April 1st, 2009
02:31 PM ET

Why Obama Is Losing a Faith

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/03/24/obama.bishop/art.notre.dame.afp.gi.jpg]

Michael Gerson
The Washington Post

Some friends who are loyal alumni of Notre Dame are distressed that God's alma mater is hosting a pro-choice president at commencement. For decades, they argue, Notre Dame has accommodated, legitimated and enabled pro-choice views, compromising its identity as a Catholic institution. They question the wisdom of the Obama invitation, which they believe adds to that confusion.

But some critics go further, calling President Obama's appearance "an outrage and a scandal." And that goes too far.

The office of the president has meaning and importance that transcend the views of its occupant. Though elected by a part of America, the president becomes a symbol of its whole. The respect we accord him does not imply agreement or endorsement. It reflects our appreciation for constitutional processes. So a presidential visit is always an honor. The televised arrival of Air Force One, the motorcade, the playing of "Hail to the Chief," the audience standing as the president enters - all these express a proper respect for democratic legitimacy.


Filed under: Faith • President Barack Obama • Religion
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    I'm pro-life, not Roman Catholic, and still have no use for the man or his policies because of his disregard for the most vulnerable in our society. No pro-life group or institution should support this man. When you disregard life, your title means nothing and you lose what little respect that title garners.

    April 1, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  2. Whitney Clark

    Well I am glad that someone had the right mind to say that a visit from the president is an honor. Since when did differing views suddenly make a presidential visit an "outrage and scandal." I mean really GET OVER YOURSELF. Ever heard of that little thing called separation of church and state?

    April 1, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  3. Kristen - University Park, PA

    If folks at Notre Dame wont accept President Obama at the commencement, Penn State sure will. I'm graduating in May and would consider it an honor.

    Its mind boggling to me how so called Christians can be so quick to shrug people off. That certainly does not represent God or the Love he stands for.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  4. Donald Stotts

    Absolutely. The office of president is to be honored, even if you have difficulty accepting the office holder. My alma mater once hosted Richard Nixon during the latter days of his presidency. He actually gave a pretty good speech at convocation too, better than most speakers manage to do. None of it changes what Nixon did regarding Watergate (or other things, for that matter). Our "nation's leader" speaking at graduation ceremonies does not mean a university sanctions and/or supports the president's every action or stance. Hopefully, it is more than a Photo Op with the focus of any speech on the soon-to-be graduates, but it is not an outrage or a scandal.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  5. Michael C. McHugh

    Many Catholic I know here in the Midwest think Obama is being too moderate and conciliatory, especially to Wall Street and the Republicans. By no means are Catholics the single-issue voters they are commonly portrayed to be–which is to say they don't always make abortion their first priority.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  6. Gilbert Martinez

    I am pro-life and am aware of how horrified future societies will look at the practice of abortions. I understand that we need to inform people about this horrible practice and praise those people brave enough to try and stop it by peaceful means. But the Catholic Church has had a terrible history of death and destruction. It’s more modern history is not any better. It seems ridiculously hypocritical to me to see members of this organization claim any moral grown on the issue of abortion, while ignoring so many other important issues. There are genocidal wars going on all over the World and the Church conducts Papal Visits. AIDS is ravaging whole nations and the Pope calls for the van on condoms. Communist China has all but exterminated more than one million Tibetans and the Church keeps silent on the subject.

    As it has done so many times in the past the Catholic Church is picking popular issues. It is being political instead of spiritual.

    April 1, 2009 at 3:05 pm |