More letters about Obama visit

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Author: Notre Dame Magazine

(Page two of letters to the editor about ND’s invitation to President Barack Obama to speak at the 2009 commencement)
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Abortion is a grave sin . . . against God and humanity. Abortion is in violation of the teachings of the Catholic Church. Notre Dame is supposedly a Catholic University.

The Catholic University of Notre Dame has reached a new low by inviting strong abortion supporter, Barack Obama, to campus as the commencement speaker. Obama’s actions supporting abortion are a thousand times worse than Herod’s “slaughter of the innocents” during Biblical times.

While Obama was part of the Illinois legislature he voted against the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, in other words his vote favored allowing the baby to die, if not outright killing it. Just think about that to begin with.

As one of his first acts as president he signed an Executive Order to use taxpayer money to fund international groups that perform abortions and also provide information on abortion procedures. In other words he is exporting abortions.

He has promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act that would do away with state laws concerning abortion. It allows for unlimited abortion, including partial birth abortion. It compels taxpayer funding of abortion. It will force faith-based hospitals and healthcare facilities to perform abortions. Many have already said they will close down rather than perform them, depriving people of many other desperately needed medical services, placing our country into a quandary. It does away with parental notification and informed consent. It essentially takes away all barriers to abortion, from conception to 9 months.

He has appointed the former governor of Kansas, Katherine Sebelius, as secretary of Health and Human Services. As governor she vetoed every bill limiting abortion and was an active supporter and fundraiser for abortion.
Most recently Obama named New York City’s health commissioner Thomas Frieden, still another strong pro-abortion person, as head of the Centers for Disease Control. Frieden, who was controversial during his time in New York, which has long has the highest abortion rate of any major city, was named director of the CDC. New York City has paid millions of dollars over the years for abortions for poor residents and required medical students there to lean how to do abortions. Frieden, who will take over the CDC in June, feuded with pro-life advocates by distributing millions of free condoms in 2007. New York City’s bishops issued a scathing denunciation at the time.

It was no surprise that Obama has announced that he will do away with restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research. People who oppose the embryonic approach are made out to be against medical research and against finding cures, yet this is still another untruth. Adult stem cell research and other fundamental tissue research have shown much more promise and yielded better results. Embryonic stem-cell research is creating life for experimentation, and creating life to destroy it.

Barack Obama is leading us further into the depths of what Pope John Paul II called the “culture of death.” He has become a modern-day Herod.

I am not part of any organization, just an individual, a Catholic, who is very deeply concerned. Notre Dame was once one of the finest Catholic institutions of learning in the world. It is no longer.

Al DiLascia
Chicopee, Massachusetts

Father Jenkins generous invitation to President Barak Obama to participate in this year’s commencement program seems to have generated a storm of protest from every right wing religious fanatic in the country. No matter how you feel about abortion, and the president has said unequivocally that he is against it as a person, you must understand that if you fall in line with the likes of Randall Terry you are championing a cynical degenerate who makes his living waving the flag for what are often legitimate causes but doing it in such a demagogic way that he ultimately removes from them any trace of the legitimacy that they originally carried to the fray.

His intervention in the death of the tragic Terri Schaivo is a perfect example of the way this deviate can suck income from a cause while turning it into a circus and in that unfortunate case rob the already dead woman of any last trace of dignity.

Right now Terry and Patrick E. Mangan, ND ’80, who bills himself as Executive Director; Citizens for Community Values of Indiana (Are there some specific values in Indiana that we don’t have in the rest of the country?) have set themselves up in South Bend and are sending out fundraising letters. What, one might ask, is the purpose of raising these funds, other than room and board and a little beer money for Mr. Terry and Mr. Mangan and their misguided friends. I quote Mr. Terry’s pamphlet.

“No one will be paid for this work including myself. But we still need resources. We need money to buy food, gas, pay rent, utilities.” I don’t know about Mr. Terry but the money that pays for these things has always, in my experience, been called income. This is how the guy makes his living. He is not some kind of altruistic volunteer who does what he’s doing for the love of the cause. Altruistic volunteers work for Doctors Without Borders.

Okay, so what is his platform? He’s against abortion. Hell, everyone with even a modicum of intelligence is against abortion but some are against other things related to the problem even more. Abortion is bad. Some of the things that can result from not getting an abortion are even worse. If you can’t see that, turn the page and go on to the sports news.

So what is Mr. Terry’s platform? It’s not an explanation of his views on a very complicated subject. It’s an attack on the president based on four statements that are so full of lies and false assumptions as to make any logical human being reject Mr. Terry’s point of view as promulgated by a liar or a moron.

You don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at them one by one.

1— President Obama is right now changing the conscience regulations for Christian health workers and Catholic hospitals. He plans to force Catholic and Protestant hospitals, doctors and nurses — even in private practice — to refer for abortion, dispense “Plan B” and dispense and refer for chemical abortifacients and birth control: in other words, to become agents of death.

Fascinating isn’t it, how Mr. Terry knows all about the president’s unstated plans. Of course the president doesn’t want to force anyone to do anything. What he wants is to allow doctors and health care professionals to proceed with the wants and wishes of their patients. It would also be nice if this happened without having them shot by some fanatic in their offices.

2— President Obama has released U.S. funds – YOUR MONEY— to pay for child-killing in Africa, and forced abortion in China. Twenty million children a year are murdered by forced abortion in China under the “One child” policy. We are now helping subsidize these damnable crimes because Obama is giving our money to UNEPA.

UNEPA, The United Nations Population Fund, does not fund abortions. It does, in a world that is already vastly overpopulated, spend its money on contraception. I know, the Church is against contraception too. I don’t know if the Church concedes this but logically speaking, it’s probably the lesser of the two evils and in most of the world today it is absolutely necessary to control the spread of disease and the need for abortions. That’s what UNEPA does. Mr. Terry lies. UNEPA doesn’t fund abortions, it doesn’t kill children.

3— President Obama has pledged to sign FOCA, the so called “Freedom of Choice Act,” which could undo the gains we have made in the pro-life movement over the last 30 years.

Well maybe he’s actually got something here but the name of the legislation says it all. “Freedom of Choice.” There are two very firm sides to this question and they’ll probably never agree.

4 — And now, we are involved in the ghoulish trade in human lives: we create life to destroy it — create human embryos to kill them and harvest their stem cells — at Obama’s executive order.

This is probably the most dishonest and cynical of Terry’s points. There is no way an even moderately intelligent person would be unaware that this is an outright lie. Human embryos are not created to harvest stem cells. Stem cells were sometimes (very seldom and now not at all) harvested from existing embryos that could no longer be used for conception. Modern science has taken steps that no longer require that practice.

Randall Terry is not a part of the Notre Dame family, although his pamphlets try to make it seem that he is. He’s preying on the very real moral fears of well-meaning people who have serious problems with the issues he twists for his own venal purposes. He should he rejected out of hand, no matter your opinion on the issue.

William F. DeSeta ‘58
New York, New York

Randall Terry, thank you for your e-mail on President Obama’s visit to Notre Dame. It has given me the opportunity to express my own opinion of this issue.

The participation of a U.S. president in our University’s commencement is a mutual honor, to Notre Dame and to President Obama. It is not necessary to agree with or support the president’s agenda, policies or opinions. It is enough to celebrate the Office of the President and the respect paid by the Office to our University.

We as Catholics have a right and an obligation to articulate our views. We as a University community have as firm an obligation to encourage constructive debate, with our integral and inherent faith that in the end, the right and just position will prevail.

We should and will welcome President Obama to our University, and not allow the occasion to enable a vocal minority to impose its non-constructive agenda on our great institution.

John Keane ’75
Charlotte, North Carolina

Please be aware of this 1949 graduate’s good feelings regarding Obama’s commencement appearance as I expressed in a published letter to the editor of the Toledo (Ohio) Blade newspaper on Sunday, May 3, called “Extremists Must Not Stifle Views.”

I hope not many students are taken into the myopic focus of the extreme, anti-abortion dissident group.

Mike Hoeflinger ’49
Oregon, Ohio

As a devout Catholic, I want to express my outrage at the news of ND conferring an honor degree on Barack Obama. He is personally committed to an array of anti-Catholic policies and wants them imposed on this Christian nation. Abandon all plans to honor him, he deserves to be confronted about his overtly pro-abortion and anti-family practices, not honored. If our Catholic institutions won’t stand up for our principles, who will? Practice the leadership all Catholics, and this nation, need.

Adriana Leroy
Phoenix, Arizona

I am disappointed by Mary Ann Glendon’s decision to decline Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, and by the troubling movement within our Church that her message represents. On the day I graduated from Notre Dame in 1996, Ms. Glendon gave the commencement address and shared the stage with anti-death penalty advocate Sister Helen Prejean, who received the Laetare Medal the same year. Together, both distinguished women represented the rich tradition of Catholic leadership applied to the moral issues of the day.

As a theology student at Notre Dame, I learned to apply the Catholic teaching of the sanctity of human life with what Cardinal Joseph Bernadin called “The Seamless Garment,” a belief in a consistent ethic upholding the dignity of all life from conception to natural death, and every life in between. Unfortunately, Glendon’s position, and that of some of the U.S. Catholic bishops lately, is that there are some elements of life that are more important than others, and can be used as a “litmus test” or a “trump card” over all other policy issues affecting human life and dignity.

Instead of looking at reproduction as a PART of the interwoven fabric of human life, this position seeks to stress the principal importance of the Church’s position on reproductive issues in the public policy arena, so that all other issues are secondary. I believe that this position is bad theology and bad public policy. It is bad theology because it is incomplete, and leaves many faithful Catholics without the tools they need to consciously examine complex moral and social issues through the lens of a “Seamless Garment of Life.” It is bad public policy because it turns its back on progress that can be made by engaging divergent opinions towards common goals. It has the potential of removing the Catholic voice from meaningful debate.

Notre Dame has become one of the nation’s pre-eminent institutions of Catholic learning precisely because it is a community that makes an effort to harmonize the dual elements of a strong Catholic education, upholding a tradition of vigorous intellectual pursuit with a faithful adherence to Catholic character and principles, without fear that either element would compromise the other. A good education provides tools to examine the complex and changing issues of the day, while it sparks the development of a strong social conscience within each student. I have always believed, for example, that it is so important that Notre Dame has one of the nation’s largest ROTC programs while it is also home to an institute for international peace that is recognized throughout the world for its contribution to building peace in regions of the world affected by war and genocide. The University seeks to create a space for its students and faculty to engage in dialog from all of these perspectives in the hope that good will come from those interactions.

It is unfortunate that former Ambassador Glendon is not able to recognize the policies of President Obama that do promote human dignity in ways that are consistent to Catholic teaching: opposition to torture, access to health care and quality education for children, expansion of unemployment benefits to laid-off workers in a struggling economy, to name a few. Mainly, it is disappointing that so many who have rallied behind Glendon’s position believe that they have achieved something by drawing a line in the sand and walking away from the table. As a proud alumna, I offer my congratulations to the Notre Dame class of 2009, and gratitude to Father Jenkins and other University leaders for continuing to uphold and celebrate the principles they taught me so well.

Kathleen Dolan Seipel, ND ‘96
Wilmington, Delaware

What kind of university invites only speakers they agree with? The president of Notre Dame has my support concerning the invitation of President Obama. I’m now wondering what other speakers you’ve had.

William L. Foster

I watched with interest the protests over President Obama’s invitation to speak on campus. Judaism holds fundamentally different positions concerning the status of a fetus and abortion from those maintained by the Catholic Church and so I was in disagreement with the protesters over the specific issues which stirred them .

However, 40 years ago I was one of the students protesting (the Vietnam War) and, had Richard Nixon been the invited speaker then, I would have been among the demonstrators opposing his presence on campus.

Divergence of opinion and the ability to express dissatisfaction in a peaceful manner is a hallmark of a great university, and both the administration and those students who acted upon their convictions are to be applauded. I remain proud to be an alumnus.

Rabbi Richard Libowitz ’70
Merion Station, Pennsylvania

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