Sunday, April 19, 2009

Notre Dame, Obama, the Roman Catholic Church, USC, and abortion

President Obama has been invited to speak at Notre Dame at their commencement. He will be receiving an honorary degree. That's great. Very nice. Presidents speak at commencements all the time, and receive honorary degrees all the time. Perfectly normal.

Except that Obama supports a woman's right to choose an abortion, which conflicts with the doctrine of the Catholic Church. That's a bummer for some right-wing Catholics, who have stated their opposition. Unfortunately for them, 97% of the graduating class of seniors support giving Obama an honorary degree. Of course, the fact that George W. Bush supports the death penalty, which also conflicts with Catholic doctrine, didn't stop the university from inviting him and giving him an honorary degree.

My favorite part of the debate came in one of the letters to the editor in the NY Times. The letters were in response to an Op-Ed piece by Richard Allen (Reagan's National Security Advisor), who opposes giving the degree to Obama. Notre Dame gave a degree to Reagan when he spoke. Most of the letters disagreed with Allen, for the same reason I just listed. Then there was this letter, from a member of the Notre Dame class of 1958:
Next the traditionalists will want to vet the orthodoxy of Notre Dame’s quarterbacks. Well, maybe not if we’re 11 to zip and U.S.C. is coming to town.
Damn right! Orthodoxy would be out the window in a heartbeat if Notre Dame were playing like the pathetic losers they have been for the past couple of years and one of the best teams in college football were on their way (the USC-Notre Dame rivalry is one of the great rivalries in the country, because they are two of the only large private schools in the country. Neither is a state school, which is unusual for schools of their size. USC plays Notre Dame every season). Notre Dame hates losing to USC. There's a little bit of the Midwest-Southern California rivalry thing going on, too.

So I managed to get Obama, abortion, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, the NY Times, and USC football into one blog post! It's a good day.

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