At the White House’s celebration of Greek Independence Day Wednesday afternoon, President Obama got a little unexpected flattery from Archbishop Demetrios, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States
Listing a series of challenges Obama will need to deal with as president, Demetrios predicted: Demetrios to Obama: "Following the brilliant example of Alexander the Great...you will be able to cut the Gordian knot of these unresolved issues."
Obama responded by making a face to the crowd, prompting laughter. And when he took the mic, he speculated on what the compliment could do for him at home.
"I will tell Michelle I have been compared to Alexander the Great. I will see if that gets me a little more respect,” said Obama, who conceded: “She's still the boss."
While the Greeks in the US seem to have no problem hanging out with the president, the Romans are having difficulties. President Obama has accepted an invitation to speak at the commencement at Notre Dame later this spring and Catholics who actually care about their faith are up in arms. A coalition of student groups from the university have coordinated and put together a website: Notre Dame Response.
In defense of the unborn, we wish to express our deepest opposition to Reverend John I. Jenkins, CSC’s invitation of President Barack Obama to be the University of Notre Dame’s principle commencement speaker and the recipient of an honorary degree. Our objection is not a matter of political partisanship, but of President Obama’s hostility to the Catholic Church’s teachings on the sanctity of human life at its earliest stages. Further, the University’s decision runs counter to the policy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops against honoring pro-choice politicians. We cannot sit by idly while the University honors someone who believes that an entire class of human beings is undeserving of the most basic of all legal rights, the right to live.
Additionally, Fr. Jenkins has put some of his students into a position of moral dilemma as to whether they can attend their own graduation. Many pro-life seniors, along with their families, now feel personally conflicted about participating in the commencement. The lack of concern for these devoted sons and daughters of Notre Dame, who love this University and the Catholic principles on which it was built, is shameful.
And of course there is a petition from the Cardinal Newman Society here protesting the invitation. About 140,000 people have added their names so far, including myself.