Many conservatives -- especially those at National Review Online's "The Corner" -- are praising Glendon for her "leadership." This isn't leadership but the opposite: it's burying one's head in the sand. Here we have yet another example of religious conservatives opting out of engagement with the larger political culture, even that within their own church.
Even if you view President Obama's stance on abortion -- which this is about -- as wrong, or even appalling, wouldn't you want to take this opportunity to address the president directly -- or as the old saying goes, "Speak truth to power?"
Notre Dame has not, after all, invited the head of Planned Parenthood, or a doctor who performs abortions, or even a pro-abortion activist, which the language of Glendon's letter suggests.
Rather it has invited the president. Of the United States. For whom many Catholics and non-Catholics alike voted. Glendon's words suggest that Obama may be president but he is not HER President, or the Catholics' president -- a highly divisive and anti-democratic sentiment.
Glendon should have accepted the award graciously, and seized this rare chance to articulate her principles directly to Obama. As the university rightly points out: it is a "good thing" to advance your causes with political leaders.
And it's exactly the point I've made all along. I have the greatest respect for Ms. Glendon and for her principles, I wish she'd just take the time to share them with a President and inspire graduates as they leave the biggest Catholic University in the country.
I get Glendon's point that she believe the University's invitation is a slap to the Bishops (I would argue that allowing him to speak is not, but perhaps the honorary degree may be), but it's happening anyway. There are so many people who have dismissed the Catholic voice in our country and I fear that she's just made it easier for them to do so.