Pro-Lifers Keep Up Protests Against Notre Dame's Obama Invite

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By Nathan Black, Christian Post Reporter
May 1, 2009|4:38 pm

Pro-lifers are pressing on relentlessly in their efforts to prevent President Obama from giving the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame.

On Friday, five pro-life activists pushed strollers carrying bloodied baby dolls with Obama bumper stickers during a Board of Trustees and Board of Fellows meeting at the South Bend, Ind., campus, according to a report by stopobamanotredame.com.

"If a man said he was going to kill your child, or pay to have it killed, would you politely ask him not to? These are real human beings that are aborted every day. Our strollers are intended to yell, 'PLEASE STOP,'" said notorious anti-abortion activist Randall Terry.

The University of Notre Dame drew fire when it announced the invitation of Obama to speak at the school's May 17 commencement. More than 40 Catholic bishops and pro-life leaders have sent letters to the Roman Catholic university's president, the Rev. John Jenkins, urging him to rescind the invitation, and more than 300,000 names have been added to the online petition notredamescandal.com.

Jenkins, however, has repeatedly defended the invite and made clear that it should not be taken as condoning or endorsing Obama's positions on issues related to human life.

Recent pro-abortion actions by Obama include lifting a ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and overturning a policy that banned U.S. taxpayer money from going to international groups that perform or promote abortions.

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Pro-lifers opposing the invitation as well as the university's decision to award Obama an honorary doctor of laws degree have been holding rallies, signing petitions and leading demonstrations over the past several weeks and plan to continue protesting in the weeks leading up to the commencement.

On May 4, two billboards criticizing the school are scheduled to be erected near the campus. The billboards, by the Pro-Life Action League, will read: "NOTRE DAME: Obama is pro abortion choice. How dare you honor him."

Eric Scheidler, the League's communications director, sees an opportunity in the controversy.

"As scandalous as the Obama invitation is, it presents us with a welcome opportunity to highlight Barack Obama's pro-abortion record - something which was largely concealed by the Obama campaign and the media during last year's campaign," Scheidler said in a statement. "Obama's extreme pro-abortion agenda is out of step with the majority of Americans, and that news is finally getting out, thanks to this controversy."

The president's views, however, do not appear to be out of step with Catholics, a recent poll indicates.

A poll by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that half of U.S. Catholics said it was right to invite Obama to speak at Notre Dame. Only 28 percent opposed the invitation. The study, however, found that Catholics who attend church weekly were more likely to say Notre Dame was wrong to have invited Obama (45 percent) compared to those who attend less often (23 percent).

According to other findings, 47 percent of Catholics believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases while 42 percent said it should be illegal. White evangelical Protestants were the only surveyed Christian group more likely to oppose abortion than support it.

In recent decisions, the University of Notre Dame will not be awarding its highest honor at commencement this year. Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard University law professor and anti-abortion scholar, was intended to receive the Laetare Medal but she turned down the award in opposition to the school honoring Obama.

 

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