Monday, May 18, 2009

Obama and the Non-Fighting Irish

No one will bridge the passionate gap on abortion, but Barack Obama, as he has on other issues, spoke yesterday for those whose position can embrace doubts in their own beliefs and respect for those who disagree.

Amid boycotts and protests at Notre Dame, the President used differences on abortion, as he did about race during his campaign speech after the Jeremiah Wright uproar, to move the debate toward "common ground" and shared humanity.

"In this world of competing claims about what is right and what is true," he told graduates, "have confidence in the values with which you’ve been raised and educated. Be unafraid to speak your mind when those values are at stake. Hold firm to your faith...

"But remember too that the ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt. It is the belief in things not seen. It is beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us, and those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own.

"This doubt should not push us away from our faith. But it should humble us. It should temper our passions, and cause us to be wary of self-righteousness."

A striking impression of the protest was its relative civility, with many arguing against awarding the President an honorary degree but not against inviting him to speak at the graduation ceremony.

For those of passionate faith and those with none at all, that mood change in America may be the real meaning of what happened yesterday.

1 comment:

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

For me, the issue is NOT just about faith, NOR abortion, NOR gay gay rights, NOR stem cell research, NOR contraception, NOR any of these.

It is when denominations try to change secular law and force their doctrines upon a general populace. It is about the imposition of one religious authority over all persons, over me and members of my family, over non-believers. This is not only offensive, it is downright oppressive.

And it really gets my shackles up.