Hypocrisy in South Bend

There is no other way to describe the whining going on by those opposed to Barack Obama speaking at Notre Dame University’s commencement exercises this weekend.

He is the president of the US and any university should be proud to have him.

Protesters seem upset that Obama backs abortion rights and stem cell research contrary to Catholic Church teaching.

Hmm … Did the right complain when George W. Bush spoke at Notre Dame? He was hardly in step with Catholic Church teaching when he started a war in Iraq, condoned torture and backed the death penalty.


About fsnowflack
Fred Snowflack was editorial page editor and a political columnist for the Daily Record of Morristown for almost 12 years. He has won numerous awards for editorial and column writing from the New Jersey Press Association and has written a blog on county and state politics for the last three years. He lives in Ledgewood in Morris County.

12 Responses to Hypocrisy in South Bend

  1. Ed Ramirez says:


    He could give a speech because he is the President but to give him a Honorary Degree is wrong. David Duke would not be called on to speak at Howard University, nor would they grant him a honorary degree, because his beliefs are in direct opposition to those of the folks at Howard.

  2. Dan Grant says:

    Ed instead of using Howard University and getting into the whole black white thing why don’t you just compare Presidents. David Duke never accomplished anything worthy of an honorary degree. President Obama is one of 44 men over the 235 years of history in this country that have achieved that position. I think that ought to qualify as an accomplishment. As far as regular degrees do you know if Notre Dame requires a loyalty oath by all of their graduates in regard to Catholic Teaching because I would think that you might find some disagreement on the part of the student body about things like birth control, the death penalty, the war in Iraq and war in general and even a woman’s right to choose. Should those degrees also be withheld?

  3. Rick Ege says:

    May wars have been fought, none of which the Church has approved of and church leaders have been oppossed to the Iraq war since it started. To use this as an exam, is anti catholic. Some students may in their own ways not follow all of the teachings of the church, that is between them and God. President Obama’s closely held beliefs are contray to Catholic teaching and as such should not be their speaker. How many other Presidents have not been at the college, so why invite someone who is completeing in disagreement to its basic teaching on life.

  4. Ed Ramirez says:

    Hey Dan How are you getting on, hope all is well

    Catholics find the issue of abortion as despicable as the racist that Duke represents. If it is acceptable for a president that supports abortion at will and supports late term abortions to speak at a catholic college than it should not matter if a racist speaks at a predominantly African American College. After all it is free speech. The truth is that it would matter to Howard University and it should mater to Norte Dame.

  5. Dan Grant says:

    I am as fine as this ecconomy will let me be and I hope things are well with you.
    I can understand the strongly held position of many Catholics, however we live in a Country that doesn’t run by the dictates of any religion. He is the President and the administration of Notre Dame can give him an honorary degree without endorsing all of his beliefs as he can speak there without endorsing all the tenents of the Catholic Church. I would love to see who else has gotten honorary degrees from them. If alumni of Notre Dame are upset then they can withhold their contributions. Honorary degrees are just that and when President Obama goes looking for work, after his two terms, I don’t think it will matter much on his resume.

  6. P says:

    Ed, Obama is the 43rd man to hold the office of President of the United States, not the 44th.

    As far as Catholics protesting his receipt of an honorary degree from Notre Dame, I think they have a valid point given Obama’s position on the issue. He makes it worse by trying to pretend that he hasn’t supported complete and unfettered rights to abortions. Notre Dame’s actions give Obama license to continue as he has with the imprimatur of a major Catholic institution.

  7. P says:

    Correction – Dan, not Ed.

  8. Ed Ramirez says:


    Obama is 44, GW Bush 43, Bill Clinton 42 and GHW Bush is 41 unless you are counting Grover Cleveland once as he holds the 22nd and 24th positions

  9. P says:

    The quote was “one of 44 men over the 235 years of history in this country that have achieved that position.” Although we’ve had 44 presidents, only 43 men have occupied the job. I stand by my original statement.

  10. Ed Ramirez says:

    Our historians have called Grover Cleveland our 22 president and our 24th president so the error is an easy one to make, unless you are a real history buff. Technically you are correct by why you would make such a big deal about is puzzling. Dan is a smart guy and he would not take away form your correctness.

  11. Dan Grant says:

    Mia culpa, I guess I was so used to hearing about Bush 41 and Bush 43 although I did just President Obama get a jersey with the number 44 on it.
    In any event I watched the speech and thought the President was great. I also have respect for those who protested outside. What gets lost is exactly what the President talked about. For most people the issue of Choice or pro-life are deeply held and honest personal convictions not just political punch lines. Lowering the decibel level is worth the effort.

  12. Ed Ramirez says:

    Dan you would be wrong about that new Poll

    May 15, 2009
    More Americans “Pro-Life” Than “Pro-Choice” for First TimeAlso, fewer think abortion should be legal “under any circumstances”by Lydia Saad
    PRINCETON, NJ — A new Gallup Poll, conducted May 7-10, finds 51% of Americans calling themselves “pro-life” on the issue of abortion and 42% “pro-choice.” This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking this question in 1995.

    The new results, obtained from Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey, represent a significant shift from a year ago, when 50% were pro-choice and 44% pro-life. Prior to now, the highest percentage identifying as pro-life was 46%, in both August 2001 and May 2002.

    The May 2009 survey documents comparable changes in public views about the legality of abortion. In answer to a question providing three options for the extent to which abortion should be legal, about as many Americans now say the procedure should be illegal in all circumstances (23%) as say it should be legal under any circumstances (22%). This contrasts with the last four years, when Gallup found a strong tilt of public attitudes in favor of unrestricted abortion.

    Gallup also found public preferences for the extreme views on abortion about even — as they are today — in 2005 and 2002, as well as during much of the first decade of polling on this question from 1975 to 1985. Still, the dominant position on this question remains the middle option, as it has continuously since 1975: 53% currently say abortion should be legal only under certain circumstances.

    When the views of this middle group are probed further — asking these respondents whether they believe abortion should be legal in most or only a few circumstances — Gallup finds the following breakdown in opinion.

    Americans’ recent shift toward the pro-life position is confirmed in two other surveys. The same three abortion questions asked on the Gallup Values and Beliefs survey were included in Gallup Poll Daily tracking from May 12-13, with nearly identical results, including a 50% to 43% pro-life versus pro-choice split on the self-identification question.

    Additionally, a recent national survey by the Pew Research Center recorded an eight percentage-point decline since last August in those saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases, from 54% to 46%. The percentage saying abortion should be legal in only a few or no cases increased from 41% to 44% over the same period. As a result, support for the two broad positions is now about even, sharply different from most polling on this question since 1995, when the majority has typically favored legality.

    Republicans Move to the Right

    The source of the shift in abortion views is clear in the Gallup Values and Beliefs survey. The percentage of Republicans (including independents who lean Republican) calling themselves “pro-life” rose by 10 points over the past year, from 60% to 70%, while there has been essentially no change in the views of Democrats and Democratic leaners.

    Similarly, by ideology, all of the increase in pro-life sentiment is seen among self-identified conservatives and moderates; the abortion views of political liberals have not changed.

    “Pro-Life” Up Among Catholics and Protestants

    One of the more prominent news stories touching on the abortion issue in recent months involves President Barack Obama’s commencement speech and the bestowal of an honorary doctorate degree on him at the University of Notre Dame — a Roman Catholic institution — on Sunday. The invitation has drawn criticism from conservative Catholics and the church hierarchy because of Obama’s policies in favor of legalizing and funding abortion, and the controversy might have been expected to strengthen the pro-life leanings of rank-and-file Catholics.

    Nevertheless, the swelling of the pro-life position since last year is seen across Christian religious affiliations, including an eight-point gain among Protestants and a seven-point gain among Catholics.

    Gender Agreement

    A year ago, Gallup found more women calling themselves pro-choice than pro-life, by 50% to 43%, while men were more closely divided: 49% pro-choice, 46% pro-life. Now, because of heightened pro-life sentiment among both groups, women as well as men are more likely to be pro-life.

    Men and women have been evenly divided on the issue in previous years; however, this is the first time in nine years of Gallup Values surveys that significantly more men and women are pro-life than pro-choice.

    Bottom Line

    With the first pro-choice president in eight years already making changes to the nation’s policies on funding abortion overseas, expressing his support for the Freedom of Choice Act, and moving toward rescinding federal job protections for medical workers who refuse to participate in abortion procedures, Americans — and, in particular, Republicans — seem to be taking a step back from the pro-choice position. However, the retreat is evident among political moderates as well as conservatives.

    It is possible that, through his abortion policies, Obama has pushed the public’s understanding of what it means to be “pro-choice” slightly to the left, politically. While Democrats may support that, as they generally support everything Obama is doing as president, it may be driving others in the opposite direction.

    Survey Methods

    Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,015 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted May 7-10, 2009. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

    Gallup Poll Daily results are based on telephone interviews with 971 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted May 12-13, 2009, as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

    Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

    In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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