By now, most people have heard the story surrounding President Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame and the controversy surrounding it. Some of the student body, led by a few politicians, are protesting the invitation by the university and Obama’s acceptance. They argue that Obama’s pro-choice stance is a violation of Catholic values. They firmly stand by their belief that their predominantly Catholic university should not honor anyone at commencement who contradicts Christian morals and ethics.
I have no problem with someone protesting his speech because of a singular mission they have against abortion. I understand this…I couldn’t support President Bush, because I have a similar mission against ignorant self-righteousness and dishonesty. My problem is when these protesters choose to ignore ALL THE OTHER Christian values when honoring speakers. Pope John Paul II formally condemned the war in Iraq, yet Notre Dame had Pres. Bush and Condoleeza Rice speak. Where was the outrage then by these same demonstrators?
There are two possibilities here. Either these people are merely making a political statement, while couching it in religious justification or they have so limited their view, that they’re blind to the other blatant violations of Christian morals by our country and leaders on both sides of the aisle (yes…even those on their side). Last time I checked greed, lying, torture, bigotry, and war (especially pre-emptive war) are all incongruent with Christ’s teachings.
I really don’t mind religious values, and I understand the need to speak out about them when standing up for something or someone. But I refuse to further accept religious hypocrisy and blind denial.
Catholics (and Christians in general)…YOU CAN’T PICK AND CHOOSE WHICH PARTS YOU’RE GOING TO LIVE BY. I remember listening to a local TV reporter asking people their opinions on the street after 9/11. One woman said, “Well…you know what the Bible says, ‘an eye for an eye’”. Yes…go on…did you finish reading that sentence in the Bible? Let me help. It says, “You have heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” Earlier this year another woman called into NPR and tried to argue with the anti-war guest by stating that Jesus never actually condemns war. Seriously? She refused to concede the point, since Jesus never actually said the word “war.” That’s some pretty thin, and indefensible, logic. It’s pretty hard to go to war when you love your enemy, do good to those who hate you, and refuse to lift the sword for fear you’ll die by it. I know people like these don’t represent all Christians, but it sure seems they represent a growing number of them.
It’s funny that most think separation of church and state saves the state from religious corruption. Well, I’m tired of seeing religion corrupted by politics.
If you want to protest Obama for his failure to abide by Christian values, fine. But you better start being consistent and speaking out about all of the transgressions…not just the ones that are convenient to you at the time or that get the most press. Where’s your praise for his stand against torture? Or his belief that we must hold to our highest principles, even when it’s difficult for us to do so? Or his belief that the wealthy must do their part to help the poor?
We’re supposed to put the word, the WHOLE WORD, first in our hearts and our lives; that means before our nation, our party, and our president. There’s no American flag waving over heaven, and its mascot is neither a donkey or an elephant.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith…Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”