Obama's Notre Dame D-Day Draws Near

Protests planned, but most students, Catholics support president's appearance

The brouhaha surrounding President Obama's commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame will finally come to a head this weekend when he actually steps up to the podium.

Students have planned to hold an overnight prayer vigil and peaceful protest on campus, with permission from the university, the AP reports.

Meanwhile, at least one radical anti-abortion group, including former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes, plan to do everything it can to get attention. Keyes was arrested for the second time Friday as he and about 40 people carrying signs with photos of aborted fetuses marched on to Notre Dame property without permission..

Activist Randall Terry had said he and members of his group were planning on being hauled away by the cops. 

Another anti-abortion group of about 35 people were standing on the edges of campus Friday to avoid arrest -- when Keyes' group arrived and marched up to the university gate.  Another anti-abortion group plans to protest on public sidewalks on the edges of campus to avoid arrest.

They're milking all the publicity they can out of Obama's visit -- the have protested it in Chicago and at other stops around the country, and were most recently arrested on the ND campus on May 1. 

The students who are actually graduating are divided on the issue. Some graduates plan to skip the commencement, while others have been seen around campus quietly protesting the protesters -- wearing T-shirts that read, "Please don't ruin MY graduation."

But a look at letters sent to Notre Dame's student paper showed that the vast majority of students supported Obama's visit. Another survey showed the majority of Catholics nationwide also support the president speaking at the university.

A former ND president, the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, publicly supported Obama's appearance. He said Eisenhower, Carter and Reagan gave commencement speeches at Notre Dame, and Catholics didn't agree with them on 100 percent of the issues, either.

Some graduates said they will show up to the commencement, but stage a silent protest by wearing a yellow cross will yellow baby's feet on their cap.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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