Controversy at Notre Dame, Protestors Gather

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Protestors are already gathering ahead of President Obama's Sunday commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame.

They say his position on issues like abortion and embryonic stem cell research violate their Catholic faith.  

But some parents are tired of the protests.

President Obama delivered the commencent address at Arizona State University Wednesday and joked about controversy.     

Click the player to see the report from CBN News Reporter Efrem Graham. Also, Wendy Wright with Concerned Women for America explained why Obama's invitation to Notre Dame is putting out the wrong message.

"I'd like to clear the air about that little controversy everyone was talking about a few weeks back," he said.

But the controversy is real at the University of Notre Dame where the president is scheduled to address the graduating class Sunday.

Mary Anne Stohler's daughter, Maria, is among the graduates.

"She's worked so hard," Stohler said. "All of the graduates have a lot to be proud of.

But it's hard to celebrate with the growing protest to the president's visit. 

"It's just turned into a circus," Stohler added. "Everyone is losing sight of the actual graduates and what they've done and what they've accomplished. I think that's a shame."

Protestors say it's Notre Dame administrators who've lost sight of the Catholic school's principles.

Nikolas Nikas is an attorney with the Bioethics Defense Fund, a graduate of Notre Dame, and Arizona State.

"Three issues are non-negotiable," he said. "The protection of human life. The other is that marriage is between one man and one woman, and the third is that parents have the right to guide the religious upbringing of their children."

And while he didn't object to the ASU address Nikas said Notre Dame is different. 

"To invite him to a commencement is to give him an honor and to award him an honorary doctorate of law degree is to hold him up and say he is worthy of imitation, and on the issue of life, he certainly is not," Nikas added.

Still some Catholic parents say they disagree with the president's politics but they want a graduation free of protests to celebrate their children's years of hard work.

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Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

News Anchor & Reporter

Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.