Like 42 other Catholic schools, hospitals, and churches that filed suit today against the Obama administration today, Notre Dame does not qualify for the Obamacare mandate’s narrow religious exemption.
Way back in May of 2009, when President Obama was still selling himself to the nation as a post-partisan healer-in-chief, he was awarded an honorary degree and delivered the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame. The decision by the most famous Catholic university in America to honor a staunchly pro-abortion president was met with some protest. Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon declined to receive an award from Notre Dame and share the stage with Obama that day. She noted that the U.S. Catholic bishops had formally declared in 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.” The university responded by saying that bringing Obama to campus was a “good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”
Obama seemed to relish the controversy. It was an opportunity to speak to a bloc of swing voters (Catholics) in one of the reddest states that swung to Obama in 2008 (Indiana) about how we can work together despite out differences (the kind of rhetoric that launched his political stardom at the 2004 Democratic National Convention). “We must find a way to live together as one human family,” Obama said to the 2009 graduates. He told the story of an anti-abortion doctor who had voted for him in the 2004 Illinois Senate primary but was upset that Obama’s campaign website characterized abortion opponents as “right-wing ideologues who want to take away a woman’s right to choose.”