Chuck Donovan and Teresa Donovan
Family Research Council
President Obama will be making his much-anticipated address at Notre Dame this weekend. As graduates of the University of Notre Dame (1974 and 1986), we look forward to hearing what he has to say. We hope, however, that the President, who has taken listening tours overseas, will be open to hearing from members of the Notre Dame community, like us, who strive to speak for a particular group of voiceless Americans.
Besides the two of us, four additional siblings, three brothers and a sister, also graduated from Notre Dame. As a close-knit family that shares the Catholic faith and deep personal values, we've talked about the Obama invitation and, to a man and woman, we regret that it was tendered to a politician whose agenda on life issues is diametrically opposed to those values and the faith that informs them. The bestowing of an honorary doctorate on the President aggravates the disappointment, as the university clearly could have foregone this recognition even as it continued its tradition of hosting American presidents at commencement exercises.
University officials rightly point out that Notre Dame is not a partisan institution. It is also true that the election of President Obama represents, both symbolically and substantively, a step forward and away from the history of racial bias that has long divided this nation. If the President speaks to Notre Dame students, as we hope he will, about the role Catholics played in the civil rights movement alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, he will both echo a profound theme of engagement that Notre Dame embraces and encourage others who, in our day, carry on the struggle. Such encouragement is especially needed among those who labor for the civil rights of unborn children.
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