I was at the Grotto on the Notre Dame campus Sunday afternoon when President Barack Obama received his honorary doctor of laws degree and gave his commencement speech.
At the same time, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life officiated an alternative service for those who couldn't bear to see such a prominent enabler of child murder lauded at a Catholic university.
Whoops, was "prominent enabler of child murder" the sort of "demonizing" Obama preached against in his homily?
I did indeed think at first it was a homily. While listening to Father Pavone with one ear, I listened to Obama with an earpiece in the other ear thanks to a friend who placed her cell phone by her television.
Obama kept fading in and out. I only caught:
Your generation must decide how to save God's creation. … We too often seek advantage over others. … Too many of us view life only through the lens of immediate self-interest. … The strong too often dominate the weak … admirable conviction about the sacredness of life … women who do carry their children to term [emphasis mine] … co-exist with … civility … to give future generations the same chance that you had … the Golden Rule – the call to treat one another as we wish to be treated. The call to love … realize the dream of civil rights for all of God's children … all children of God … the same love of family, the same fulfillment of a life well lived …
Wow, I thought, maybe Notre Dame President John Jenkins was right: Exalting Obama had indeed provided an opportunity to dialogue about abortion. They must have had one powerful conversation during the mile-long limo trip from the South Bend airport to the Joyce Center. Obama had been converted!
But later I filled in the gaps by reading the entire text of Obama's speech and was only reminded what a twisted and deceptive guy we have on our hands as president.
And audacious, but we knew that. Obama took the opportunity presented him on a Catholic podium to smooth over and promote his pro-death agenda, like omitting the word "embryonic" when explaining:
Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son's or daughter's hardships can be relieved.
How disingenuous to exclude what the moral fight is about. And how disingenuous to pose such a faulty premise, that to save one person's life we must kill another.
There were so many more examples.
But in the midst of wild word fraud, Obama made two profound and true statements.
The first was an insight into how Obama operates. This came as he retold a story from his book "The Audacity of Hope," about a doctor who called him out for shrill descriptions of pro-lifers on his Senate campaign website:
And I didn't change my underlying position, but I did tell my staff to change the words on my website.
This is Obama on life issues in a nutshell. He's pro-death to the core, but he wordsmiths to sound reasonable about it.
Obama's other statement gave the real bottom line:
Because no matter how much we may want to fudge it … the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable.
Obama was admitting, I think for the first time, that the pro-abortion and pro-life views are irrevocably and diametrically opposed. They're not fixable.
So the best Obama can do is call for pro-lifers to chill, to not "demonize." Why? As one pro-lifer e-mailed me:
Obama wants to turn down the vitriol in the debate, which is totally in the favor of abortion, claiming we need to be more civil to each other, i.e., we should stop demonizing the abortion. Which translates: Don't out me.
It's too late. The dust certainly hasn't settled on this weekend's Notre Dame debacle, so we don't know how it will ultimately impact the fight over abortion one way or the other.
But one thing is for sure: Obama has now been branded as radically pro-abortion. What pro-lifers have unsuccessfully attempted since 2004 when Obama ran for U.S. Senate, he and Notre Dame accomplished in a month.
And polls strangely show this is beginning to matter more and more to the American people.
Jill Stanek fought to stop "live-birth abortion" after witnessing one as a registered nurse at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill. In 2002, President Bush asked Jill to attend his signing of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. In January 2003, World Magazine named Jill one of the 30 most prominent pro-life leaders of the past 30 years. To learn more, visit Jill's blog, Pro-life Pulse.