Immorality has a way of justifying itself through consensus. If the greater majority doesn’t have a problem with something, somehow those who do are censured. Morality is presently being defined as being open to reasonable discussion, regardless of its impact on decency or culture.
In antiquity a similar dynamic existed. Thousands of years ago moral verdicts were swayed by the cry of the multitude. Imagine, the people who Jesus ministered to in healing, even those who claimed He was their Messiah were amongst the rabble demanding Pilate release Zealot Barabbas in place of the Christ. Somehow it seems unconscionable a notorious prisoner, thief and fiend would be preferred over a righteous, honest man…but he was!
Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. Barabbas, they answered. What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” Matthew 27: 21-23.
In that situation, it appeared as if consensus decided who lived and who died ultimately justifying the outcome. As the ancient crowd dispersed, even those within the throng whose conscience sensed the injustice of the choice, quelled their nagging unrest by reassuring themselves with mob accord. So it is today rejecting the honorable choice and choosing instead the popular Barabbas.
Notre Dame University invited President Barack Obama to be the commencement speaker at their 2009 graduation ceremony. Social consensus sanctioned their selection. Based on canonical teachings of the Roman Catholic Church this institution purports to support the sanctity of life and tenets, which adhere to upholding the preservation of life from conception until natural death. Yet, when given a choice between Barabbas and Jesus, the crowd of Catholic graduates,their captivated clergy and enamored administration chose one who supports the antithesis of Christian teaching, placing him in a seat of honor on a dais high and lifted up before a devoted horde determined to defend their own Barabbas.
Human beings by nature are proficient at finding a way to assuage the guilt of poor moral decisions. This was evident in the University President, Rev. John Jenkins’s introductory statements, elevating civil discussion and common ground as values that somehow take precedence over the condemnation of butchery. The right Reverend Jenkins extolled courtesy, respect and love but failed to explain how these values cancel out murder. He forfeited an opportunity to mention the finality of death and how it differs from disrespect in its opportunity to reverse past offenses. By choosing to credit the approbation of iniquity over the greatest of good, “Give us Barabbas” became Notre Dame’s graduation day anthem.
Barack Obama is the most radically, liberal abortion rights advocate to ever grace the political stage. Regardless, he was asked to address the graduating class and was slated to receive an honorary Notre Dame Law degree. A university under the auspices of a Church opposed to a law, which has cost the lives of untold millions of unborn children, presented a politician who promotes those unjust laws an honorary law degree. By placing a blood soaked stole around his neck Notre Dame issued the corporate cry, “Give us Barabbas!”
Reverend Jenkins lauded pro-abortionist Obama’s gallantry in an effort to remediate his reputation in the eyes of protesters, confused and disappointed Catholics and critics. Jenkins attempted to balance the scale that holds the remains of a fetus on one side with the weight of admirable characteristics on the other. Failing to recognize Obama’s unending attempt to sway opinion to the left, Jenkins assigned moral merit and bravery to Obama’s acceptance to come to Notre Dame and give the commencement speech saying, “Others might have avoided this venue for that reason. But President Obama is not someone who stops talking to those who differ with him.” Extending Obama this type of kudos chastened all whose conviction remains unmoved. Those who continue to believe murder-is-murder and can never be compromised, discussed or viewed as an option for people of “good will.” Father Jenkins’s homage to Obama echoed, “Give us Barabbas!”
When Jesus entered the temple and found the money changers there, did he sit, discuss, negotiate and acknowledge all viewpoints? Did he concede intrinsic good will and openness to discussion? Did Jesus discipline those who were opposed to the moneychangers as being close minded, non-inclusive and disrespectful of differing opinions? “And Jesus entered into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold the doves; and he said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer: but ye make it a den of robbers” (Matt 21:12-17).
Jesus recognized robbers for who they were and purged the premises promptly and harshly. If Jesus had stood on behalf of life in the midst of the festivities at Notre Dame, he would have been ushered out by security. Jesus protesting Obama’s three votes in 2001, 2002 and 2003 voting against giving medical treatment to infants that survive botched abortions would have warranted his arrest. If crucifixion was the payment for the crime, Barabbas would have gone free and Jesus would have gone straight to Golgotha. Based on the graduating classes’ shouts of support and their acceptance of renowned abortion advocate in the temple, it’s no wonder, “We’re ND” and “Yes we can!” sounded strangely like, “Give us Barabbas!”
Jenkins counterbalanced the support of massacre with the perceived power of national consensus, “Welcoming President Obama to Notre Dame, and we honor him for the qualities and accomplishments the American people admired in him when they elected him.” For moral relativists like Reverend Jenkins a litany of social achievements shields a pro-choice champion. Jenkins extolled Obama’s personal accomplishments and experiences attempting to neutralize the impact of murder in the ears of his hearers. For the reverend growing up without a father, being on food stamps and going to college voids the negativity of Obama’s support for inserting a knife in the base of a skull with the intention of ending the life of a partially born human being.
As the horde dispersed and Jesus was being scourged many of the ochlos who lobbied to free Barabbas were forced to substantiate his release. So too at Notre Dame denying the acquisition of wealth, community organizing, getting elected president and visiting a dying grandparent somehow evens the playing field when it comes to brutal butchery. Father Jenkins was able to disregard the wail of the innocents based on the historic election of the first African-American President. He mentioned concern for a country that has been deeply wounded by racial hatred but discounted the abortive genocide Obama supports against his own race. Standing high upon a mound of infant corpses, Father Jenkins could see the sun soaked stone portico in the distance, choosing between morality and Barabbas, his preference was most assuredly Barabbas.
Barack Obama had a lot to say in his own defense, and for him abortion rights are a deeply held belief that he holds with conviction, commitment and policy purpose, all of which he clings to with an obvious fervor. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” He even brazenly shared that he too like the protesters plans to continue to “…make his case to the public with passion and conviction,” with the dichotomy of an “Open heart, open mind and fair-minded words.”
It never really mattered what Barabbas said on his own behalf, the crowd was all that mattered and their choice determined the fate of morality or immorality. Obama’s words matter little, the allure of smooth words and captivating charm cannot disguise the heap of rotting corpses behind the backdrop of patriotic flags and pithy slogans. This isn’t about Barack it’s about the multitude whose choices drive the moral direction of a nation. It’s about the consensus that we cling to in hopes of subduing aching consciences. It’s the “choice” of whom we choose to serve and when given that choice whether or not we pick Barabbas.
The roar of the Notre Dame crowd was not students hollering approval for a man that stands for everything they purport to despise. It was the moan of the unborn and their weeping echoing forth from the grave for justice. As Barack Obama looked out over an admiring sea of graduates, did he see the faces in the crowd of those who never made it out of the womb much less to college graduation.
The Gospel of Matthew has a poignant thought to contemplate as a crowd of Christians look the other way offering approbation and acclamation by choosing Barabbas and disparaging Christ. “Let his blood be upon us and upon our children” (Matt 27:25). And so it will be, the blood of purity shall be upon the heads of those who relinquish an opportunity to publicly choose to stand against the murder of innocence preferring instead to offer up the unified chant, “Give us Barack-us.”
This I think Jeannie is your most powerful article yet! I was stunned when I saw the title, as my first thought as I watched the Notre Dame speech was of the crowd choosing Barabbas.
Jeannie….thank you. What else needs to be said. Thanks you. Might I add my thoughts about ND as well….no where as eloquent and theological as yours, but from my heart.
“Catholics and critics debate the lasting effect of President Obama’s 2009 commencement address and the university’s awarding of an honorary law degree.”
I for one think that there will be a really lasting effect. Oh yes, some action will have to be taken by the bishops to contain somehow this direct affront to their authority. Fr. Jenkins will have to either gracefully resign or be removed from his post as president of the university. Then will come the debate whether ND should continue as a Catholic university or continue as a secular school. These are the logical steps to be expected in the not so distant future.
But I think a lot more happened on Sunday at ND. I think Obama struck a chord or discord at the base of the Catholic Church in the USA. Obviously aside from the right side conservatives, his only opponent is the Roman Catholic Church. It would be to his advantage to split it so that there will be little future interference. Every executive order and appointment in the past 4 months have been directly in the face of the Catholic Church. He has a committee called The Catholic National Advisory Committee made up of most left leaning personalities. After a day of listening to various speakers and commentators, I came to the conclusion that something was brewing in the string of similar responses which reflected Obama’s points. The issue of abortion is not going to be resolved after almost 40 years of resistance. Therefore, a new strategy is put forward in its place. The 3 new plans were presented. Firstly, is to try to make abortions decrease without defining the issue of the intrinsic evil of an abortion. Secondly, try to get to understand the other person’s point of view as if there were some balance in the arguments of murder and an unwanted inconvenience. Thirdly, be total in serving all levels of support of life as if 2 out of three is a good average. These approaches though sounding laudable are still in the end a deception of the reality and a perversion of the truth.
More still, I think that Catholic democrats have become tired of this constant thorn in their side of which they have no control with the bishops looming overhead with the possibility of no communion, resistance during elections, or even possible excommunication in the extreme. I think now that Catholic democrats and all Catholic liberals that will usually fall into that classification are heading toward a schism with the Catholic Church not for doctrinal reasons as throughout history, but for moral reasons. I have been to the Catholic democrats website and find it much more democratic than Catholic. I think it was no accident that Obama was invited and given a degree before those applauding thousands. I think what was missed was another commencement, a new Church which will be fashioned by the political rather than the theological. I think ND was the new Wittenberg Cathedral Door on which was nailed the beginning of a new movement contrary to the teaching authority of the Roman Church. I think all those in agreement will be coming out of the wood work now in defense of ND and what was begun there. I hope I am wrong. I pray that I am just paranoid. But I do see a lot more for the future of the elites resisting the urging of the Roman Church to reform their institutions and their hearts.
Nothing Barack Obama does or says is without consideration for the long term effect on his agenda of plans for this nation…and those who like to have their ears tickled…follow along. 27% of all abortions performed are performed on Catholics…they want to have their consciences soothed…God help us all that is all I can say my friend…God bless you!
Great article, Jeannie! This is a perfect example of “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” – John 12:43
Its amazing don’t you think?
This is a strong, awesome statement of truth set in a recurring historic model. The allusion of Barack Obama to Barabas, the choice between Christ and the world is direct and priceless.
The author wrote an inspired description of what happened at Notre Dame University, and as a word merchant myself I both salute and congratulate her.
As further delineated by one of the commentors, Obama is taking dead aim at his nemesis the Catholic Church. He is forcing the issue, and people are not standing by their theologic teachings.
Thank you for using your writing talent in a forthright manner to place this issue squarely before people. While we do not know your last name, this piece “by Jeannette” is being posted all over the internet. God bless you.
Its all for Him…His Word and His truth — God bless you too!
Excellent post. I plan to blog on this later and link back to you. I want to fully absorb all of this first, though — be thoughtful and prayerful about it. For now, I want to address Richard’s comment since I am a faithful Catholic and he misses the mark somewhat.
Richard wrote: “the possibility of no communion, resistance during elections, or even possible excommunication in the extreme.”
To clarify, “Excommunication” IS “No communion” and I am not at all clear on what is meant by “excommunication in the extreme”. The Catholic Church doesn’t “drop members from the rolls” or hunt people down to make their lives miserable or whatever else Richard might mean by “extreme” excommunication. “Excommunication” is the denial of communion and nothing more. Excommunicated persons are still quite welcome to attend mass. In fact, we WANT them to continue to attend mass, but participation on the Eucharist is denied, hence the name “excommunication”.
There is a great deal of ignorance in the non-Catholic community (and often even in the Catholic community itself) about the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Also, I object to the use of “Roman” in identifying the Catholic Church as a whole. “Roman” signifies the Latin rite of the Church. There are many rites in the Catholic Church. We share the same teachings but different cultures. (Other rites include Melchite, Byzantine, etc.) I am a Catholic who normally attends a Roman Catholic (Latin rite) church, but I am in full communion with the other rites in the Catholic Church.
For a Catholic take on the the Notre Dame issue, you can visit my blog. My most recent post on this is Notre Dame’s Decision and the Voice of the Pope.
Again, I appreciate your post very much, Jeannie, and made the same connection myself with the choice of Barabbas. In fact, I think I briefly mentioned that in one of my own posts.
The important thing to me, though, is that you have touched so well on the larger issue that it is wrong for us to do things based on “democracy” defined as “majority rule”. (That’s what lynch mobs do.) We have a Republic in this country, not a Democracy. We live under the rule of law in America, not majority vote where law is not considered.
I am schocked that Notre Dame would invite the most pro-abortion President in the history of our great nation. Notre Dame is no longer a religious institution. They are now a secular progressive university that has shamed the Catholic Church. Finally, there is no way Planned Parenthood would have invited President Bush to speak at there national convention. Notre dame rather be popular with the left-wing media community than stand by teachings of the Catholic Church. This is truly, sad day in America.