Leaked Text of Obama’s Notre Dame Degree?

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President Barack Obama’s scheduled appearance at Notre Dame’s commencement on Sunday has caused a fuss, with antiabortion activists and students promising they will protest. One of those leading this effort, Randall Terry, a longtime, controversial, and extreme anti-abortion crusader, claims he’s obtained a leaked copy of the text of the honorary degree Obama will receive. In a press release he zapped out on Thursday morning, Terry said the text had been given to him by “someone connected with Notre Dame” whom he would not identify, and he published the purported text:

The University of Notre Dame Confers the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, on the 44th president of the United States, whose historic election opened a new era of hope in a country long divided by its history of slavery and racism. A community organizer who honed his advocacy for the poor, the marginalized and the worker in the streets of Chicago, he now organizes a larger community, bringing to the world stage a renewed American dedication to diplomacy and dialogue with all nations and religions committed to human rights and the global common good. Through his willingness to engage with those who disagree with him and encourage people of faith to bring their beliefs to the public debate, he is inspiring this nation to heal its divisions of religion, culture, race and politics in the audacious hope for a brighter tomorrow.

On Barack H. Obama, Washington, District of Columbia”

Remember when Sarah Palin mocked Obama’s days as a community organizer? Well, if this text is real, she’s certainly at odds with the poohbahs of this major Catholic university, who tie Obama’s past work for the poor to his current endeavors as president.

Of course, this text has outraged Terry. He says, “This degree reeks of the harlotry spirit shown by a teenage girl who is about to throw away her honor with a pervert. The fact that Obama promotes abortion around the world makes him the adversary—not the champion—of the ‘global common good.'”

He ought to be mad. With this explanation of Obama’s honorary degree, Notre Dame is giving much credit to Obama’s self-proclaimed effort to transcend the seemingly never-ending debates of the culture wars. For Terry and his comrades, that’s a heavy dose of salt for their wounds. The text—if accurate—is a tremendous endorsement of a liberal president who supports abortion rights and civil unions. It’s a big win in the culture wars for Obama.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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