Sunday, May 17, 2009

President Obama and Notre Dame

President Obama is a class act. I just watched his Commencement speech given to the Class of 2009 at Notre Dame. He handled the divisive issues of abortion and stem cell research with dignity and grace. He did not run away from the issue as so many other's might have done. I am sure most of you saw the speech and, if not, will be able to find it on You Tube, CNN or other news media. As I write this I do not know where it will be covered on the Internet, but I am very sure it will not be hard to find.

Emotions run high on both subjects and it is hard to remain calm when passions are so inflamed. It doesn't matter which side you are on, you must admit that it is probably one of the most divisive issues of our time. Given the margin for error the Polls indicate the country is split right down the middle between pro-choice and pro-life. To tackle this subject at a Catholic University would take more courage than I have. I will oversimplify the essence of Obama's point, but my understanding of what he said was that we must find common ground and build from there. We must find the things we agree on and build a consensus.

I am pro-choice because I do not think that a religious belief has any place in formulating laws. Not even a strong advocate for the pro-choice camp think abortion is a good thing. Planned Parenthood lives up to it's name by counseling on how to avoid pregnancy in the first place. If there were no unwanted pregnancies there would be no abortions. That,to me, is one thing everyone should agree on. And adoption should be made easier if an unwanted pregnancy should occur. I think that's another common ground to build on.

To me stem cell research should be a no-brainer. If you truly think life is sacred you should place the life of a diabetic child who is already born against a clump of stem cells that will be destroyed anyhow. If the research from using those cells can save lives, make
well the people who suffer from dibilitating diseases, or further our understanding of disease I cannot fathom the resistance to using them.

Everyone has the freedom to live their religious beliefs; I just don't want them to force their beliefs on those of us who disagree beacuse I do not believe the church is infallible. History is rife with strongly held religious beliefs that have been proven wrong. The Earth is not flat.

The Founding Fathers in their wisdom tried to make sure that there would be a separation of Church and State. I am strongly in favor of making sure that clause is adhered to.

I hope that cool heads will prevail and that we can close the divide that separates us. We can disagree without being disagreeable.


Rain said...

I agree with what you said totally. The problem with the pro life crowd is that they say it's murder to abort at conception, 3 months, at 6 months, at 8 months but they don't want to charge women who have abortions with murder. That was the issue they ran up against before. they didn't like it but they didn't want to penalize someone who had an abortion with criminal charges and put them in prison or even take their life. You mean it's murder or you don't. The other thing is they don't care much what happens to that baby once it's born. They are against programs for indigent mothers, health care for those babies without insurance, and even against the public schools that would educate the children. It's pure hypocrisy and the politicians milk it for all they are worth.

Joy Des Jardins said...

I watched Obama's speech too....class act all the way. I totally agree with you Darlene. Hugs, Joy

Darlene said...

* Rain - And I agree with you. Hypocrisy is pervasive in everything political. Unfortunately, religion is also sometimes political.

* Joy - Thank you for your support.

20th Century Woman said...

I am completely with you on the abortion controversy. And I think you are right, that Obama's emphasis on areas of common ground, and civility, is the hope of the future, though it is sometimes difficult to get there. I wrote a post right before the election in which I hoped that a friend and I, who have disagreed in the past in anger, could get to a point where we could talk quietly about some contentious political issues. She got really mad at me, and said I was unbelievably condescending. We have not mentioned politics since. It makes me sad.

Kay Dennison said...

What Rain said. And not all Catholics are pro-life (God! How I hate that term!), Darlene. I attended a seminar on this by a canon lawyer a while back and I have since read his writing on this issue. It was interesting and it validated what I'd been thinking for a long time. The friend who attended with me agreed.
I haven't written about it on my blog because I don't need grief from the rabid nut jobs on either side of the fence.

Nancy said...


I admired President Obama's courage at Notre Dame on Sunday.He was so sure of himself and his position on Abortion and Stem cell Research.He made his opinions known with style and grace and I was very proud of him.

I was also proud of the students and faculty at Notre Dame who gave the President a rousing reception in the face of controversy. Out of the thousands of graduates and family members who were present, I saw only four people who tried to disrupt the ceremonies and were escorted out of the auditorium.

I agree with Kay when she said she dislikes the term "Pro Life". I dislike it, too, and prefer to call it what it really is: "ANTI CHOICE."

Darlene said...

* 20th Century Woman - Yes, it is sad when politics interferes with a friendship. I had a similar experience and we never mention politics now. We are good friends, but it does put a damper on conversation.

* Kay and Nancy - I hate the term also because the implication is that others are against life, which is not the case at all.

* Nancy - Yes, the student body and parents that drowned out the hecklers were wonderful and I should have praised them in this piece. Notre Dame University is also to be praised for the way a difficult situation was handled.

Looking to the Stars said...

I agree with you 100% espically seperation of church and state.
You go, girl :)

Joared said...

Pres. Obama does have a way with words, and I thoroughly enjoy his sense of humor -- especially during these difficult times in which he and our country finds itself.

A lot of good points here about some of the more controversial topics the previous Administration exploited, in some instances as deliberately divisive issues.

Betty said...

I couldn't have said it better, myself. Thanks.

Darlene said...

* Looking to the Stars - Thanks for the encouragement.

* Joared - You are absolutely right. The same guys are continuing to exploit divisive issues whenever they can.

* Betty - Wow! Thank you.

Vagabonde said...

What you and Rain wrote on the subject is exactly the way I feel, I could not say it better. I can’t stand all those hypocrites who say they value life and then won’t vote to help women get contraceptives from Plant Parenthood or help raise the unwanted kids. I say, every one who is against abortion should pay a tax to poor women who have to have the kids since there are fewer abortions clinics (and for political reasons and financial reasons med schools don’t give as many classes to med students on how to perform them). See if that would not change their attitude – bunch of hypocrites. I respect people’s religious convictions – but they should not force theirs on the rest of the country.

Granny Annie said...

I too am pro-choice and pro stem cell research and pro religious freedom unless you twist your religion to justify cutting off my head. The zealots of every religion put us at risk.