WEDNESDAY, 29 APRIL 2009

It’s one thing to defend Notre Dame’s decision

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It’s another to do so with sophomoric arguments.

Like this, from someone who ought to know better.

Former President’s Council on Bioethics member and Harvard Law Professor, Mary Ann Glendon, has told the University of Notre Dame to take the honor it wished to bestow upon her and kindly have it back. Why? Evidently, she doesn’t think that President Obama shares the same notions of social justice as the she and the Roman Catholic Church…

Now, it would appear she is breaking Catholic hearts around the world by telling one of their most beloved universities that Laetare Medal, which was to be awarded to her at commencement, isn’t going to be hers simply because President Obama is going to be awarded an honorary degree as well at the same ceremony. Appalled that such a man would be gracing the same stage as she, Glendon will have no part of it.

This is not a serious argument. It’s a snarky personal attack on Glendon.

In what way does President Obama differ from Roman Catholics on principles of justice? Do you mean social justice? In that he supports giving access to healthcare for all Americans? Or perhaps ensuring that all people, regardless of the color of their skin, can go to quality public or private schools?

(Actually, he doesn’t believe in school vouchers, which would enable families to make that choice. But never mind the facts…)

Aside from the admonition from American bishops that “not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” [sic]–which can only mean one thing really in Obama’s case–being pro-choice, I am struggling to see what other core principles President Obama, a Christian and deeply religious man, fundamentally is in defiance of in Roman Catholicism.

On what is the assertion that Obama is a deeply religious man based?

I’m befuddled as the University of Notre Dame leaders are. I can find no sense in this argument at all.

Which one? Glendon’s, or the bishops’? Or…the one here on the AMA’s ethics journal blog?


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Sheila Reports promises a perspective here that you may not be getting in mainstream media and the politically charged blogosphere. Don’t expect political correctness, because politics doesn’t determine what’s correct. This space is grounded in the natural law and moral order. And it expects civility, goodwill and an openness to truth and reason.


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