Catholic school invited pro-choice commencement speaker. Now he's backing out.
- Catholic school Creighton University invited a pro-choice speaker to campus.
- But former Nebraska Democrat Gov. Bob Kerrey has backed out after receiving backlash.
Former Nebraska Democrat Gov. Bob Kerrey backed out of delivering a commencement speech at Creighton University, a Catholic school, after receiving backlash for his recent comments supporting abortion. The move comes as a number of Christian colleges have come under scrutiny for not upholding their stated beliefs and values.
“Creighton is a Jesuit institution formally affiliated with the Catholic Church, one of the country’s most consistent and reliable advocates for pro-life causes,” Nebraska GOP Executive Director Ryan Hamilton said, according to the Omaha World-Herald. “Nebraska is a pro-life state and Republicans are a pro-life party. We strongly urge Creighton to take a stand for their pro-life values and find a more appropriate figure to honor at their upcoming commencement.”
The Nebraska Republicans requested Creighton rescind its invitation for Kerrey to speak at the school’s May 18 commencement ceremony.
Kerrey ultimately declined the speaking opportunity, saying “I don’t want this to be about me” and “it’s about the students,” according to the World-Herald. He said the ceremony ought to be “a moment of celebration” that should “not be interrupted with politics.”
Kerrey has not shied away from political controversy in the past.
The former governor and former senator challenged President Donald Trump to get X-rays to prove that he had bone spurs preventing him from serving in the Vietnam War, Task and Purpose reported. He claimed that Democrats were experiencing a “delusion” regarding the Mueller investigation and that “if there is a man or woman who was convicted and sentenced for not telling the truth about a collusion that never happened, I’d like them to be pardoned,” according to The Washington Times.
“Even as a Nebraska conservative who may disagree with Kerrey on some issues, I think it’s a bad move for the NE GOP to run him of [sic] the speech,” Tom Seline, a senior at Creighton University, told Campus Reform. “We need to support free speech for all even those we disagree with. By acting like this, we’re not much better than the left.”
“Bob Kerrey is a Medal of Honor recipient and a great Nebraskan,” Derek Oden, the chairman of Omaha Young Republicans, told Campus Reform. “While we may not always agree with his political views, we respect his service to the United States of America and the state of Nebraska."
Other religious schools have faced criticism in recent years after hosting pro-choice speakers at high-profile campus events. Georgetown University in 2012 faced backlash after announcing it had invited pro-choice, former Obama administration Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to speak at the school's awards ceremony during commencement weekend, the Washington Post reported.
More recently, another Christian university, Wheaton College, hosted a pro-life speaker, but not without the school's student government slamming the speaker's comments as making "many students, staff, and faculty of color feel unheard, underrepresented, and unsafe."
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