Isn’t Honesty a Catholic Value?
The new anti-Obama petition site, NotreDameScandal.com has been cited in the news (and featured on FoxNews.com‘s homepage) as evidence of a Catholic uprising against Notre Dame for inviting President Obama to speak at commencement.
Leaving aside the persuasive arguments in support of the invitation, one can’t help but think that NotreDameScandal.com’s appeal to Notre Dame to “uphold the sacred mission” of their Catholic University would have more credibility if they hadn’t repeatedly misrepresented the president’s record.
The petition claims “this honor comes on the heels of some of the most anti-life actions of any American president, including expanding federal funding for abortions…” (emphasis added).
Well, no. As we’ve noted before, legislation (such as the Helms and Hyde amendments) currently block federal funding for abortion. Only Congress, not the President, can allow any funding, much less an increase.
But the distortions don’t stop there. On the left-hand column of the site there is a section called “Obama Anti-Life” record with “information” provided by the right-wing site LifeNews.com.
All four of the bullet points they list are deceptive in some way.
Let’s take a look:
Overturning of the Mexico City Policy, which had prohibited U.S. funds from being used to promote or provide abortions overseas
Yes, President Obama overturned the Mexico City Policy, but as we mentioned above, the Helms Amendment still prohibits funding for providing abortion overseas.
Working to overturn conscience protections for healthcare workers, forcing them to cooperate in abortion or risk losing their jobs
Several federal laws ensure that no one will be forced to cooperate in abortion.
Appointing pro-abortion Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who has close ties to late-term abortionist George Tiller, to head the Department of Health and Human Services
Dedicating federal funds to harvest embryonic stem cells for research at the expense of the most defenseless members of the human family
President Obama lifted the ban on federal funds for embryonic stem cell research, a move supported by the majority of the American people and many religious groups. Obama himself cannot “dictate” funding for ESC research, Congress needs to take up the question first. Federal law (the Dickey-Wicker Amendment) still prohibits federal funding for the creation of new stem cell lines. What President Obama has done is open up federal funding to existing lines created in private clinics after then-President Bush put in place the ban on federal funding. (These private clinics were never regulated by the Bush ban). Dickey-Wicker was recently renewed by Congress (see page 128).
University President Jenkins has said that the invitation is the “basis of engagement” with a pro-choice president, specifically because the Notre Dame community cares so much about life issues.
According to Jenkins,
“You cannot change the world if you shun the people you want to persuade, and if you cannot persuade them, show respect for them and listen to them.”
Sounds like a good adage to live by. NotreDameScandal.com’s insistence that the invitation equals an endorsement of all President Obama’s positions doesn’t ring true, especially since President Jenkins said the invitation “should in no way be taken as condoning or endorsing his positions on specific issues regarding the protection of life.” NotreDameScandal.com seems more interested in stifling dialogue and scoring points than on dealing with difficult issues in a constructive manner.