Star Parker

In a letter to the 2009 graduating class of Notre Dame, Father John Jenkins, the university's president, explains why he is "proud" to have President Barack Obama speak and be honored at his university.

Let's put aside momentarily the appropriateness of a Catholic university honoring a man who aggressively supports legal abortion, including partial birth abortion, and has supported a procedure that permits the destruction of a living child after birth.

Someone who says that the question regarding the rights of the unborn is "above my pay grade."

And consider that Father Jenkins says that, aside from honoring the nation's president, the university must be "a crossroads through which pass people of many different perspectives, backgrounds, faiths, and cultures." In other words, it must entertain diversity of opinion.

I maintain an active speaking tour at universities across this country. Over the years, I have spoken at over 180 universities of all kinds. And one thing I can report is that American universities are uniformly liberal.

The faculties are liberal and the student bodies are liberal. Diversity and dialogue at American universities means inviting a conservative to speak.

When Barack Obama speaks at an American university, he does not provide a different perspective. He preaches to the liberal choir. And I am afraid that most of today's Catholic universities are no exception.

Last year Students for Human Life invited me to speak at their Catholic school, the University of St Thomas in St Paul, Minn. The group's request for permission for me to speak on campus was rejected. When pressed for an explanation, university staff said they were unhappy with a talk that Ann Coulter had given the year before.

But earlier in the year, this same Catholic university hosted liberal Al Franken and a transgender activist named Debra Davis.

Barack Obama's strongest support is among voters ages 18-29. He beat John McCain by 34 points in this group, 66 percent to 32 percent.

Father Jenkins' argument that Obama brings a different perspective to the Notre Dame student body is dubious. Far more likely, the majority of the audience voted for him.

Catholic views on abortion and the appropriateness of Obama speaking at Notre Dame correlate with whether we are talking about committed church going Catholics or not.

Some 24 percent of Catholics who attend church regularly say abortion is morally acceptable and 37 percent of them support Obama speaking at Notre Dame. But 52 percent of Catholics who do not attend church regularly say abortion is morally acceptable and 56 percent of them support Notre Dame's invitation to Obama.

Catholics most likely to not attend church weekly are youth. According to Gallup, 70 percent of 21-29 year olds don't.

Contrary to providing diversity of opinion, by inviting Barack Obama, Father Jenkins really just played to his audience. True leadership would have been to invite a speaker who would inspire this young audience to take seriously the values of their Catholic tradition.

I received a call the other day from a woman distraught that her son was accepted at Harvard. How could this be you ask?

After he was accepted, she took a closer look at the school and came across a story in the school paper, the Harvard Crimson, about the "fifth annual Female Orgasm Seminar."

After looking over the details, she concluded that this is not where she wanted her son. But if not Harvard, where? Where can a parent send their son or daughter to get educated and not be indoctrinated with liberal boilerplate?

Catholic universities were supposed to serve this purpose. But it's clear that they, too, have been swept into the liberal tsunami that has engulfed America.

Ironically, Father Jenkins states in his letter that Notre Dame's invitation to Obama is "not a political statement or an endorsement of policy." He then expresses admiration for the president's views on "expanding health care, alleviating poverty, and building peace through diplomacy."

Does Father Jenkins not even understand what a "political statement" is?

Unfortunately, Notre Dame's invitation to President Obama has only contributed to the moral ambiguity tearing at our nation's fabric.


Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.