Obama’s Catholic Values

Notre Dame’s valedictorian (Brennan Bollman) approves:

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.”…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.”

Interestingly, the article mentions in passing that she is “pro-life”. It looks like Bollman and her peers are using a much broader understanding of life than we tend to hear about “pro-lifers” espousing– one apparently broad enough that concern for already born people is making them support someone who doesn’t share their position on abortion. (Thanks, Jender-Parents!)

4 thoughts on “Obama’s Catholic Values

  1. From today’s nytimes.com:

    In a speech at Notre Dame, President Obama defended his support for abortion rights but called for more “open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words” in the debate.

  2. In 2007, the AP famously reported:

    “Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn’t a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.”

    I don’t see how anyone can claim that Obama cares about “advancing human life” when he takes the concept of genocide so lightly.

  3. Bollman took Medical Ethics in the Fall of 2007 (a good friend and fellow ND grad student was her TA). I didn’t hear anything about Bollman in particular, and I don’t know how my friend runs her TA sections. But TAs for that class often put a lot of pressure on students to think beyond the simplistic pro-/anti- dichotomy. That was also a common theme in the debates around campus (both official and unofficial) leading up to the presidential election last fall: McCain proponents argued that abortion was tantamount to genocide and slavery, and hence an anti-abortion Catholic could not vote for a pro-choice candidate, while Obama proponents argued that abortion was a complex issue on which reasonable people could disagree, and that the best way to actually reduce the number of abortions was to support and improve the social welfare safety net.

    All together, I wasn’t particularly surprised when she articulated this point of view, although I did think it was better than the stereotypical valedictory.

  4. From Obama’s speech:

    ‘That’s when we begin to say, “Maybe we won’t agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both moral and spiritual dimensions.

    So let’s work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term. Let’s honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women.” ‘

    What a concept. Thank you, President Obama. We are counting on you.

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