Fifty-six percent (56%) of Catholics say it’s at least somewhat important for graduation speakers to share the university’s views at schools with religious affiliations. Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Evangelical Christians hold that view as do 63% of other Protestants. Among non-Christians, 42% agree.
It is interesting to note that the discomfort on the issue is focused on the university decision rather than on the president. Just 30% of voters believe the president should cancel his appearance at Notre Dame. Most (52%) say he should not. Among Catholics, just 34% think Obama should cancel.
It is also worth noting that the response is tied more closely to the violation of the bishops’ guidelines than to the policy issue concerning abortion. Those who describe themselves as pro-choice on abortion are evenly divided as to whether or not the university should award an honorary degree to the president. Pro-life adults strongly believe the university should have followed the bishops’ guidelines.
The university has suggested that Obama is being honored for accomplishments unrelated to the issue of abortion.
More than 50 Catholic bishops across the country have questioned Notre Dame’s decision in recent weeks. Additionally, Mary Ann Glendon, a former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, rejected a prestigious Notre Dame award last week rather than participate in the program where Obama was given the honorary degree. In a public letter, Glendon expressed concern that she was being included in the ceremony at least partly to offer balance to Obama’s position on the abortion issue.
Read the full report here.