Obama's homework before the Notre Dame test: Assignment I
In a public statement released after Mary Ann Glendon declined the Laetare Medal, the White House suggested that President Obama was disappointed because "the spirit of debate and healthy disagreement on important issues is part of what he loves about this country." Did Obama really intend to sit still on the stage and listen to a pro-life speech by Ambassador Glendon? Now we'll never know for sure.
However, if the President is truly interested in the debate, he could acquaint himself with the brilliant and inspiring speech delivered at Notre Dame last week by William McGurn, the former Bush speechwriter and current Wall Street Journal columnist.
McGurn explains clearly what it means for a Catholic university to bear witness on behalf of the culture of life:
We must concede there is no guarantee that the young men and women who come here to learn will assent to her witness – but we must never forget that the university will have failed them if they leave here without at least understanding it. That is what it means to be a witness.
He goes on to state the main question is bold, simple terms:
With the idea that one human being has the right to take the life of another merely because the other’s life is inconvenient, our culture elevates into law the primacy of the strong over the weak.
Next, McGurn denounces "an approach that for decades has treated abortion as one issue on a political scorecard. This is not the road to engagement. This is the route to incoherence." And today, he ruefully observes, "the incoherence of the Catholic witness in American public life is on view at the highest levels of our government."
The whole text of the McGurn speech rewards a careful reader.
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