College Republicans’ response to the College Democrats’ Letter to the Editor

This week, the College Democrats published a Letter to the Editor accusing our club of promoting “racist, transphobic, and antisemitic rhetoric” in the 2022 midterm debate that took place on Wednesday, Nov. 2. They call for our debater’s remarks to be formally condemned by the University administration and to require our officer corps to face “comprehensive anti-bias training.” The allegations made by the authors of the letter are categorically false and defamatory. We call on the College Democrats to retract them and issue a formal apology immediately.

The College Democrats fail to provide any evidence for their charge of racism, while any rational person can judge for themselves the intellectual seriousness of the allegation that opposing the genital mutilation of children constitutes “hate speech.” And although the Democratic letter claims that our representative made antisemitic comments during the abortion segment of the debate, their accusations contradict the plain meaning of what was said that night. Their deliberate misinformation campaign is reprehensible, and we encourage anyone who wishes to hear the full debate to watch it on YouTube. At the thirty-eight minute mark, the Democratic representative, makes the following charge.

“[The Republicans are] trying to impose their own worldviews. The science is not clear on when life begins.”

Ultimately, what lies at the heart of the College Democrats’ argument is their defense of the indefensible: the grave evil of abortion. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion … Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law” (no. 2271). It further states that “the inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation” (no. 2273). Despite the Democratic representative’s claim to the contrary, we know — through both science and the exercise of reason — that life does begin at conception. The sanctity of unborn life cannot be left up to pluralistic interpretation.

Our representative made no claims about Judaism, even taking care to point out that he could not speak for the Jewish faith on the matter of abortion when he said, “I’m not making any kind of claim about Judaism.” Therefore, the College Democrats must promptly withdraw their libelous claim of antisemitism. Additionally, we ask that their officers receive adequate pastoral care to inform them of the Church’s teaching on the evil of abortion in light of their spiritually perilous position. Using the platform of Our Lady’s University to promote an industry which has claimed the lives of more than 63 million American children since Roe v. Wade is unacceptable and represents an attack on all pro-life students on this campus who are committed to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

We condemn moral relativism. We condemn the barbarism and depravity of the Culture of Death, which is predicated on the false notion that abortion is a necessary means to the attainment of human flourishing. We affirm the intrinsic value of every human life. Putting an end to abortion is, without question, bigger than politics. However, as partisan legislative attitudes with regard to abortion move increasingly further apart, we believe that our club and our party have no choice but to take a stand.

We, the Notre Dame College Republicans, will not be intimidated or harassed for holding true to orthodox Catholic doctrine. Our members — and the millions of Republican voters across the country — care deeply about safeguarding the sanctity of life in the face of direct attacks on the unborn by the Democratic Party. As the country’s leading Catholic university, Notre Dame has a duty to boldly witness to life. The administration can succumb to intimidation, or it can defend the truth.

In his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict XVI writes, “In Christ, charity in truth becomes the Face of his Person, a vocation for us to love our brothers and sisters in the truth of his plan. Indeed, he himself is the Truth.” The Catholic character of Notre Dame still matters. We take seriously the work of proclaiming the truth, even when our peers deny it. As the words of the First Epistle of Saint John the Apostle remind us, to love our neighbor genuinely requires us to share in the charity of God’s very nature:

“And we have known, and have believed the charity, which God hath to us. God is charity” (1 John 4:16).

PJ Butler
President of Notre Dame College Republicans
Mark Ballesteros

Vice President of Notre Dame College Republicans
Jose Rodriguez
Secretary of Notre Dame College Republicans
Merlot Fogarty
President of Notre Dame Right to Life
Nov. 16

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


University groups hold student engagement opportunities on Election Day

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, the midterm elections will be held for all 435 seats of the House of Representatives, 35 out of 100 U.S. Senate seats and thousands of local elections in each state. With many students voting for the first time, the midterm elections are an indication of where the nation will head towards. 

However, many students try to avoid political conversations — and those who don’t prefer to engage in political conversations with those from their political preference.

As NDVotes co-chair Grace Scartz wrote via email, “We have seen that ND students often shy away from conversations seen as political, or will only engage with people they know believe the same things as they do.” 

Additionally, Scartz said she believes students feel as though they cannot make a significant impact in the political world and are discouraged from engaging in politics altogether.

“Lots of students also feel that they cannot have an impact on politics and feel disaffected by the acrimonious political environment all around us,” Scartz said. 

Many clubs around campus will host events for students on Nov. 8 regarding the outcome of the midterm elections and to increase political engagement on students. 

NDVotes, in alliance with the Student Latino Association as part of the ‘Nuestro Voto” (our vote) campaign, will host a Pizza, Pop, and Politics in 1050 Nanovic Institute from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The meeting will host professor Ricardo Ramirez, director of the Hesburgh Program in Public Service, to discuss civic engagement from Latino voters in these midterms. 

The College Democrats will host a meeting in the Montgomery Auditorium at LaFortune at 7 p.m. to discuss any concerns regarding the midterm debate last week. The meeting will be an open forum among club members to discuss any concerns they had over last week’s debate, co-president Anne Guzman said.

“[O]ur club has taken actions to keep our community on campus safe,” Guzman said. “We created a full plan of action to make sure that what was said during this debate doesn’t go unaddressed because of how harmful it is to the campus community at large.” 

The College Republicans will host an Election Night Watch Party in 155 DeBartolo Hall at 7 p.m. The watch party is set to serve Chipotle catering and drinks to its guests, as they watch the results of the midterm elections.

“Tomorrow will mark the beginning of a new day for America,” president PJ Butler wrote in an email. “For two years, the Democratic party has done everything that they can to bleed this country dry. But the bleeding will finally stop when red prevails.”

Students whose permanent address is in St. Joseph County can vote in-person tomorrow. Voting locations can be found on the St. Joseph County website.

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