It's not me fueling the fire, either. This baby is sprouting legs and crawling out of the primordial ooze.
I'm talking about President Obama speaking at Notre Dame's commencement. The Notre Dame student paper published an excellent editorial on the subject, and it also appeared in our local paper this morning. It's worth a read, if you'd like to see the students' side of it. The seniors who will be graduating are overwhelmingly in support of the President speaking at their commencement.
A group called the Cardinal Newman Society calls for greater orthodoxy on Catholic college campuses and has set up a website and started a petition. The group isn't affiliated with Notre Dame, and none of its seven employees are Notre Dame alumni, but they've gone after Rev. Jenkins in the past for his decision to allow a student production of "The Vagina Monologues," and his decision to allow the Notre Dame Queer Film Festival to take place. Rev. Jenkins wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal in 2008 and mentioned this group. He wrote, "The Newman Society has no ecclesiastical standing and no academic standing. For me, it resembles nothing more than a political action committee." I am really liking Father Jenkins—this guy kicks ass!--and I believe he's going to stand his ground on this one. There are a couple of other petitions circulating out there in support of his decision, and I was happy to sign them.
Oh, and that fine upstanding Christian, Newt Gingrich, even weighed in on it, on his Twitter page:
Hey Newt, let's ask your first wife how she feels about it. Remember her? The one who you visited while she was in the hospital recovering from surgery for uterine cancer, still coming out of anesthesia, and you tried to get her to sign off on your divorce demands? Yeah, that one. Not the second one, who you also divorced. I guess all is forgiven, though, because Newt is getting ready to convert to Catholicism.
There are voices of reason, too. Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit and senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University said, "The controversy over commencement speakers at Catholic universities pops up every spring along with the tulips," and called the brouhaha over the President giving the speech "absurd." He went on to say, "If Cardinal Edward Egan of New York can invite Obama to speak at the Al Smith dinner in October of 2008 when he was only a presidential candidate, then there is certainly nothing wrong with Notre Dame having the president speak at a commencement."
Unfortunately, there's a whole other level of crazy that has latched onto this like a tick onto a dog. Randall Terry has made his way to town. This is the guy who founded Operation Rescue, the anti-abortion group, back in the 80's. He spent some time in jail because he sent a fetus in a jar to then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton. I've got no problem with people using civil disobedience to forward their causes, but this guy is and always has been about hatred and intolerance. In 1993, he was quoted in the Fort Wayne, Indiana newspaper as saying this:
I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good.... Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism.
After his jail time and his divorce, he was ousted from Operation Rescue, and the new head of the organization released a statement saying, "...he has completely disqualified himself from any leadership position in the Christian community through his unwillingness to be held accountable for his adultery, theft, lies, deceptions, misrepresentations, perjury, failing to provide for his first wife and children, and evasion of church discipline." Terry was also censured by his church at the time, Landmark, for several reasons, one of which was "a pattern of repeated and sinful relationships and conversations with both single and married women."
In 2004, his adopted son Jamiel revealed that he was homosexual. Terry disowned him.
In 2005, he converted to Catholicism. I guess when one religion doesn't want you, you try another one.
"Hate is good."
This A-hole is not a good person. He is not a nice person. And he's camping out in my town. He has vowed to stay here, and is setting up a base of operations, until the invitation to the President is withdrawn or the President says he will not attend. Stand tall, Notre Dame, hang tough, Father Jenkins, and do not negotiate with terrorists. This creep is a terrorist and as far as I'm concerned, he can get the hell out of
Dodge South Bend.