I may offend almost everyone, except those who believe in open discourse and separation of private belief and public policy. I am a true believer in the last.
Notre Dame invited President Barak Obama to speak at its commencement and plan to give him an honorary degree. It is a Roman Catholic University and therein lies the problem for some folks. It is Catholic and I expect it to promote Catholic religious ideology, its ethics, morality, and theology. It is a University.
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education. The word university is derived from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium, roughly meaning "community of teachers and scholars"
In some countries, in some political systems, universities are controlled by political or religious authorities who forbid certain fields of study or impose certain other fields. Sometimes national or racial limitations exist in the students that can be admitted, the faculty and staff that can be employed, and the research that can be conducted.
It is Catholic.
The term Catholic Church is associated with the whole of the church that is led by the Roman Pontiff, currently Pope Benedict XVI, and whose over one billion adherents are about half of the estimated 2.1 billion Christians. Other Christian denominations also lay claim to the description catholic, including the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Churches possessing the historic episcopate (bishops), such as those in the Anglican communion, but in common usage the term refers to the Roman Catholic Church.
I believe that all abortions are immoral. I believe that they are immoral even if pregnancy occurs from rape and incest. I believe that it is immoral to kill the entity from zygote to adult.
A zygote (or zygocyte) (from Greek ζυγωτός zugōtos "joined" or "yoked", from ζυγοῦν zugoun "to join" or "to yoke") is a term in Developmental biology used to describe the first stage of a new unique organism when it consists of just a single cell. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the group of cells formed by the first few cell divisions, although this is properly referred to as a blastomere. A zygote is usually produced by a fertilization event between two haploid cells – an ovum from a female and a sperm cell from a male – which combine to form the single diploid cell. Thus the zygote contains (DNA) originating from both mother and father and this provides all the genetic information necessary to form a new individual.
That means that I am a radical anti abortionist, an extreme right to life advocate. I expect that even folk who basically agree with me may disagree with my non allowance of incest and rape as reasons for abortions. I am against abortion, capital punishment, and elective war. I am not a pacifist. I believe that self defense is not immoral; although I cannot say that it is moral. I do believe that use of force which may lead to someone’s death to prevent another’s death comes close, if not moral, to moral. Even so I would not rejoice. To paraphrase my religion, to kill one person is to kill a whole world. Now you know my bias.
I believe that a woman has the right, and men do in other circumstances, to choose in the matter of abortion. If she asked my opinion, you know the answer. I believe that the state does not have the right to kill, except in clear self defense when attacked. The state does not have the right to impose it’s power on private decisions. I believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The life part is problematic, I admit.
Other folk constantly make immoral decisions that the state does not in our system of statecraft have the right to curb. I believe that private decisions do not belong in public and political policy. Notre Dame has the right to give or withhold an honorary degree, but if they offer then withdraw it then that is another matter. I happen to believe that a university, any university, should foster a free exchange of ideas, especially those ideas unpopular at the moment. It should offer honorary degrees appropriate to the occupation or field of accomplishment of the recipient. Thus I would not expect the president to be given an honorary religious degree because of his stand on abortion; although an honorary legal degree or some other non religious degree would be appropriate.
I say this – call me bigot if you wish -, if Notre Dame withdraws the degree offer, and if the Catholic bishops keep their public outcry going I will carefully examine all Catholic politicians who want my vote.
I add this note about Arizona State University refusal to give President Obama an honorary degree, and their reason given for offering it. I read their list of recipients.
If the winning of the presidency and you are a black man in America is not reason enough in light of the achievements of some of the previous recipients is not enough, what is? If I was the president (I’m a black and a Jew) and was refused an honorary degree, I would cancel my commencement speech. President Obama seems a much nicer man than I am.
I react to insults.