Letter to President Obama About Notre Dame                                

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama:

     We differ in outlook, one aspect being abortion. If you've a mind to, I would urge you not to use Notre Dame as a setting to promote any views that permit abortion. It would be most inappropriate. The grounds and the buildings are dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and it would be offensive to associate her with anything but a complete prolife point of view.

     The image on the traditional doctoral robe, bears the phrase "Vita, Dulcedo, Spes," which is from an ancient prayer to her, called the Salve Regina. It means "our life, our sweetness, our hope." Those sailing with Columbus in 1492, recited the prayer the night before sighting the New World.

     While you'll wear those few Latin words on the robe, there are words of another prayer whose meaning I would like to see you wear in your heart. The better part of it is from the Gospel of Luke, and here's a version of it, that I recently came across in Swahili:

      Nakwamkia Maria, umejaa nema, Rabbi yu kwako; una baraka wewe kuliko wanawake na Yesu mzao wa tumbo lako ana baraka.

      Maria mtakatifu, mama wa Mungu, utuombee sisi wakosefu, sasa na saa ya kufa kwetu. Amina

     Though addressed to Mary, it's Christocentric at heart. I cannot help but be struck by the closeness of the spelling and meaning of "baraka" (blessing) to your name. In English the prayer says, in part, "and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." He came into the world the way we do: He was our embryonic Savior and the fetal Son of God. This speaks to the issue of abortion.

     I believe you've been mispersuaded on this issue, and I would kindly ask you to contemplate the meaning conveyed in these words about Jesus.

     Mr. President, part of what I find persuasive regarding this issue, is that the reproductive cells have 23 chromosomes, half the ordinary number found in body cells. When the reproductive cells unite at conception, the full complement of 46 chromosomes is restored with their genes, and at the first cellular division following conception, 46 chromosomes are transmitted. The genes are aligned in pairs, one from the father and one from the mother.

     But something else that's uniting occurs at conception. We know a human being is a union of body and soul. At conception, a soul is directly created by God and is united to the body. No matter the circumstances of how conception came about, nor how tiny or undeveloped the human may be, we need to stand in respect of what is happening. We need to stand in awe. Some have tried to say that conception is at implantation, but that simply isn't true. Conception begins in the beginning, echoing Genesis.

     That's why the destruction of embryonic stem cells for research is so wrong: it treads on human life. Man is going where he shouldn't be going. The embryonic cells are not to be aggressed upon; they are knit to a soul, with a destiny beyond.

     When you signed the executive order to let taxpayer funds go overseas to groups performing or promoting abortions, it's been reported that you said, "I have no desire to continue this stale and fruitless debate on abortion. But, Mr President, the Commandment against killing is not stale but applies continually afresh to mankind. Fruitless? If fruitless, then who's the cause of that? Then, too, abortion itself brings about a fruitlessness -- a fruitless womb -- against the laws of Nature and Nature's God.

     I've heard about the idea of reduction of abortions. Lest people feel comfortable about that, it shouldn't be about not killing as many, but rather about not killing any. Could anyone approve and be content with the idea of killing fewer Jews in the holocaust, when none should've been killed to begin with. Or enslaving not as many Blacks?

     I recall what George Mason said at the Constitutional Convention in 1787: "Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of Heaven on a country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities." In seventy some years this nation suffered about a million casualties in the Civil War.

     God will not bless America for abortion. We are vulnerable for the slaughter of innocents in this country, if it isn't already occurring through the weather and the economy, lesser chastisements than could or may yet occur. Those who espouse abortion and things akin to it, I'm afraid place this nation in peril.

     At night I will pray the prayer I recommended to you, for you and for others in the government, that you will protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us, all the unborn.

                               Sincerely, John Riedell
                                               205 Murphy Lane, Metamora, Ill. 61548
                                               May 8, 2009





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