Sunday, May 17, 2009

Obama at Notre Dame




The full text of Obama's speech to the graduates of Notre Dame University is here

Obama's speech at Notre Dame - full text

There is no doubt this man is an orator and his speeches rouse great emotions and probably raise some goose-bumps on flesh. But on the issue of abortion, he simply does not "get it".

He speaks of finding "common ground" between those who are on both sides of the debate; he doesn't realise that there is no "common ground" for Catholics who are anti-abortion; we are anti-abortion, which means precisely that there is no "common ground". We cannot reconcile our beliefs with those who are pro-choice and find some kind of middle ground, where we can both be content. That is tantamount to saying you can be opposed to abortion, yet live with it in society. This is the very same argument that sounds completely ridiculous when stated as "if you don't agree with slavery, don't have one". We can all see through that statement, but somehow when it is reworded for abortion, it gets muddied.

I was struck by his use of the phrase "the strong too often dominate the weak" - this phrase is used frequently by pro-lifers when stating the pro-life position. I am surprised that he would use that loaded phrase in his speech, albeit with reference to justice in the world (he was not speaking of abortion in that paragraph). Pro-lifers will be taking that phrase to task over the next while, I am sure.

Obama gives an example of a pro-life doctor who wrote to him, saying that he might not be able to vote for him in the presidential election because he (Obama) was not speaking about the opposing view in "fair-minded words". Reducing the abortion controversy to simply a philosophy of using "fair-minded words" is making light of what is really at stake here. Pro-life people believe that lives are being taken, innocent lives are being taken. Using "fair-minded words" is not the solution to killing; is society only concerned with "fair-minded words" when meting out a sentence to the criminal who has killed other human beings? Surely the concern is in giving "fair justice", not "fair-minded words".

The pro-life stand will not be appeased by "fair-minded words". What we are asking for is justice for the unborn. And that goes far beyond mere words.

Obama has shown once again that he is a man of words; words that he uses to try and defuse issues, words that he uses to win over people, words that work up emotions in the listeners who then adulate the man even further. Where is the real substance? where is the real man behind these words? I fear that he uses words to take the focus off what is really going on. America is divided and divided deeply on the issue of the sanctity of life. No number of "fair minded words" are going to solve that divide. Only true justice for all human beings will do that.

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