In May of 2009, President Barack Obama was invited to Notre Dame to deliver the commencement address to that year’s graduates. My brother Brian and I drove for three hours to participate in a protest against the school’s misguided invitation.
Several hundred like-minded protesters congregated in an area on the campus quite a distance from the actual graduation location. Several speakers echoed the thoughts of many when they lamented the fact that Notre Dame had gone from a bastion of solid Catholic teaching to a bulwark of modern progressive thinking. Even though President Obama was a strong proponent of abortion rights and the homosexual lifestyle, the leadership of Notre Dame chose Barabbas over Christ in an obvious attempt to convince liberal America that the school was not going to be handcuffed by outdated religious dogmas.
Now we fast-forward to the Notre Dame graduation ceremony of 2017. This time the commencement speaker was Vice-President Mike Pence. Pence is an unapologetic supporter of the rights of the unborn and traditional marriage. Somehow, Notre Dame got it right this time.
But a few of this year’s graduates were upset with the choice of Pence. To show their displeasure, they urged graduates to “politely” stand up when Pence began to speak and walk out of the ceremony. Approximately one hundred students did, out of nearly four-thousand graduates.
Why were they upset? Walkout organizers summarized their concerns:
During his time as governor of the state of Indiana and now as Vice-President, Pence has targeted the civil rights protections of members of LBGT+ community, rejected the Syrian refugee resettlement program, supported an unconstitutional ban on religious minorities and fought against sanctuary cities . . . All of these policies have marginalized our vulnerable sisters and brothers for religion, skin color, or sexual orientation.
Let’s break this down. The first part is the accusation that Mr. Pence wants to destroy the civil rights of LBGT+. This is based on the fact that Pence signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The purpose of the act was to protect people from the state forcing them to provided services contrary to sincerely held religious beliefs, such as forcing a faithful Catholic photographer to work at a gay marriage. Well, we already know that many religious people have been fined or imprisoned because they chose not to offer such services. Some have even given up their businesses rather than violate their consciences.
I wonder if the ND protesters know that the federal RFRA, upon which Indiana’s law was based, was introduced by Democrat Representative Charles Schumer in the House and by Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy in the Senate on the same day in 1993 and that the bill was signed into law by President Clinton? Would the students have walked out of graduation if Clinton had been the speaker this year? I doubt it.
And let’s be perfectly clear about the LBGT+ crowd. Lesbianism, Bi-sexualism, homosexuality, and transgenderism are all sinful activities condemned by the Church. If the protesters really cared about such people, they would worry about their souls and try to turn them away from such harmful lifestyles instead of applauding what they do.
As for Syrian refugees, the United States is under no moral obligation to take in any group of people, particularly if there is evidence that a group probably contains people who want to kill Americans. So the students care nothing about the souls of their classmates but deeply care about strangers who might hurt innocent Americans.
The so-called ban on religious minorities is another specious argument. Regardless of what some activist judges think, such a law is constitutional. The statute that gives the President of the United States the power to prohibit any group from entering the country is unambiguous. When this issue comes before the Supreme Court, these protesters will have something else to whine about.
And now to sanctuary cities. I wonder how these students would react to a city that would declare itself a “sanctuary city for the unborn”? Regardless of Roe v. Wade, no abortions would be allowed in such a city. My guess is that the protesters would be furious. “But it’s the law!” they would scream. Exactly. And immigration laws are determined by Congress and enforced by the Executive Branch. Cities don’t get to choose which federal laws they will enforce.
Finally, these students weep for their “vulnerable” brothers and sisters. Christians are told to reject the tenets of their faith, but apparently the Christian faith doesn’t count. “Skin color,” I can only assume, refers to immigrants. And if many of those immigrants come here illegally, choose not to assimilate, place a huge burden on taxpayers, and commit serious crimes? Well, Americans should just smile and let everybody in. And as for sexual orientation, how is it that, as a group, homosexuals have greater incomes than most Americans? How’s that for being “vulnerable”?
The bottom line is that the students who walked out of graduation did prove one thing: The $200,000 their parents spent in order for them to get a Catholic education at Notre Dame was money thrown down a rathole. Buying a yacht would have been a better investment–and far less embarrassing than their snot-nosed, naive offspring.