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Notre Dame Valedictorian: Obama Practices Catholic Values

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Notre Dame Valedictorian: Obama Practices Catholic Values


First Posted: 05-16-09 01:00 PM   |   Updated: 05-16-09 05:41 PM

Brennanbollman

The media focus on the controversy surrounding President Obama's upcoming Notre Dame speech might give the impression that Obama is not welcome at the university. Class valedictorian Brennan Bollman, the woman who will be sharing the stage with the president on Sunday, says that couldn't be further from the truth.

"This issue has not divided the campus by any means," says the Catholic, pro-life biology major who will be attending Harvard Medical School after graduation.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Bollman stressed that her peers do not view the president's overall values as inconsistent with Catholicism. In fact, Bollman says Obama is practicing Catholic values in his administration. Like Jesus, Bollman says, Obama is trying to invite "everyone to the table."

Condemnation of Notre Dame's invitation has come from Catholic Church members as well as anti-abortion groups, who have pushed the message that Obama and his pro-choice policies are not welcome. These groups have drummed up a considerable amount of coverage despite their smaller numbers. On Friday, Alan Keyes, one of Obama's challengers in the 2004 Illinois Senate Race, was arrested (for the second time in one week) on campus during a protest with about forty anti-abortion activists. Photos of the arrest have made it on to national cable networks like MSNBC. (Disclosure: I went on MSNBC this morning to discuss the controversy.)

Some of the strongest words against the Notre Dame invitation came from Chicago's Cardinal Francis George, who accused Notre Dame of showing it "didn't understand what it means to be Catholic when they issued this invitation."

Bollman called Cardinal George's statement out of tune with Catholicism. "We know exactly what it is to be Catholic because we are inviting President Obama to speak to us." She said the University's President, Father Jenkins, had even sent a letter earlier in the week to all graduates affirming he's proud that campus dialogue had not "led to divisions."

Bollman stressed that even though the student body is overwhelmingly disconnected from the outside furor over Obama's visit, there is a healthy debate on campus. She explained that the debate is less about abortion and more about Obama's policies towards "advancing this human life" after it's born. Bollman, who voted for Obama, says she and many of her fellow students support the president because of the respect he has "given to human life through many of his policies." Bollman did point out one group, Notre Dame Response, that would be holding a peaceful demonstration during the commencement.

Abortion rights is an issue that the president has largely avoided in his young presidency. When asked about the Notre Dame controversy during his 100-day press conference in April, Obama said it was "moral and ethical issue," but one that was better decided by women than the government. Bollman brought up Obama's point during the press conference as a example of how he is not trying to be divisive when it comes to abortion, but rather he wants to look at the broader issue of unwanted pregnancy by bringing everyone to the table.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs revealed Friday that the president would acknowledge the controversy during his remarks at Notre Dame. "I think the president is somebody who has taught in a university setting, would understand that this is exactly the type of give and take that's had on college campuses all over the country," said Gibbs.

Bollam couldn't agree more. She said, "We're a Catholic university. We are supposed to -- by our nature -- engage all issues at their highest levels from people at all levels."

by on May. 16, 2009 at 5:49 PM
Replies (31-37):
athenax3
by on May. 18, 2009 at 7:37 AM

I thought overall, considering all the nonsense surrounding it, the whole thing went pretty well. A gaggle of protester was expected, they showed, they trespassed and violated some civil laws and were arrested, nothing new or shocking there, the president gave a speech that seemed considerate of where he was while still being true to his own views and points- all and all, a good day.

And I don't get honorary degrees either but it's apparently what they like to do- I am guessing they're just fancy pieces of paper saying "been there, done that" with no real meaning to them, just a souvenir if you will.


luvmygrndhg
by on May. 18, 2009 at 1:19 PM

Her new name should be Miss Self-deluded Brennan Bollman.  No matter how she tries to justify this travesty it's still wrong.

~*~Peace and blessings~*~
Merry74
by on May. 18, 2009 at 1:48 PM

You are much nicer than I...

Though I suppose if she's been educated  by the same nit-wits who invited Obama we shouldn't be surprised.

Quoting luvmygrndhg:

Her new name should be Miss Self-deluded Brennan Bollman.  No matter how she tries to justify this travesty it's still wrong.


PamR
by Pam on May. 18, 2009 at 2:10 PM

From what I saw, the president got a very enthusiastic welcome.  Those students who were opposed to his speaking seemed to have been far outnumbered by those who supported it.  The thing about Ms. Bollman is that she is able to look at the issue without demonizing the other side, something the president of the university also can apparently do.  And the president.  Listening to them speak, I was impressed with how they can approach this issue thoughtfully, which is pretty much the only way any progress can be made.

ColtsFan1912
by Bronze Member on May. 18, 2009 at 3:34 PM

LOL

 no no thats ok. Man thats all we heard about when we lived near South Bend. The world could of just starting going in reverse but all the news would talk about is the QB picked his nose lol

Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

My hubby is a ND football fan...  want to take him for the season?  PLEASE!!!!!!

Quoting ColtsFan1912:

Man I thought after moving away from South Bend I wouldn't have to hear about Notre Dame so much.

At least it isnt about Notre Dame football for once HA~!




"I am surrounded by  people who don't think like  i do. ..love is the protest" Jars of Clay

izzybear0217
by on May. 18, 2009 at 5:22 PM

You know what i find funny is Obama comes to the school to give a speech and its shame on ND but it was okay for them to let there UNDERAGE QB get busted drinking at a party and he gets away scot free

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lilyrose73
by on May. 18, 2009 at 5:26 PM


Quoting izzybear0217:

You know what i find funny is Obama comes to the school to give a speech and its shame on ND but it was okay for them to let there UNDERAGE QB get busted drinking at a party and he gets away scot free

Right.... because underage drinking and abortion are in the same categery LMAO.

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