Tuli Can't Stop Talking

These are just my thoughts on contemporary issues and an attempt to open up a dialogue.

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A citizen who cares deeply about the United States Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

They Write Letters!

The whole Notre Dame controversy about the President is in actuality a non-controversy controversy. But that is just my humble opinion. So, that said, here are the published letters to the editor this morning.

April 19, 2009


Notre Dame and the Obama Invitation

To the Editor:

Re “Degrees of Acceptance at Notre Dame,” by Richard V. Allen (Op-Ed, April 12):

Mr. Allen argues that President Obama should not be awarded an honorary degree by Notre Dame because of his support for abortion rights. He reasons that because Catholic doctrine opposes abortion, according Mr. Obama this honor would be an implicit and hypocritical endorsement of anti-Catholic policy positions.

But Mr. Allen’s reasoning is highly suspect. He and his alma mater clearly had no such moral qualms awarding an honorary degree to George W. Bush, whose positions on pre-emptive war and the death penalty are now infamous. Catholic doctrine opposes these entities no less vociferously than it does abortion, yet Mr. Bush was apparently allowed to receive his degree without a similar protest.

As a Catholic Democrat, I supported Mr. Obama because I believed that the sum of his policy positions — ending war, fighting poverty and working for social justice — were aligned with my own values. Mr. Allen is entitled to his own opinion of Mr. Obama, and Notre Dame is free to give accolades to whomever it deems fit. But Mr. Allen would do well to apply some intellectual consistency to his arguments instead of knee-jerk, politically motivated emotionality.

Roger Shih
San Antonio, April 12, 2009

To the Editor:

Many American Catholics recognize that the debate over President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame is not primarily about abortion. It is about the proper place of debate and dissent within the Catholic Church.

The church hierarchy has worked for almost three decades to turn American Catholics into single-issue voters on abortion, and in the process, to reassert ecclesiastical authority over the Catholic community.

Of course, if opposition to abortion is the only nonnegotiable issue for Catholics, then the Republican Party becomes the only moral choice for Catholic voters. Together with a majority of Americans, millions of Catholic voters have rejected this simplistic perspective on the challenges facing our country.

The ethical dilemmas at the heart of the abortion debate are complex. The same is true for capital punishment, war and the myriad economic and social policies that carry life and death consequences. Notre Dame is precisely the place where these difficult conversations should be welcomed.

Liesl Haas
San Jose, Cost Rica, April 12, 2009

The writer is a member of the Notre Dame class of 1990.

To the Editor:

Reflecting on the University of Notre Dame’s decision to invite President Obama to speak at commencement and to award him an honorary degree, Richard V. Allen contends that the university should not award the president an honorary degree since his stance on abortion contradicts the Catholic Church’s views.

Yet surely Mr. Allen realizes that at that same commencement, degrees will be awarded to hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of graduating students whose views on abortion and other issues, like gay rights, are not in accord with those of the university and the Catholic Church.

Awarding a degree — whether earned as a student or given as an honorarium — should not have to be predicated on total agreement with the church or the university. Congratulations to Notre Dame for this decision; I hope that it will not be rescinded.

Joan Cichalski
Little Silver, N.J., April 13, 2009

To the Editor:

In noting that Notre Dame University awarded an honorary degree to Ronald Reagan, Richard V. Allen completely undermines his contention that Barack Obama should not receive a similar honor. President Reagan was not in sync with several of the church’s strongly held positions: opposing the death penalty, the importance of helping the poor and advancing the basic rights of workers.

It would be a huge mistake for Notre Dame, or any Catholic school, to restrict itself to awarding honorary degrees only to those who agree with the church’s position on one issue, whatever that issue may be. My wife, my daughter and I all hold degrees from Notre Dame, and unless it is to be a “university” in name only, it must certainly have the freedom to honor a president with whom there is some disagreement, whether it is Ronald Reagan or Barack Obama.

John M. O’Connor
Montclair, N.J., April 12, 2009

To the Editor:

Next the traditionalists will want to vet the orthodoxy of Notre Dame’s quarterbacks. Well, maybe not if we’re 11 to zip and U.S.C. is coming to town.

George Oser
Houston, April 13, 2009

The writer is a member of the Notre Dame class of 1958.

So exactly how many abortions did President Obama personally approve as opposed to the number of executions that President Bush approved and endorsed (152)?

Just asking!


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