Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Notre Dame Becoming an Evangelistic College?

Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition to dis-invite President Obama from speaking at Notre Dame's May 17 commencement. Four years ago, warmonger-in-chief George Bush spoke at the same event. After the speech, he was warmly applauded. Apparently, torture, preemptive war, the death penalty and lying to the citizens is held in high regard at the university.

The dust up over Obama's pending speech centers, naturally, around stem cells and the Constitutional guarantee of a woman's right to choose. And, lest we forget, gay marriage. Sounds familiar, almost as if one were at Huntington College, that bastion of Fundamentalism, a few miles south.

One has to wonder if Notre Dame is gradually moving so far right, so linked to the Papal See, that it no longer offers its students a well-rounded, broad look at the ideas and events of a multi-cultural, pluralistic society. Perhaps those signing this petition want the golden dome to become a seminary and a bastion of Medieval Studies, rather than an institution which prepares its students to be able to think and act responsibly in this diverse and complex world.

It was ironic that one of the harshest critics of the impending Obama visit was Ralph McInerny, a professor of medieval studies and philosophy, who said, 'by inviting Obama, Notre Dame is thumbing its nose at the Catholic church and "forfeited its right to call itself a Catholic university."' Apparently Dr. McInerny has spent way-too much time pouring over those ancient manuscripts and far-too little time walking the streets.

Once again the hot topics of abortion, gay marriage and stem cells trump the vast agenda of the church's social justice mission. As always, many Catholics are bamboozled by the right-wing into paying close attention to these evangelical red herrings rather than to those people whom Mother Theresa called, the poorest of the poor.  Jesus's people.

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