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Allow Obama to speak

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, March 24, 2009

As one who decidedly did not support Barack Obama in the 2008 election and does not support the vast majority of his policies today, I will admit that when I found out that my alma mater had invited the president to speak at my son’s graduation this May, I wasn’t exactly elated. In fact, I was a bit stunned, given Obama’s radically pro-choice agenda.

Due to the uniqueness of its mission, Notre Dame will always be striving to strike a balance between the moral values it espouses and the academic freedom that is the hallmark of great universities. So long as Mr. Obama does not use his speech to advocate his pro-life policies, how does this differ from similar invitations extended to George W. Bush or his father, both of whom supported the death penalty, which also stands in contrast to the pro-life position? To the class of 1988 graduate who suggested “that if the administration does not want to suffer the embarrasment of pictures of dismembered children lining Notre Dame Ave. on what should be the happiest day of our newest graduates’ lives, they withdraw this invitation immediately” (“Obama choice unacceptable,” March 23) – maybe that person ought to give a little thought to the graduates, whom the commencement ceremony is being held to honor. Before anyone angered by this choice chooses to turn graduation into a circus, they might want to think about that. If we can’t trust our graduating students to have a strong enough moral compass not to be swayed by a president who doesn’t even speak about his pro-choice views from the podium, what strength of character have we, their parents, instilled in them?

I didn’t vote for the Barack Obama. I don’t often agree with him. I vehemently disagree with his position on life issues. He is, nonetheless, the president of the United States. I urge Fr. Jenkins to resist the pressure, out of respect for the Office of the U.S. Presidency, which transcends any given occupant.

Diane Dirkers Jones


class of 1984

March 23