Tag Archives: Notre Dame

President Obama and the abortion debate

obama-catholics_122149739607How will President Obama frame the abortion debate?  In giving the commencement address at Notre Dame he can’t avoid it.  Will he acknowledge what more and more Catholics already know — the GOP never delivered on their anti-abortion promises?

I think he will deliver a message that inspires us all to attack the problems behind abortion — poverty, birth control, education,  concentrating on measures that help reduce the numbers of unwanted pregnancies.  Even mentioning birth control will be controversial at a Catholic University, or will it?  Have most Catholics realized the conundrum of being against abortion and birth control?  I know the Church hasn’t, but have most of the Church’s followers?

I think he will point out our areas of agreement and will highlight that Americans agree on more than they disagree on.  He is more in tune with religious people on his stance about unjust war, harsh interrogations, social justice issues, the environment, protecting family wages, attacking the underlying causes of abortion.

A recent poll by Quinnipiac University found 56 percent of Americans think Notre Dame should not rescind its invitation to Obama – among Catholics the number was an even higher 60 percent.

This speech can’t ignore abortion, but also must be about the graduates.  Emphasis on abortion gives too much attention to the protesters who strive to be in the limelight.  They use horrible ways to attract attention to a debate that doesn’t change minds.  Those who concentrate on abortion are increasingly isolated as the debate has moved on to finding solutions.

Will this speech be another that history points to as a turning point?  During his time as a candidate he addressed some difficult issues such as race and made all of us think harder, inspired us to be better.  Will this be another history-making moment?



Filed under abortion, Religion

Empathy, the cooperative side of humanity

orangatangScientists think they’ve found the origins of human empathy in studying orang-utans.  They found that laughter is contagious and important for animals that live in groups. “Empathy helps one communicate with social partners … It helps form social bonds and it’s supportive in terms of cooperation.”

Another study examines our potential for violence and finds, “Contrary to popular belief, we are born violent. Until the age of three, our impulses run riot. There is no stopping the urges which come from the emotional centre in our brains.

But as we grow up, we start to develop the part of the brain that allows us to control our aggression – the pre-frontal cortex.

What causes some people to not control their tendency to be violent?  What allows others to remain passive, calm and peaceful?  What part does our culture and our experiences play?  We know laughter is contagious.  Is violence also?

When you read stories like those telling of the people gathering to protest at The University of Notre Dame tomorrow, you can’t ignore the mass hysteria, how much greater the threats of violence are because too often violence creates violence.  Does being a part of a group who are furious give permission to behave in ways we might find unacceptable as an individual?



Filed under Crimes, Evolution, hate groups, Obama, Uncategorized