Obama’s Notre Dame speech angers anti-abortionists

May 17th, 2009 - 11:59 pm ICT by John Le Fevre  

Rev. John Jenkins When US President Barrack Obama steps onto the podium at the University of Notre Dame later today to accept an honorary degree, the welcome he receives will be nothing like the cheering crowds that heralded his inauguration.

As America’s foremost Roman Catholic University the President’s stance on abortion and stem-cell research are certain to overshadow any other message he might deliver.

In delivering the commencement address at the Catholic institutions graduation ceremony the President is following a long tradition of many sitting US presidents.

However many of his critics say the prestigious university should never have invited him – tradition or not – while Michael Steele, head of the Republican Party, said on Sunday morning that Mr Obama should be denied the honorary degree.

On Saturday more than 100 protesters gathered at the university with 23 marching onto the campus before 19 were arrested for trespassing and four charged with resisting law enforcement.

Students opposed to abortion rights attended an all-night prayer vigil to protest Mr Obama’s visit, and 200 people prayed at a packed Alumni Hall Chapel.

On Sunday morning busloads of anti-abortion protesters with signs, displaying the message “Obama = Abortion” and others showing images of aborted fetuses, began converging on the university’s South Bend, Indiana location, with the intent of protesting the President’s policies.

More than 2,000 students are due to take part in the graduation ceremony today, though some have said they will boycott the proceedings to protest at the US President’s attendance.

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