By now most of you have heard the not-so-startling news that in 2007, when anti-war (Catholic Worker) and pro-gay (Soulforce) demonstrators dared to set their big toes on the campus of Notre Dame, they suffered no legal repercussions whatsoever. They were arrested, processed, released - and that was that! No trial, no specter of fines or jail sentences hanging over their heads.
Contrast that to the treatment meted out to those who protested on-campus the honors bestowed upon the Messiah Most Miserable in May 2009. This group is known as the ND 88 (although one of them has since passed away). They were no more violent than were Soulforce or the Catholic Worker people, yet they are being treated much more harshly. Why?
Father Jenkins made an interesting statement regarding campus policy towards on-campus demonstrations. He stated, "The University cannot have one set of rules for causes we oppose, and another more lenient set of rules for causes we support. We have one consistent set of rules for demonstrations on campus – no matter the cause." Alrighty, then! Here's my humble suggestion, Father Jenkins! Treat the ND 88 no differently than you treated the protesters from 2007! After all, you don't distinguish between causes - right? Moreover, let's have no more baloney about you not having the ability to make the charges against the ND 88 be dismissed. You certainly had that ability back in 2007 - it didn't just go away!
Well, it turns out that my suggestion is not the first. William Dempsey of the Sycamore Trust has pursued discussions with the University about these matters. When the Trust made apparent the discrepancy of treatment meted out to the demonstrators, the university stated that "this discussion is no longer serving any purpose from our perspective." In other words, they acknowledge that their hypocrisy is now well-documented.
The Trust then says that "the mystery of the University’s attitude toward the pro-life demonstrators deepens." However, it really is no mystery; it's something much uglier. The "attitude" goes way back to the days of Father Hesbergh and the Land O' Lakes Statement. It goes back to the days when Hesbergh let Msgr Jack Egan take refuge on the campus, after the latter's ouster from the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Chicago! Oh! Are light bulbs starting to shine? Msgr Jack Egan and another were the two men who brought into existence the Campaign for Human Development; later, the word "Catholic" was attached to the front of that name. Who was that other individual? Saul Alinsky! Alinsky himself, the grand-daddy of "community organizing", had a pivotal influence upon the Messiah Most Miserable. Therefore, when Obama came to Notre Dame, it was not just the mere appearance of the President of the United States, but the star pupil of Saul Alinsky. Now the disparity of treatment between the ND 88 and the 2007 protesters (and the latter were progressives, by the way) now seems rather logical. For that reason, the disparity is all the more unscrupulous and disingenuous, but logical in its own perverse way.