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Bishop Daniel Jenky sparked a political controversy a week ago, with a sermon that seemed to equate President Barack Obama's policies on contraception coverage with the brutal attacks on religion imposed by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
That's how the leaders of the Jewish community, cable news talkers and others saw the comments. The parishioners there see it differently.
"I don't think he was calling anyone Hitler or Stalin. He just said, 'This is how these things begin,' " insisted parishioner George Henderson, as he emerged from the Cathedral Sunday after morning Mass. "They're violating the First Amendment when they say you're obliged to follow something you believe is intrinsically evil."
When the Obama administration set to press the healthcare policies earlier this year it did not set good with the Catholic community and opened a can of worms over the contraception debate and religion. So maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that the latest front in that conflict is here, in a city whose very name is a metaphor for Middle America.
Is what Peoria's Mayor had to say......
The explaination hasn't stopped Americans United for Separation of Church and State from filing a formal complaint, asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the diocese and claiming that the sermon was poltical at its core. As the group's executive director, Barry Lynn explained: "No rational person could believe the bishop was doing anything but saying vote against Obama."
And now members of the Notre Dame faculty have drawn up a petition asking for the resignation of Bishop Jenky from the University's Board of Fellows if he is unwilling to "renounce loudly and publicly' this destructive analogy."
The letter, addressed to the University President and the Chair of Board of Trustees is below:
Dear Father Jenkins and Mr Notebaert,
As you will be aware, the Most Reverend Daniel Jenky, a member of Notre Dame’s Board of Fellows, has been widely quoted for a homily in which he described President Obama as “seem[ing] intent on following a similar path” to Hitler and Stalin. Bishop Jenky’s comments demonstrate ignorance of history, insensitivity to victims of genocide, and absence of judgment. We accept that Bishop Jenky’s comments are protected by the First Amendment, but we find it profoundly offensive that a member of our beloved university’s highest authority, the Board of Fellows, should compare the President’s actions with those whose genocidal policies murdered tens of millions of people, including the specific targeting of Catholics, Jews, and other minorities for their faith. We request that you issue a statement on behalf of the University that will definitively distance Notre Dame from Bishop Jenky's incendiary statement. Further, we feel that it would be in the best interest of Notre Dame if Bishop Jenky resigned from the University's Board of Fellows if he is unwilling to renounce loudly and publicly this destructive analogy.
Katrina Barron, Mathematics
Laura Bayard, Library
Patricia Blanchette, Philosophy
Kevin Burke, IEI
Joseph Buttigieg, English
Robert Coleman, Art, Art History, and Design
Suzanne M. Coshow, Management
Mary Rose D’Angelo, Theology
Margaret Doody, English
Julia Douthwaite, Romance Languages and Literature
Kevin Dreyer, Film, Television, and Theater
John Duffy, English
Stephen M Fallon, Program of Liberal Studies & English
Carolina Arroyo, Political Science
Barbara J. Fick, Law School
Christopher Fox, English & Irish Studies
Stephen Fredman, English
Laura Fuderer, Library
Agustin Fuentes, Anthropology
Patrick Gaffney, Anthropology
Jill Godmilow, Film, Television, and Theater
Daniel Graff, History
Stuart Greene, English
David Hachen, Sociology
Richard Herbst, Law School
Peter Holland, Film, Television, and Theater
Raúl Jara, Institute for Latino Studies
Felicia Johnson-O’Brien, Center for Social Concerns
Janet A. Kourany, Philosophy
Sean T. O’Brien, Irish Studies
Julia Marvin, Program of Liberal Studies
Maria McKenna, Africana Studies
Mark McKenna, Law School
Sarah McKibben, Irish Studies
Dianne Pinderhughes, Africana Studies & Political Science
Ann Marie R. Power, Sociology
F. Clark Power, Program of Liberal Studies & IEI
Ava Preacher, College of Arts and Letters
David Ruccio, Economics
Valerie Sayers, English
Kristen Shrader-Frechette, Philosophy & Biological Sciences
Anne Simons, Psychology
John Sitter, English
Cheri Smith, Library
Donald Sniegowski, Emeritus-English
Laura Walls, English
Robert E. Walls, American Studies & Anthropology
Andrew Weigert, Sociology
Richard Williams, Sociology
Should he resign?
WHAT SAY YOU?
No, and why can't the church keep their exemptions and express their views. We subsidize Media Matters and boy are they ever political. We subsidize NPR and they espouse their views all the time. It is time for churches to speak directly to their congregations. I bet Rev Wright's church kept their exemptions even though he said God damn America.
Bravo, Gloria! You are right! Maybe it is time for a letter-writing campaign to Bishop Jenky to encourage him. ('Cept we don't have an address.) Who cares what the politically correct folk at Notre Dame say?
They're not Catholic anymore, are they...sarcasm intended. They covered the symbol of Christ when Obama came to lie. They need to be shut down or the whole staff fired. They better not get one dime of my church contributions.
ROY, I AGREE 100% WITH YOU. I WISH I COULD MAKE CERTAIN NONE OF MY MONEY WENT THERE TOO
Obama should resign not Bishop Jenkins
You may recall that it was many of these same folks who call for the Bishop to resign who also supported the awarding of an homorary degree to Barack Heussein Obama from Notre Dame.
And let's not forget that they covered a religious statue when Obama was there so as not to offend......offend?
I'll second that motion.
Thank God for those among us who have common sense.
The Bishop couldn't have been more correct in drawing the analogy.
Those who cannot see what is happening (and more importantly the logical conclusion these actions lead to) are denying the lessons that history teaches. I find it ironic that those signing the document are offended by the analogy that actions similar to those now being forced upon society under the guise of law, have in the past led to dictators, despots and genocide...yet they take no offense at being required to financially support actions taken against helpless innocence that are the moral equivalent.They also claim to recognize the First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech while simultaneously demanding the University's heirarchy eleminate such rights to the Bishop.
Taking a que from the letter, perhaps the University would be best served if those signing the document were to resign their respective posts.
There is absolutely no reason pastors,prechers etc. cannot speak their minds about the political arena. A pastor is allowed to pass out literature stating what each candidate stands for, he/she is not allowed to tell the parishioners who to vote for.
Now! Now! I guess we are to remember that only "The Reverend Al Sharpton, The Rev Jesse Jackson, the Rev Jeremiah Wright and thier ilk are the only "pastors" permitted to speak politically while initiating demonstrations and civil unrest in expressing thier first amendment rights.