Vice-President Mike Pence accepted the invitation to deliver a commencement speech at Notre Dame on Sunday; the request came after the school's frank refusal to give the same honor to the president. Pence's words were measured and concise. He spoke out on issues allegedly significant to the school, such as health-care and religious freedom. Sadly, he was not treated as one would expect someone in his position, a fellow Catholic and Indianan, to be, however. Barely into his speech, at least 100 students and their families walked out to join an "alternative ceremony." The action was premeditated and planned via a social media group. Pence resumed his speech, unflinching, despite the show of blatant disrespect.
Pence praised the school's recent stance for religious liberty in the face of persecution presented by Obamacare, paralleling the stand with the religious liberty broadened by President Trump:
“Just as Notre Dame has stood strong to protect its religious liberty, I’m proud that this president just took steps to ensure that this university and the Little Sisters of the Poor could not be forced to violate their consciences to fully participate in American civic life,”
Moreover, he addressed President Trump's earlier meeting in Saudi Arabia with 50 Arabian and Muslim leaders, commending how Trump "...spoke out against religious persecution of all people of all faiths and on the world stage he condemned, in his words, the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews and the slaughter of Christians."
John Jenkins, president of the college, set a backdrop of peace, directing to the importance of unity amidst a "fractured nation":
"...a fractured nation, with deep divisions and raw political feelings, but we must also listen to those who disagree, care for the bonds that join us together and find ways to build a society where all can flourish -- even the people who don't look like us, think like us, or vote with us."
Cissandra Dimaro and her parents were among those who withdrew during the ceremony. In their minds, a withdrawal was "... a show of solidarity for those of us impacted by the policies of the Trump administration."
Another student was more specific in his reasoning. Accordingly, Trump's wrongs lie in his use of Muslims as "scapegoats," and in his plan to build a wall against Mexican immigration.
Whether one entirely agrees with the Trump Administration or not, such an intentional show of disrespect is in no way becoming of a Christian attitude; on the contrary, it is a revelation of rebellion against authority.