Those urging the University of Notre Dame to rescind President Barack Obama’s invitation to speak at graduation have very short memories (CR, March 26). Then President George W. Bush spoke on the very same campus in 2001. He was ostensibly pro-life, but it is an undeniable fact that during his six years as chief executive of the state of Texas he presided over 152 executions, more than any other governor in the recent history of the United States. The Catholic Church is vehemently opposed to capital punishment, except in the gravest of circumstances.
President Obama may be wrong on the issue of abortion, but there is no evidence that he has ever procured one. Many of those who are currently protesting Obama’s invitation said nary a word when Bush spoke at the South Bend campus.
From a Catholic perspective, there is no doubt that President Obama’s refusal to protect the unborn is morally wrong; however, this should not disqualify him from speaking at one of our nation’s most prominent Catholic institutions. Jesus not only tolerated but also sought out the company of Samaritans, prostitutes and tax collectors. He regularly engaged those who were at odds with his moral precepts. His purpose in doing so was not to condone their actions but, by example, to convince them to reform their lives. True evangelists engage and transform the world. Let President Obama speak.