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How a Bunch of Ragtag Militant Protesters Turned the Gates of Notre Dame into the Gates of Hell

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***I apologize to those who wish this to be over and done with, but I am compelled to share my experiences with the protesters at the gates of Notre Dame yesterday. This is rather lengthy, but for anybody remotely interested in what it was like on Notre Dame’s campus on Sunday when Obama came to speak, this should illuminate the day’s anti-abortionist activities on campus and at the gates of Notre Dame.***

Every person who showed up to the gates of the University of Notre Dame to “welcome” Obama with clenched fists and some open arms all had the right to be there and they all had the right to practice their First Amendment rights. But, others have the right to describe what was happening at the gates of Notre Dame from this morning through the afternoon candidly—many of the protesters were in fact turning a place of faith and sanctity into a place of hate and insanity.

The gates of Notre Dame shifted from being gates you would enter and drive through with the Golden Dome in view into gates that made you feel like you were about to enter a hell of some kind.

Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP

I and two others, who shot footage on cameras for my film Life or Obama?, were with me on campus from 10 am to 5 pm. If it happened on campus and was outside of the Joyce Center, where commencement was held, chances are we filmed it.

The day began at the gates and it was not bad. Randall Terry was not there with his people yet. I could not find those from the Pro-Life Action League based in Chicago which was bringing buses of people to line the streets for a “Face the Truth” initiative (an initiative which basically involves people holding graphic photos to show you the “truth” of abortion).

From 10 to 11 am, we were all over this intersection at the gates that thirty to forty people had gathered around. It was not too crazy yet. I mean, it was as crazy as you think anti-abortion protesters are.

We interviewed a guy in an American Revolutionary costume who talked about the “unalienable right to life” the Declaration of Independence gave all Americans.

And then, all of a sudden, the dynamic shifted as a group of Revolutionary Communists (which included Sunsara Taylor) came up with a banner and a bullhorn shouting, “Abortion on demand and without apology.”

The anti-abortionists did a double take. I’m quite positive they couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Real live pro-abortionists were not expected; only the “pro-abortion” Obama was.

Of course, the anti-abortionists took the bait and started to offer rebuttals. The pro-abortion Revolutionary Communists stood strong and simply continued to chant.

The media left the anti-abortionist protesters who were so yesterday by now and every newspaper from the Indianapolis Star to the New York Times seemed to want to capture the pro-abortion group that had just showed up to the gates. (And, with two to three hours of protesting, this group got more media coverage on the local news than the protesters who had been at the intersection for days had gotten.)

At 11:15 am, I and my crew left to film a Sunday Mass organized on the South Quad of campus by a group, ND Response, which formed in reaction to Notre Dame’s invitation to have Obama speak. Here, it became apparent just how crazy the anti-abortionists at the gates were.

Anti-abortionists have a way of sucking the faith out of what they do. They seem to be people who would make you want to turn atheist (and that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all). Those involved in the Sunday Mass though, like the priest giving the sermon and prayer, articulated the situation nicely in a way that proved there was a reason for Catholics to disagree with Obama and it is possible to do so in a civil manner that involves “fair-minded words.”

I and the crew spent some time there before we split and I headed back with a cameraperson to check out what was going on at the gates now that an hour had passed. (Plus, Randall Terry’s website said arrests would be happening at 1 pm.)

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Kevin Gosztola is a writer and curator of Firedoglake's blog The Dissenter, a blog covering civil liberties in the age of technology. He is an editor for OpEdNews.com and a former intern and videographer for The Nation Magazine.And, he's the (more...)
 

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There may have been a lot of out of towners there ... by macdon1 on Monday, May 18, 2009 at 4:12:10 PM
Wonderful picturesque writing. I Am glad I was the... by William Whitten on Monday, May 18, 2009 at 5:33:42 PM
Oh, man!  That sounds like it was a regular c... by Sister Begonia on Monday, May 18, 2009 at 7:16:45 PM
That's Fred Phelps' organization. They were there.... by Kevin Gosztola on Monday, May 18, 2009 at 7:41:50 PM
These militants are extremely angry because t... by syed mahdi on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 4:34:17 AM
What I find disconcerting specifically regarding t... by WML on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 7:32:30 AM