USA Today Religion Blog Skews Pro-Obama in Notre Dame Debate

April 2nd, 2009 3:05 PM

More than 230,000 people have signed the online petition at calling on the South Bend, Ind., Catholic university to rescind its commencement invitation to NARAL Pro-Choice America-endorsed, Freedom of Choice Act-supporting President Barack Obama.

But that fact is left out of yesterday's "Faith & Reason" blog at

Instead, religion reporter Cathy Lynn Grossman goes out of her way to skew the controversy in Obama's favor, quoting Catholic clerics Bishop Robert Lynch and retired San Francisco archbishop John A. Quinn, who are chagrined with what they consider the angry tone of the Notre Dame protest.

Yet before going there, Grossman started off by tacitly comparing abortion and the death penalty as bearing equal moral weight in Catholic teaching:

They [pro-life activists] want Notre Dame to make an exception to its tradition of inviting the newly-elected president to be the commencement speaker. George W. Bush spoke in 2001 although his stance in favor of the death penalty conflicted with Catholic Church teachings.

Of course, the Catholic Church consideres abortion to be an "intrinsic evil" and biblical and extrabiblical resources such as the first century Didache point to that. While capital punishment is frowned upon, it is not considered evil of the state to execute duly-convicted murderers. From the online Catholic Encyclopedia:

The infliction of capital punishment is not contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church, and the power of the State to visit upon culprits the penalty of death derives much authority from revelation and from the writings of theologians. The advisability of exercising that power is, of course, an affair to be determined upon other and various considerations.

Grossman closed her April 1 blog post with this rhetorical question:

Do you think Catholic voters, who gave Obama in 2008 more votes than they gave George W. Bush in 2004, knew exactly what they were getting in Obama's views on life, which were spelled out in his campaign?