Friday, February 10, 2012

Grover Norquist is Over-stating the Anti-Catholic Bias at Harvard

Grover Norquist told the Daily Caller that President Barack Obama's HHS regs reflect the anti-Catholic bias to which Obama would have been exposed at the Harvard Law School.

Norquist was graduated from Harvard College and the Harvard Business School. “He went to Harvard, I went to Harvard, I know the level of anti-Catholic animosity you run into from people at Harvard,” said Norquist. “It usually doesn’t translate into government policy, and with Obama it does.”

I beg to differ. Norquist is five years older than the president and I, so he attended Harvard that much earlier. Five years is not a generation, however, so I find it hard to believe that Norquist's Harvard experience was that different from mine or from Obama's.

I cannot say I ever encountered any anti-Catholic sentiment at Harvard. To the contrary, the Catholic student community there was quite vibrant, so much so that in those early years after graduation, I donated to the Catholic Student Center rather than to the law school.

And since Norquist hones in on the law school, I must likewise point out that the Harvard Law School Catholic community was strong enough that we started having our own Sunday night masses at the law school (Pound Hall), so we wouldn't have to walk three blocks in the cold.  In fact, we had an ordained priest in the class ahead, who acted as our own unofficial law school priest. I also recall one student who attended the Sunday law school mass who decided to stay after graduation and attend Harvard Divinity School. He would have moved on if the bias was as Grover portrays.

It's too bad that Grover's experience was so different.  Based on my own not that many years after him, I tend to think he was exaggerating.

Obama's policy as manifested in the HHS regulations, coercing people to violate their conscience, is abhorrent. But it cannot be blamed on Harvard.

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