice people advocate all other means before abortion. Even then, most do not believe abortion is the right choice. Before people protest Pres. Obama and his views, they should educate themselves on what exactly pro-choice is.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  47. Chase

    President Obama is not pro-abortion. Nobody is pro-abortion. When Clinton spoke at my graduation at Michigan in 2007, no one was protesting because they thought he advocated adultery. To those 2 students who plan on boycotting their own graduation because of this, if your belief in religion is so weak that it is threatened by someone who has different views, then be scared and run. But to those who realize that we are a country founded on the beliefs of not one, but many, then come into this with an open mind and be prepared to discuss and defend. Congratulations on your graduation. Michigan will beat you in football next year.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  48. Nancy

    I cant imagine any university graduauate wouldnt be extatic to have the US President come honor and speak to them. The university in my opinion must lack the teaching of tolerance along with their religion.

    these kids better learn soon that the whole world does not think the way they do and whats right for them is not the only way. Im sure President Obama could have a lot of motivating thoughts for them if they listen. I dont know why he would even go at this point-to take time out of his busy life to honor them when all they have to think about is rallying against him-I guess thats why Im not President!

    May 16, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  49. elena

    As Catholics we can commend President Obama for whichever good things he may accomplish for our country. However, we cannot in good conscience honor a man at a Catholic university who is active in promoting policies that are in conflict with our faith. It would seem to be common sense that you should not promote or show approval of a man who is working to safegaurd practices you are opposed to. The Chruch has a firm stand on abortion that Mr. Obama does not agree with, nor does the Church agree with Mr. Obama on this issue. Notre Dame should be willing to stand as a Catholic University and reserve their honors for persons setting a Catholic example or at least one that doesn't conflict so much with the Catholic faith.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  50. BYRON KING

    This is a prime example of why we have and must maintan at all cost a seperation of Church and State. I am Christian and I fight with my Christian brothers all the time about their ignorance. I am blown away how every religion gets to pick and choose what sins are worse than others. The Catholic Church almost destroyed Europe with the grip they had on the Government. I would like to ask all practicing Catholics why should the world as a whole tolerate such a violent religious group. How can you focus on this one topic of abortion, when from my understanding that you also are against birth control? Please explain to me how a Catholic couple can be married in their 20's and stay married for 30 years and only have 2 or 3 children? Of course the list of sin goes on according to Catholic doctrine. I am not looking to insult but to debate with reason.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  51. Velma Adams

    I think those who are protesting the President speaking at Notre Dame should examine their real motives. The President as a candidate and since becoming President has always stated that he personally does not believe in abortion, but he does support the right to choose. He believes it is more important to find ways to avoid unwanted pregnancies. I and my family have grown up in the Catholic Church, yet my sister attending a Catholic Church in Riverdale, NY, found herself and her daughter always having a pew to themselves. My niece would reach out her hand for the kiss of peace and no one would take her hand. She subsequently left the Catholic Church and joined the Episcopal Church. I too have since left the Catholic Church because of a similar reason.
    Maybe the motivation for some of these Catholic protestors is racial. They really have to examine their souls.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  52. larry

    It is said that this is the "most" polarizing President, but why? He is no more far left nor far right than any past president. He won the election with a far greater majority then recent presidents. So what is it about him that causes such a great divide? When all common factors are eliminated, what makes him different than any past president? As much as I hate to say it, I can't help but to think race may play a factor in his polarization.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  53. missy

    woman are in the closet on the effects of abortions
    many woman are constantly under treatment because a man said it was ok
    but we all know that Cain and Able god made a clear point,
    we will suffer after this action and we all are.
    so why not research this whole thing and find out the truth
    by the way i was a catholic young lady and thought i was going to hell for not marrying in the church
    but my life has been a tailspin since and now i know the truth
    and now you know the truth and mr obama needs to take the right stand for his childrens sake
    if not god will not take us out of our prison
    please help all children to know how important all life is
    not just the ones you can see
    why do we have so much killing
    because we said its ok
    mr obama if you go, you need to say," all life is important "

    May 16, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  54. Peaches of Charlotte

    It's a sad day when we show no tolorence for people who think differently than oneself. Do you think that there aren't any young female who has not had an abortion at this school? Let's take a poll on that.
    For a church who has so many skeltons in their closet and can still in their arrogance point a finger at others, is just outragous!!
    Why not let this class go out on a high note, learning tolerence and unconditional love for others.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  55. Therese, Pa

    President Obama should not be protested against speaking at Notre Dame. We have freedom of speech and it is a great honor for the students to have President Obama at their graduation. It is the UNIVERSITY that the students should protest against. It is stated by the Bishops of the Catholic Church NOT to honor those who do not uphold the Church's teachings. After being sublimiley told who NOT to vote for in the Presidential election at the pulpit, one of the most prestigeous Catholic Universities is honoring him. HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM........

    May 16, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  56. Michael

    Doesn't the RC Church disfavor DIVORCE and CONTRACEPTION too? When President Reagan spoke at Notre Dame, wasn't he already a divorcee? And wouldn't one be on reasonably safe ground to assume that Notre Dame students are among the majority of youth who are no longer virgins, yet who are not parents? What gives here? I am very concerned about the robustness of thought and intellect of tomorrow's leaders – today's current undergraduates – who appear unable to gauge and plumb the nuances and multidimensional natures that prevail in the litany of moral issues facing us today.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  57. John

    Barack Obama is not just another pro-choice President. He is the most pro- abortion President in about 100 years. It is appauling to see priests being arrested for protesting against Obama giving the commencement speech. If the bishop of Notre Dame's own Diocese is protesting, this is obviously a controversial issue among catholics.
    The other presidents who gave the commencement speech who were supportive of the death penalty were not as contradictory to Catholic doctrine as Barack Obama. By the way, the catholic church does not condemn the death penalty.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  58. william blackson

    I AM HAPPY THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA WILL SPEAK AT NOTRE DAME.I AM AGAINST ABORTION TOO. I REALLY THINK IT IS MORE TO THIS THAN ABORTION PROTEST,BUT I WILL HOLD MY OPINON.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  59. shirley

    Three yerars ago, President Obama then a U.S. Senator, spoke at the country's only Catholic HBCU, Xavier University in New Orleans. His views were the same then as now and there were not protests or boycotts. I know there is a great difference in being a Senator and holding the highest office in the land. This is just a ploy to get the anti-abortion agenda in the spotlight. Those that protest abortion and want to deny women the right to make their own decisions should also be castigating the fathers who do not support their children and continue to have more.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  60. Dick Orenstein

    Would Jesus have invited President Obama to speak? I think yes!

    May 16, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  61. Justine King

    I'm an ND grad. Father Ted Hesbergh was President of Notre Dame while I was a student. As an international peace leader and Chairman of the Civil Rights Commission who marched arm-in-arm with Martin Luther King, Obama's appearance there as our first black president is history, and I am moved and honored.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  62. Lauren

    I think that some people are blowing this visit out of proportion. There are a lot of things that Catholic Doctrine is against, like birth control. In general people like to debate and argue, it is human nature. They could have found any sort of problem with any speaker. I think people should be tolerant of each other, and isn't that a fundamentally Christian teaching?

    May 16, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  63. Dodie - California

    To those protesting President Obama:

    It is important to realize everyone whether pro life or pro choice are NOT advocating abortion. (((( NO ONE IS FOR ABORTION!!! ))) President Obama advocates abstinence and prevention of unwanted pregnancies through accessible education and services for women at risk. Abortion is only available due to medical complications, rape & molest of women and children and where all other tactics have failed.

    To all those people protesting, move into the SOLUTION! ADOPT, ADOPT, ADOPT!

    There are tens or possibly hundreds of thousands of children who are alive and thrown away now living in group homes!

    May 16, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  64. JRL

    I guess everyone's afraid to say the obvious. Presidents have been invited to speak at Notre Dame for generations and only one of them was Catholic, but none of them were black. They also didn't have Newt Gingrich and the poisonous Republican machine trying to destroy them but whipping up any and all controversy, however ridiculous.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  65. David Chavez

    JUST LET THE MAN SPEAK!!!

    This is a university and not a cathedral: I do not see a problem with President Obama speaking at a Catholic University. To me this is a total non-story.

    As a liberal Catholic it is my personal belief that abortion is wrong, however I do not think that just because I personally and spiritually believe it is wrong is grounds to make it illegal. As Obama says, abortion is a "moral tragedy" and I agree, however we do not have MORAL LAW in this country, we are not a religion-governed state! I think it is foolish to have such hatred towards those with a difference of opinion as to not go to your own graduation–a graduation that took you four long years of work to get to!

    It is my opinion that if students, faculty, etc. of Notre Dame are SO caught-up with the fact that a speaker at their university graduation has a difference of opinion, maybe they ought to get out of the University/academic arena all together.

    Oh, and Fredricka, the word MERCED is not pronounced "MERcit", but rather "merCED"

    May 16, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  66. Ted Baker

    I have no problem with people boycotting the commencement ceremony because the speaker holds contrary views. But to suggest others are somehow wrong for extending the invitation or attending the event is hypocritical, at best.

    George Bush oversaw dozens of executions as Texas Governor. Every President going back to Eisenhower when the presidential invitation tradition began has overseen some armed conflict or another. Roman Catholic teachings oppose both capital punishment and war but I don't remember these issues causing such a stir over a presidential address.

    Moreover, where were these people when the church was sweeping under the rug the widespread sexual abuse of children by its clergy?

    Finally, the church has no compunction about trying to dictate social policy and even lawmaking action to elected officials who are prohibited from enshrining religion in government.

    So, I say to the protesters, you can't have it both ways. Criticize the invitation of all presidents or none. Criticize all "bad" decisions by your church or none. Dilettantes pick and choose; true believers do not.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  67. BYRON KING

    I have question for those opposing the President speaking? Since you are so hell bent on your position why would you allow anyone who does not see things in line with your narrow minded postition to even attend your school? Look around you Just like the Republican Religious Right your group is shrinking, not because people are turning against Christ but they are wising up to the hypocrisy and realizing that God deals with individuals and not groups or doctrine!!!

    May 16, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  68. william blackson

    TO LARRY,THAT IS MY OPINON TOO.NOW I WON'T HAVE TO HOLD MY OPION NOW.THANKS LARRY.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  69. Anamaria

    When a Catholic University bestows an honorarium on a man who avidly endorses the killing of pre-born babies, and that same university allows the arrest of the eminent statesman and former ambassador to the united nations, as he was peacefully reciting the rosary on campus, we are sickened and no longer see Notre Dame as an institution that upholds catholic teaching, but prefers the glory and adulation of this world.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  70. Sharon Eckhaus

    The situation with Obama and Notre Dame University reminds me of what took place at my college graduation – 1965 – Long Island – white republican territory – I graduated Hofstra University – and to my delight and joy – Martin Luther King Jr. was the speaker – do I need to say more! My own parents were horrified – "we pay money and have to hear and see him" – that was just the tip of the iceberg – many people did not attend the ceremony – or many parents did not.
    I look back and realize what an incredible moment in hiostory I was a part of - to bad those protesting at Notre Dame cannot look at our President and realize what this holds for the future – they will be very sorry in reflection.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  71. Tcaruso

    I am a student at the UND and I am embarrassed by this whole situation. Students at ND know better than to say that Obama is the antithesis of Catholic teaching. He embodies many catholic positions especially on education and social justice. Notre Dame is part of the United States PEOPLE NEED TO REALIZE IT IS NOT THE US VATICAN. The president won the vote of our country, Indiana, st joes county and the student election on campus. Obama is coming to make a speech to congratulate e the graduates and the abortion topic was brought up by people trying to force their opinions on others. NOTRE DAMES MODEL IS GOD, COUNTRY AND NOTRE DAME.... COUNTRY BEFORE NOTRE DAME AND OBAMA IS THE LEADER OF OUR COUNTRY... THE WHOLE COUNTRY

    May 16, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  72. doug johnston

    since the begining of time religion has killed more people than any pandemic could and here it is tring to have power over all persons in this day and age. how many wars are on going right now in this world over different religous beliefes?? how many people must die before the religous leaders see that the world must live as one with freedom of beliefs (live and let live). the mid-east is and throu-out time has been at war because of religion. it is not the time to bring it to america.here we should still have the freedom to choose what we want for ourselfs and our future!! this should not even be up for debate!!

    May 16, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  73. valerie taylor

    First let me say that I am totally for free speech; however I just have one question...Where are these same protesters when it comes to the Catholic Priest accused and found guilty of molesting and ruining the lives of numerous young boys?
    I failed to see the news reports of the massive protest of the Catholic Church when and as this travesty occurred and continues.
    The President did not say he supported abortion, he said he supported a woman's right to chose!
    If you want to protest and support something; protest for the many innocent children who are sufferring by the hands of the priest who represent the Catholic Church.
    My suggestion. People in glass houses..............

    May 16, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  74. Sara

    There appears to be a very small percentage of actual students who are protesting. I think most of the fury theatrics is coming from the usual Pro-Life religious right contingent (not Notre Dame).

    38% of women who have abortions are mothers already. I would never judge them. They are doing what is best for their family.

    A world of wanted children would make a world of difference.

    May 16, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  75. Jo Martino

    We are to be judged by our maker alone. The people who are judging PRESIDENT OBAMA should examine their own conscious and mind their own business. He is a GOOD Man and a GREAT PRESIDENT. Whom ever wants to have an abortion ,it's their own business and the CATHOLIC CHURCH should realize this is the year 2009 . Everything else in this world has been modernized and this to should come to pass. I'm a CATHOLIC,76 years of age and know by now our SAVIOR will judge me, so my judging days are over for good. God Bless Us All.

    May 16, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  76. Terry Evans

    Shame on Obama, Shame on Notre Dame and Shame on CNN!

    Abortion is in direct opposition to teaching of Catholic Church. Notre Dame is in theory a Catholic institutiion. The CNN coverage smacks of Obama worship. Why couldn't CNN have a practicing Catholic opposed to abortion on the program rather than a non-Catholic who writes about Catholics and an obvious Obama supporting "Catholic"???

    May 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  77. MarthaSF

    The hoopla out in Indiana is nothing more than conservative Republicans anti-abortion groups, angry at Obama's election, trying to take him "down a notch". Example: the arrest of Alan Keyes and the presence of Randall Terry yesterday. I feel that Obama, as all Presidents since Eisenhower should speak. Bush spoke. Did the Catholics come out to protest his positions on guns, captial punishment, and his condoning torture? I think not. As I said, this is all a show put on by outside groups.

    May 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  78. BYRON KING

    I believe abortion is wrong also just in case you were wondering the difference between pro-life and pro-choice people is simple. pro-life people realize that another person decision to commit a sin of any kind is between them and God. Pro-life people want to control God and his word to use as a weapon to beat down there fellow man. There are over 1.5 million children in foster care in America. If abortion becomes illegal we will return to the time before the 50's when the number of abortions and women being mutulated and killed would equal or eclipse where we are today. Question for the Anti-abortion people? What should the punishment be Murder 1st degree for the Doctor and 2nd Degree for the mother and the nurses that assisted?

    May 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  79. john

    im prolife and not catholic i believe every catholic should be outraged cause the bible declares abortion is murder

    john
    massachusetts

    May 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  80. kevin walters

    So are beliefs on matters such as stem cell research and abortion the litmus test we seem to use today when choosing someone to simply speak at a graduation commencement?? That is ridiculous Notre Dame. I wonder if these same issues and beliefs seem to come in to play when Notre Dame selected Charlie Weis as their head football coach, or when they spend so much money trying to recruit top high school athletes (which a majority of them seem to be minority). Do the fans and alumni who cheer these players on care whether or not the athletes themselves believe in stem cell research or abortion?? I seriously doubt it.

    May 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  81. Brian Paul

    I'd like to know where all these "Catholic Protesters" were pre Roe vs Wade when women were butchered in alleyways and tenements with coat hangers, and how many of them adopted the unwanted and unloved.

    It'd also be nice to know why they were'nt protesting their own Clergy when it was discovered that the favorite pastime was abusing little boys, and I'm affended that their Bishop feels it appropiate to boycott a duly Elected President, yet with his public silence seems to condone, or at minimum, tolerate the actions of his Brethren when these sinners were transfered to other Parishes to continue this deplorable behavior.

    The hypocrits should shut up rather than scream for the cameras, and own up to their own failures while accusing The President.

    Add those little tid-bits of history to your "diologue."

    May 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  82. BYRON KING

    To Diane & Anamaria I have a question since you do not think that the President show not receive a degree? Are all the graduates receiving degrees from N.D. strict practicing Catholics, (This by the way includes all the staff members of N.D.) or do they get to pick and choose how they practice?

    May 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  83. Deb

    When the Catholic Church and the organizations that are supported by the church take on their own problem of gay priests and molestation by the priests, then and only then can they start to "protest" any other issue. As a "former" Catholic, I do not want to hear any of them protest against any issue until they deal with their own problem.

    If this University had George Bush speak, the former Govenor of the State with the most executions, then they have no platform to even allow these protests. What a huge joke.

    May 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  84. Bob, Cleveland

    For the Catholic Church to call Pres. Obama unmoral is like the devil saying sin is wrong. The catholic Church and some followers up to the Pope are the modern day version of Pharisees.
    This is the same church that protects sex offenders against children. In the words of Jesus.'Remove the plank from your own eye before removing the speck out of your neighbors eye."

    For the mosty unchristian sect to attack the morality of others need to reread their Bibles and respect their neighbors and love them. For this is what Jesus commands.

    Jesus himself didn't come here to Jude the world so what gives these people the right that GOd in human form himself chose not to do while here. Do they see themselves as supior to God? Oh wait I forgot they already have their kingdom on earth called the Vatican another sign that they choose their own path and not God's.

    May 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  85. Brian Paul

    I'd like to know where all these "Catholic Protesters" were pre-Roe vs Wade when women were butchered in alleyways and Tenements with coat hangers, and how many of them adopted the unwanted and unloved. I'm haunted by the thought a child going to sleep at night knowing they were neither. Where are these people now, and their little tid bits of history?

    It'd also be nice to why these people weren't protesting their own Clergy when it was discovered the the favorite pastime was abusing little boys and I'affended that the Bishop chooses to boycott a duly elected President, yet with his public silence seems to condone, or at minimum tolerate the actions of his fellow Bishops and Church's actions when these child molesters were transfered and continued this deplorable behavior.

    The hypocrits should shut up rather than pose and scream for the cameras, and own up to their Church's failures while standing in silent Protest to the President's positions.

    May 16, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  86. Gail

    Whatever happened to "I may not agree with your beliefs but, I will defend your right to say it" President Obama should be allowed to speak at Notre Dame like all the presidents before him.

    In so many ways we are an ungrateful country. While our men and women at this very moment are fighting for our way of life and our belief whether it is for or against something some people have the audacity to protest and even go to jail to protest a personal choice.

    With this much emphasis on pro-life why haven't the Catholic church put as much effort in early identifying or preventing those indiviuals who have harmed young catholic children. What good is it to save a child's life from abortion and then to ruin it's mind and body through rape and child molestation.

    The Catholic church practice double standards, what about previous presidents by were pro death and pro adultery? Some Catholic members want it both ways. Perhaps somebody should just stand up and be honest enough and say what is really behind this foolishness and, that is to say you are just not happy with honoring a Black man with this type of award. Finally, where was the so-called protest a few years ago when then Senator Obama gave the commencement speech at a Black catholic university in New Orleans.

    May 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  87. DERRILL

    i'm not the smartest man in the world, but dosen't the Bible say dont judge your neighbor?! Who are these people(students and Teachers) to say that Mr. Obama isn't welcome to their school! first of all, the prsident dosen't support abortion! he simply says its up to the women to decide if she wants the baby or not. What if the woman was raped, or has a baby by a family member. (incest) Would you want to keep that baby? I believe in GOD and I will not kill a baby, but at least put him or her up for adoption. Some people don't believe in GOD. Thats their choice!!!! If the go to heaven or hell for abortion, thats their story. Everyone will see God on judgement day. It's just like if you want to get married young and your parents said no, but you do it anyway, you will have to deal with your parents aftermath, whatever that may be. If you kill a fetus, you will have to deal with God's aftermath. IT IS AN INDAVISUAL CHOICE ON THIS TOPIC! JUST LIKE IF I WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN OR NOT! MR. OBAMA IS NOT THE BLAME FOR THIS CRAP!! THE REAL REASON OF THIS BIG STORY IS THAT A BLACK MAN IS IN OFFICE, AND REPUBLICANS ARE BURNING MAD!!!

    May 16, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  88. BYRON KING

    AMEN Brother David Chavez;
    "As a liberal Catholic it is my personal belief that abortion is wrong, however I do not think that just because I personally and spiritually believe it is wrong is grounds to make it illegal. As Obama says, abortion is a “moral tragedy” and I agree, however we do not have MORAL LAW in this country, we are not a religion-governed state! I think it is foolish to have such hatred towards those with a difference of opinion as to not go to your own graduation"

    And to help you prove your point for those that argue that this country was founded on the Christian religion. Here is a one of our founding fathers President John Adams as he signed the 1796 treaty with Tripoli
    1796 TREATY OF PEACE & FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN THE UNITIED STATES OF AMERICA & THE BEY AND SUBJECTS OF TRIPOLI AND BARBARY

    Authored by American diplomat Joel Barlow in 1796, the following treaty was sent to the floor of the Senate, June 7, 1797, where it was read aloud in its entirety and unanimously approved. John Adams, having seen the treaty, signed it and proudly proclaimed it to the Nation
    Annals of Congress, 5th Congress (NOTE; there are 12 articles in this treaty but I only listed this one to prove a point you are free to go read the whole treaty)

    Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries

    I am Christian but I will not tell a lie about my country or Use my God's name in Vain.

    May 16, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  89. Dodie - California

    To those protesting President Obama:
    It is important to realize everyone whether pro life or pro choice are NOT advocating abortion. (((( NO ONE IS FOR ABORTION!!! ))) President Obama advocates abstinence and prevention of unwanted pregnancies through accessible education and services for women at risk.

    To all those people protesting, move into the SOLUTION! ADOPT, ADOPT, ADOPT!

    There are tens or possibly hundreds of thousands of children who are alive and need the love and attention of a family.

    May 16, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  90. Robert Stewart

    Regarding the tempest in a teapot:

    Obama already has a real law degree, so he doesn't need a fake one from the University of Football.

    While graduation from college is indeed a major milestone in a person's life, graduation ceremonies generally suck and can be easily skipped.

    May 16, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  91. Lucinda Sanchez

    The only time Catholics are concerned with killing it's when it involves the unborn! Why don't they get out and protest the wars we are in?
    And at the time the Ten Commandments were written abortion was not an issue. Jesus also said "judge not, lest ye be judged." It is God's job to judge, not ours.

    Lucinda
    Dana Point, CA

    May 16, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  92. Kathleen Thornton

    President Obama was elected to be President by the majority of our citizens. Therefore he should be treated with respect. Will someone please explain to me why abortion gets so much attention when we have so many problems facing our country? Pro-life, Pro-choice-You know it is a very difficult decision for any woman to make.It is a decision that will haunt most women for the rest of their lifes. If the Pro-life folks want to help with the babies that they insist must be born, then why are they so against social programs to help the health & welfare of these children? It is ultimately the mother who takes care of these children. The GOP has cut back on various programs to help keep thes kids healthy. And we are focusing on just one issue that takes away valuable time & energy from the more serious problems confronting our nation. Tunnel vision may be easier to strive for because it keeps them focused on one issue that will not stop a war, that will not get people back to work and that will not help our economy. Shame on those who have made this the top story when so much else should have priority.

    May 17, 2009 at 2:49 am |
  93. John in Phoenix

    It is amazing that so many "good catholic" college students can protest so loudly about President Obama's stand on a womens right to choose. I wonder how many of these same students use artificial means of birth contol. The Catholic church is as strongly opposed to that (ie: birth control pills, condoms etc.) as it is opposed to abortion. I do believe in the Bible it says "Let those among you without sin cast the first stonr". I wonder how many protestors would remain if that were the case!

    May 17, 2009 at 6:34 am |
  94. Theresa McKinley

    This is not about President Obama speaking at Notre Dame, it`s about him receiving an honourary doctorate degree. He is a pro death President and he should not be honoured at a Catholic university. Please get your facts straight, these demonstrators are not against abortion, they are for life PRO LIFE!
    Are you feeding people what you want them to see and hear? Give us the NEWS, not your version of it.
    !

    May 17, 2009 at 7:24 am |
  95. Josh

    I have always held Notre Dame in the highest regard, until now. I am so disappointed in ND. The new Gallup Poll released this week shows a majority of Americans are Pro Life. Wake up ND.

    May 17, 2009 at 7:25 am |
  96. Theresa McKinley

    P.S.
    This is not about choice, this is about the murder of CHILDREN IN THE WOMB!

    May 17, 2009 at 7:26 am |
  97. Ginny

    Those who are appalled by Norte Dame inviting President Obama to speak because of his beliefs that a woman has the right to choice what happens to her own body truly are hypocrites. What is worse, a man who is pro-choice or a bishop who looks the other way when the priests in his diocese abuse young children for years? How many lives were destroyed by the Catholic Church’s stand on this issue? When they looked the other way and shifted priests to hide their crimes? How many parishes are now gone because the Church had to pay out millions of dollars to their victims? Does that mean to be a good Catholic; I need to be anti-abortion but pro-child abuse? Honorary degrees should not be given out to anyone.

    May 17, 2009 at 7:27 am |
  98. Stanley Miller

    Why did Notre Dame invite President obama in the first place if all they are going to do is insult him? He hasn't invaded a country based on lies like Bush or destroyed our economy. And they owe him the respect of listening to him before disagreeing with him firsrt.

    May 17, 2009 at 7:32 am |
  99. Kathleen

    The speaker at my graduation from Northwestern in 1984 was Reagan's National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane. He speech was titled "Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age." I do not recall him giving any words of inspiration or advice– it was a policy speech. Two years later he was a leader in the Iran Contra affair.

    At the graduation several student leaders and faculty wore black armbands and while McFarlane spoke they stood and faced away from the speaker in protest.

    This week my daughter graduated from NYU. The speaker at her Tisch School of the Arts graduation event was Whoopi Goldberg who was wonderful.

    I still resent having McFarlane speak at my graduation.

    May 17, 2009 at 7:32 am |
  100. scott stodden

    I think it is a shame to protest the commencement going on at Notre Dame today, if a president republican or democrat came and spoke at my graduation I would be honored, it would be a moment that I would never forget and I wouldnt care what there beliefs or policy's are . Shame on the students, the staff, and the priests and bishops protesting the commencement. If these priests and bishops that are planning to protest are real and so devoted to god, they wouldnt do it.

    May 17, 2009 at 7:37 am |
  101. Josh

    One more thing, since Roe v. Wade, 40 million unborn babies have been murdered. 40 MILLION. How can people defend this? Babies have human rights as well...

    May 17, 2009 at 7:38 am |
  102. Judy Slater

    Abortion is murder. Obama is against war but in favor of murdering children. Aside from the moral implications which are many, consider the effects on our society of the murder of so many. Notre Dame is compromising its values. If I were a Catholic I would stop supporting such a weak school. In the early 70's the Catholics were the only ones standing for the unborn babies in the abortion debate. So many of us were naive at the consequences but the Catholic Church and Frances Schaeffer were not. Please Obama and America, open your eyes. Make the connection of our corporate sin to the moral and economic changes in our society.

    May 17, 2009 at 7:56 am |
  103. lisa

    I am against abortion myself. But what hypocricy! For it is not purely ironic that the catholics would protest against the President, when there was no comparable outrage from this same group, over their own 'Priests Perversion Saga' in recent history.

    May 17, 2009 at 8:05 am |
  104. Raven

    If I remember, doesn't the church, and religion in general, teach us that we should accept all creatures/people that we meet as equals? That we should accept them for what they are. And we should accept their views, opinions, and beliefs because all of us are created equal and have the right given to believe and think what we want to without being judged.
    I am sorry for the people at this school. Are they going to go through life being so judgemental of others that they will fail to see what is really out there? There are so many wonderful cultures and beliefs out there that if one goes through life so closed minded and ignorant of their surroundings that they will eventually miss out on all these wonders.
    How can they expect to treat all the people they come in contact with, with such judgementalistic behavior and not expect that they will get the same back?
    Is it a wonder why so many find that the church should be kept behind closed doors and stay out of the governments affairs?
    I am not putting down any religion. My beliefs are very different from theirs. I am part Cherokee. If we were to meet on the street, would they immediately put me down and judge me? Would they denounce what I am and say that I am inferior to them?
    And of all people to put down in this way, the President of our country??? I find it offensive that these people have to be closed minded and judgemental about everyone. I do not believe they know of the true ways of the world. I feel they have taken their views and are only trying to push them on everyone else. This is not the way of religion should be. It should be free choice to believe in what you will and not be persecuted for that .
    If I were President Obama, I would just back out of the speech altogether and let them be to their own.

    May 17, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  105. Althea

    I read that 10 Notre Dame alumni – all priests – contend in an open letter, that the school is risking its “true soul.” I think Notre Dame is being hypocritical, and embarrassing as it shows to the world, their disrespect for President Obama. Where was this level of outrage and/or soul when priests were taking away so many young lives by molestation? President Obama, in his almost 4 months as president, has shown great leadership, by his ability to see and recreate structural order within the government, while simultaneously making great stride towards repairing our country. History has shown that none other than President Obama, since the great depression, and in some ways never had inherited such enormous levels of distruction as was allowed to be imposed on this country by the previous administration. I think we would be hard pressed to find anyone that could do a better job than what President Obama is doing.

    President Obama, through education, committment, and persuit of his goals help make life better for all, has not only talked the talk, but has walked the walk, and continues to do so quite successfully. He is a great movation to all people not only in our country, but the world over, young and old. President Obama has shown through his leadership and example, how education and committment were tools that help make him president of the USA, when all odds were thought to be against him. I believe he was deservingly invited to give the commencement address and accept a honorary law degree at Notre Dame University. President Obama is a perfect example to encourage these graduates to over come such devastating problems as we are currently facing.

    May 17, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  106. Anonani

    An invitation was extended to the President of the United States and he accepted. Let him speak. Shame on those who are politicizing this event and characterizing Mr. Obama's philosophy as anything other than being in favor of letting women make their own choices.

    May 17, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  107. Bill

    Obama goes to Notre Dame? Isn't that like the devil is going to Church?

    – Is it not bad enough that he kills baby embryos as an alternative form of birth control?
    – Is it not bad enough that he now takes those embryos and experiments on them?
    – But now he has to go to a Christian school to brag about it? To tell everyone about all the "changes" he's making?
    – The audacity of his "hope" is that it's an evil hope....not a christian's... the audcacity is.... he left out the word evil.

    He's only going there to insult everything that the students of Notre Dame stand for.... by showing them he's a rock star who can "do whatever he likes."

    May 17, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  108. Bruce Resch

    What would Rudy think?

    May 17, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  109. Kathleen Thornton

    Why are we debating this in the first place? The President was asked by the ND administration to speak at the commencement. As far as I know, the invitation did not include any pre-screening test to make sure his views reflected a certain section of society. Are football players,coaches & staff put under the same scrutiny? I doubt it. These protesters are a bunch of hypocrites!

    May 17, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  110. Jay, south caroilna

    Everyone is talking about whether or not President Obama should get a honorary law degree. Has anyone ever considered that maybe he doesn't even want one. We've all gotten gifts before that we didn't want. After all he does have a real Harvard law degree at home. That's like giving me a plastic plant when I already have a greenhouse.

    May 17, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  111. Gary Gamble

    If my priest thought that by protesting against abortion it would make Catholics look like fundamentalists and somehow inhibit useful dialogue, I would be looking for a new parish and priest.

    May 17, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  112. Charlotte

    I have to laugh at the antiabortion crowd...they insist on calling a fetus an "unborn" child or a baby. You need to be consistent and call eggs "unborn chickens".

    This isn't a political discussion, this is a religious discussion. What the pro-choice/anti-abortion people disagree about is this question..."When does life begin?" Science has yet to determine the answer to this question, so it becomes a question of belief.

    As a pro-choice person, I believe that abortion, while a very difficult decision, is not murder because a fetus isn't a person. I respect the beliefs of those who believe that life begins at conception, but I expect them to respect my belief that life begins when the fetus is capable of life outside the womb (and the Bible seems to suggest just that).

    The facts are the facts...we don't know when life begins.

    May 20, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  113. patty

    heY patricia,

    before you talk about abortion, try an educate yourself first. My Mom had to abort her 4th child because of her heart condition. Her life was in grave danger and there had been some damage to the baby due to an infection that had spread to the baby and had she carried it to term, not only would the baby have died but my mother would not be alive today. Do you think she should have carried it to term and then left behind 3 children just to make you pro-abortioners happy???? You guys have no clue what you are talking about. If a woman is raped, you think she should carry it to term????? Are you sick. You guys don't even believe in plan B which prevents it from becoming life so there is no winning for you guys. How come your not upset when a baby in texas which was born premature had the instruments turned off in the hospital because the mom could not afford the healthcare???? Oh thats right, its different because the baby is out of its womb. what about healthcare for poor children??????? this is very sad.

    June 3, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  114. Byron Richard King (class of 1974)

    I noticed that someone who shares my name (or who has appropriated it) has posted a number of comments on this site. Be advised that this is NOT the Byron King of the class of 1974! I don't know this person, nor have I ever met him. His views are his own, and have nothing to do with me.

    October 21, 2015 at 2:18 am |

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