Anti-abortion activist and frequent presidential candidate Alan Keyes was arrested for trespassing at Notre Dame Friday as part of a protest against President Obama speaking at the May 17 Commencement ceremony.
Shortly before noon, on the last day of final exams for Notre Dame students, Keyes and a few dozen others gathered at the entrance of Notre Dame to pray. The protesters were holding signs and most were pushing strollers containing baby dolls covered in fake blood. After approximately half an hour of prayer, Keyes delivered a speech, encouraging those present to "walk onto campus as missionaries for God's truth."
Keyes' protest is the most recent sign of opposition to Notre Dame's decision to invite Obama to speak at Commencement, due to Obama's pro-choice stances. Another group, the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, has been sending a plane to fly over Notre Dame for hours at a time with banners featuring pictures of fetuses
and sometimes unfortunate grammatical errors ("This is what your honoring," said one banner two days ago.) Several Catholic bishops have called for Notre Dame to rescind the invitation.
Keyes criticized Notre Dame students for not joining him in protest.
"If they were in fact well-educated, this is where they would be," he said Friday. That's not the best way to win over students who just spent a week studying for finals.
Some students have in fact been protesting the choice of Obama
as Commencement speaker, but they are choosing to do it in a dignified way. ND Response, a coalition of students and student groups at Notre Dame, has organized a series of events for Commencement weekend to prayerfully protest Obama speaking.
On Friday, a few dozen students gathered near the front gate of Notre Dame to witness and protest the protest. Wearing shirts that said "Obama? Fine by me," they stood next to the sidewalk as Keyes and others made their way onto campus shortly after noon.
Keyes, who was defeated by Barack Obama in 2004 in a race for an Illinois Senate seat
, planned his arrest well in advance, modeling his activism after anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, who was arrested at Notre Dame last week, also for trespassing.
In a letter posted on Terry's Web site, Keyes said he would trespass at Notre Dame to promote his message that abortion should be made illegal
"If this be trespass," he wrote, "then forgive us our trespasses and join in trespassing until the South Bend jail is filled to overflowing with witnesses to truth; filled beyond capacity..."
Notre Dame's police department arrested Keyes and several others, all of whom submitted peacefully to the arrests. [Update: Chicago Breaking News reports 22 arrests made at Notre Dame, including Keyes.]
Commencement is a little over a week away, and it's sure to receive national coverage. I had no idea when I started college I would end it with so much controversy.