Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

Obama Is Blessed With Good Enemies

Watching the Notre Dame speech I was reminded: this man has been blessed with good enemies
Instead of people focusing almost entirely on the remarkable fact that the head of the US Catholic Bishops Conference opposed the invitation, the media instead focused much attention on Randall Terry, Alan Keyes and a bunch of hecklers.

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John S

posted May 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Mr. Waldman:
You are factually incorrect. Numerous media sources including Fox and AP focused on and reported that the Conference of Catholic Bishops opposed Notre Dame conferring to President Obama the honorary degree and allowing him to speak at commencement. The reports go back to March of this year. The news reports cited the Conference’s policy of 2004 prohibiting honoring leaders who have differing views from the Conference.
Please check your facts.
John S

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posted May 18, 2009 at 3:28 pm

I’ve been reading many accounts saying that are saying the majority of attendees to the ceremony approved of Obama’s nomination as speaker…so the coverage of these “hecklers” make it seem that the school as a whole was opposed.
This story gives the account of a student:

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posted May 19, 2009 at 4:06 am

John S., I think you have drawn a false conclusion.
If you have read even one of my occasional postings here, you know that I am firmly on the human-rights side of the culture wars.
And yet, I read the same serious, conservative media you do. Goodness, I even put up with the racists over on crunchycon.
All these media, without exception, are lamenting exactly the same thing Waldman is: Your side has ceded control of the debate to Obama.
And that, I think, is the point you are missing.
Yes, your side has some serious intellectuals. Yes, your side also has people whose motivations for circumscribing the basic human rights of homosexuals, transgendered and women are not only based upon hatred. These people, however, are not the ones driving your side of the debate in the public’s consciousness.
Times will change, they always do. For the moment, however, the knee-jerk “the Christian right are the good guys, the liberal Christian defeat-o-crats are nuts” paradigm has been replaced by “I’m about to lose my job because of the Republicans. If they’re for it, I’m against it.” And your side of the culture war is exclusively identified with the Republicans.
A few months ago, several human-rights advocates among the posters here at beliefnet made the comment: “Time is running out for your side. Either you will try to find a workable solution with us or we will use our majority to find one without you”.
The explosion was enormous. I can’t recall having been called the names I and the others were called since kindergarten…
The statement is just as true today as then, only – now that we will soon be appointing Supreme Court Justices, your time has nearly run out.
Unfortunate. I’d much prefer to see you grant our human rights out of compassion and Christian charity than be forced as your side was on racial equality.

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