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Keyes joins Terry’s efforts

Jenn Metz | Friday, April 17, 2009

Conservative political activist Alan Keyes joined anti-abortion activist Randall Terry on stage at the Hilton Garden Inn on Indiana 933 Thursday in what organizers called a “rally for life” and a “battle for the heart and soul of Notre Dame.”

Over 100 people were in attendance to listen to the two speak in effort to cancel President Barack Obama’s appearance as the principal speaker at the May 17 University Commencement exercises, as well as the conferring of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on the pro-choice politician.

Keyes, who will remain in town to participate in Terry’s planned rallies this weekend, is a former diplomat who has run three times for president and has been nominated three times for the United States Senate. A long-time advocate of pro-life politics, Keyes, as a Republican, lost in the 2004 race challenging Obama for a bid in the United States Senate representing Illinois.

Terry, anti-abortion activist and founder of Operation Rescue, has set up a temporary office in South Bend, and has committed himself to stopping the president from being honored at the University as part of what he called “the fight against child killing.”

“We are not here to entertain you,” Terry, who appeared with his wife and four young children, told the crowd during his introduction for Keyes. “We are here to recruit you.”

Keyes, who was received with a standing ovation from the crowd, identified himself as being in a unique position as a black American and a Roman Catholic.

“That the institution that still proposes to identify itself as a Catholic institution,” he said, and University President Fr. John Jenkins would choose to invite President Obama to be honored at the Commencement, plays into what he deemed “the key moral issue of our time.”

Keyes said conferring an honorary degree on Obama because he is the President of the United States is a violation of Catholic belief because he is “deeply […] committed to abortion.”

“The great and egregious error,” Keyes said, is the notion of honoring Obama as a symbol of black America.

“That’s a fraud, and it’s being perpetrated on historic grounds and on historic proportions,” he said.

Describing abortion as the “key moral issue of our time,” Keyes admonished Obama’s stance on the protection of life, claiming the only thing the two men have in common is the color of their skin.

The black community’s receptiveness of Obama as a leader “validates the ugly premise of racism,” he said, stating that as human beings, groups of people should not be identified by solely physical characteristics.